The sorrel drink is a popular beverage used during the festive Christmas season. But few may know that the sorrel, which is used around the Caribbean is known as Hibiscus sabdariffa and provides vitamin C, thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2) as well as cancer fighting agents.
It also contains flavonoids which are healthy chemical substances found in plants such as sorrel and is also responsible for its deep red colour.
Researcher, Dr. Paul Gyles, professor at Northern Caribbean University, found that sorrel has substances that can rid the body of certain types of cancer cells, but these substances are found in the seeds and calyx (flower) of the sorrel.
It was also found that it helps to build the immune system and reduce the chances of getting certain illness such as the flu, especially at this time of the year and with the absorption of iron found in dried peas, dried beans and dark green leafy vegetables (non-heme iron).
Other benefits of the sorrel are that it helps with the healing of cuts and bruises and the Vitamin B1 in it helps the body to get more energy for the brain and nerve cells from the starchy foods that are eaten.
The Vitamin B2 in the herb also helps the body to get energy from the fat that is stored on the body during exercise and prevents damage to cells.
The sorrel has a very good source of fibre as it helps to lower blood-sugar levels and lower the ‘bad cholesterol’ or low density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol and increase the ‘good cholesterol’ or high-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol.
The fibre content of sorrel is dependent on how the sorrel is prepared. When the whole sorrel flower (seeds and calyx) is used in making drink or other products, more fibre will be consumed and will be of greater health benefit.