Tuesday 2 November 2010

Simply Hibi hibiscus infusion drink

I was really pleased when I was given the chance to try out some Simply Hibi because, as well as possibly discovering a tasty new drink, I was hopeful that it might even improve my health by helping to lower my blood pressure. Apparently there are approximately 16 million people in the UK suffering from high blood pressure and, unfortunately, I'm one of them. Anything that can help to reduce it naturally has to be a good thing. 

As soon as I poured myself a glass of Simply Hibi, I could tell it would be good for me because of the colour. It's a dark reddish-purple colour so you just know that it must be packed full of health-boosting antioxidants. But the hibiscus flower has even more to offer than some of the other "superfoods" of a similar colour. The Simply Hibi manufacturers explain, "The hibiscus plant has a long international history and a powerful health story to tell. Adopted as part of a healthy diet, it can have preventive benefits against a wide range of conditions. Although its merits are relatively little known in the UK , it has been consumed for centuries in the Caribbean, the Far East and Africa and has proven to be an effective natural remedy for a wide range of ailments. Along with helping blood pressure, hibiscus anthocyanins are believed to protect against certain cancers and significantly reduce blood cholesterol levels. Hibiscus is also associated with preventing urinary tract infections commonly associated with the bladder and kidneys."

The health claims are impressive but it was time to move on to the all important taste test. I thought that an infusion of Hibiscus flowers might taste unpleasantly floral or perfumed but it actually tastes like a berry-based drink. It has a similar taste to red grape juice but with less harshness and acidity. It is actually a very refreshing, pleasant, fruity drink that perfectly balances sharpness and sweetness. Even without any of the potential health benefits, I'd drink it for the flavour. A quick bit of research revealed that in fact, SimplyHibi is composed of 85% hibiscus-infused water and 15% grape juice concentrate "to ensure a rich berry flavour" - ahh my taste buds weren't failing me then ! It contains no artificial colourings or preservatives and provides 17 times more anthocyanins than cranberry juice, which I already thought of as a "superfood".

I also love the fairtrade ethos behind Simply Hibi too. The label proudly states that it supports African farmers so I went off to investigate. Well, apparently, Simply Hibi is produced using the flowers of Sabdariffa hibiscus, a tropical variety of hibiscus grown by 2,000 small-scale farmers in Uganda, who derive their livelihoods from the flower’s production. The project was the brainchild of father-and-son team Charles and Will Irving, turf farmers from Cumbria who drew on their vast travel experience to set up a series of hibiscus growing trials in Uganda in 2003. Last year, the 2,000th smallholder grower was recruited to grow the tropical flower.

So, it's a pleasant-tasting drink that is good for me, good for African farmers and may hekp to lower blood pressure. What's not to like ?!

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £1.39 for 1 litre

for more information : www.simplyhibi.co.uk

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