Sobia, a traditional Egyptian drink, is a refreshing blend of rice, coconut and milk and is absolutely delicious – think melted ice cream, rather than a milkshake, but way better and you’re halfway to experiencing the icy frothiness of sobia.
A favourite during sacred Ramadan celebrations, it is one of the core components on the Ramadan table and is often used to break the fast. During this time it can be found everywhere – sold in plastic bottles by street vendors. A real thirst quencher, sobia instantly boosts energy levels, which makes it so ideal for the iftar meal during Ramadan, as well as for tourists after a long day of sight-seeing. Although most prevalent during Ramdan, sobia is available throughout the year and is adored by children and adults alike.
The history behind sobia is somewhat hazy. Common folk law alludes that sobia first came into existence during the Mamluk period in a time when money and basic commodities were scarce, but there was instead widespread availability of rice, sugar and margarine from India. Allegedly this drink was created during this time and became popular with both the rich and poor. Another story claims that it was developed in the ancient neighbourhood of El Sayeda Zeinab in Cairo, over 100 years ago. Evidence supporting either claim is simply hearsay.
Whilst its origins may be unclear, what is known about this tasty treat is that it is 100% natural, and is packed with vital minerals and nutrients including calcium, copper, iron, manganese potassium, selenium and zinc. Whatsmore the main components of this drink, coconut powder and white rice powder, provide it with a range of great health benefits:
Boosts the Immune System
The high mineral content, particularly zinc, can help to give the body’s immune system a natural boost.
Promotes Digestive Health
Sobia contains high amounts of insoluble fibre which adds bulk to stools to prevent constipation, and ensures the smooth movement of food through the gut, thus helping to keep the digestive tract in optimum condition. It also contains small amounts of soluble and fermentable fibres which feed the gut’s beneficial bacteria, allowing this good bacteria to produce short fatty chain acids and subsequently nourish the cells of the gut.
Promotes Cardiovascular Health and Prevents Anaemia.
Sobia powder is rich in iron which is essential for the production of haemoglobin which helps to deliver oxygen throughout the body and regulate blood pressure levels. Low levels of haemoglobin, can cause anaemia, so regular intake can prevent the development of anaemia. The powder is also a rich source of potassium which further helps to regulate blood pressure. Research also suggests that coconut powder can reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, helping to strengthen the arteries and promote cardiovascular health.
Strengthens Connective Tissues
Sobia powder contains a wide range of essential minerals including calcium needed for the upkeep of connective tissues – bones, ligaments, skin and tendons. Therefore regular intake can help to strengthen these connective tissues, maintain bone and skeletal health, and safeguard against mineral deficiency, and the risk of certain diseases such as osteoporosis.
Promotes Healthy Brain Function
Natural chemicals contained in coconut powder which is an essential component of sobia promote the production of neurotransmitters and myelin to improve and protect healthy brain function. Myelin is an insulating layer that covers neurons and allows the quick and efficient transmission of electrical signals along the nerve cells. Damage to the protective myelin layer can lead to severe neurological problems.
Has Beneficial Antibacterial Properties
Contains natural antibacterial properties to help fight infection, and destroy bacteria and yeast.
Preparation of Sobia
Dosage: Blend 1-2 teaspoons of Sobia to a ½ cup of milk and ½ cup of ice cold water or crushed ice. Add sugar or honey to sweeten as required. Additionally add some vanilla for a further taste sensation. Serve chilled.
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