Tamarind has been used by several ancient civilizations. For culinary purposes and for medical reasons, tamarind has built quite a reputation over the years.
Grown in abundance in tropical places, the tree is now cultivated around the world. The fruit appears in a pod and when opened, it contains a sticky pulp and seeds. If you’re cooking with it, you would realize a little goes a long way. Tamarind has a strong sweet and tangy taste.
Nutritional Value Of Raw Tamarind
|Nutrient||Value per 100 gm||1 cup, pulp 120 gm||1 fruit (3″ x 1″) 2 gm|
|Water||31.4 gm||37.68 gm||0.63 gm|
|Energy||239 kcal||287 kcal||5 kcal|
|Protein||2.8 gm||3.36 gm||0.06 gm|
|Total lipid (fat)||0.6 gm||0.72 gm||0.01 gm|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||62.5 gm||75 gm||1.25 gm|
|Fiber, total dietary||5.1 gm||6.1 gm||0.1 gm|
|Sugars, total||38.8 gm||46.56 gm||0.78 gm|
Health Benefits Of Tamarind
Tamarind can be used to make chutneys, stews, and sauces. You could even experiment a few desserts with it. Here are a few reasons why you need the sticky goodness of tamarind.
1. Improves Digestion
Abdominal pain? Feeling constipated? Tamarind is going to solve all your abdominal issues. In traditional medicine, tamarind has been used as a laxative because it contains tartaric acid, malic acid, and potassium.
Tamarind relaxes abdominal muscles, a reason why it is used in diarrhea treatment.3
Tamarind Juice For Constipation
- 1 and a half cups tamarind pulp
- Lemon juice
- Hot water
- Mix all the ingredients and let it rest overnight. Strain the pulp and refrigerate the juice.
- Drink a glass of tamarind juice right before going to bed and have one more in the morning.
2. Aids Diabetes
Tamarind seeds might hold the answer to people suffering from diabetes. An extract from the seed was found to be anti-inflammatory in nature. That’s not all. It even stabilizes blood sugar levels and reverses damage of the pancreatic tissue associated with diabetes.4Also, an enzyme known as alpha-amylase present in tamarind was proven to reduce blood glucose level.5
3. Reduces Weight
Looking to shed a few kilos? Pick up a tamarind! It’s rich in fiber and has no fat content. In fact, one study proved that eating tamarind daily helped in weight reduction. This is because it is loaded with flavonoids and polyphenols.6Also, tamarind contains hydroxycitric acid, which reduces your appetite by inhibiting amylase, an enzyme responsible for converting carbohydrate into fat.7
Drink tamarind juice or simply add it to your dishes.
4. Prevents And Treats Peptic Ulcers
Peptic ulcers are painful sores that appear in the stomach and small intestine. A study revealed that tamarind seed extract has a protective effect on ulcers, thanks to its polyphenolic compounds. These particular compounds were also found to prevent ulcers.8
5. Strengthens The Heart
It turns out tamarind is a very heart friendly fruit. One study revealed that flavonoids present in tamarind lowered LDL “bad” cholesterol and raised HDL “good” cholesterol levels. It also prevents the buildup of triglycerides (a type of fat) in the blood. Its high potassium content makes it useful against blood pressure.9
6. Fights Cancer
Tamarind is rich in antioxidants. One study found out an extract from the tamarind seed reduced the severity of acute kidney failure and kidney cancer because of its antioxidant property.10
7. Heals Wounds
Several countries around the world use the leaves and bark of the tamarind tree for wound healing – thanks to its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. One study found out in just 10 days the wounds were completely healed using a tamarind seed extract.1112
If you have superficial burns, apply tamarind paste on them.
8. Clears Up The Skin
Tamarind is used as a natural additive compound in sun creams
Tamarind is great for the skin. It is proven to protect the skin from ultraviolet damage from the sun. Traditional uses of tamarind include using it on the face and skin for reducing acne or other scars. It contains alpha hydroxy acid that works as a great exfoliating agent to get rid of dead skin cells and clear clogged pores.13
Tamarind Face Pack For Oily Skin
- 20 gm tamarind pulp
- Half teaspoon turmeric powder
- Hot water
- Add hot water to the tamarind and let it soak for a few minutes
- Strain the pulp
- Add turmeric powder and mix well
- Apply the mixture on your face and let it rest for 10-15 minutes
- Wash off with lukewarm water
- Do this once a week
9. Treats Cold, Cough, And Asthma
A nasty cough troubling you? You might want to try tamarind. It was found effective to deal with allergic asthma and cough because of its antihistaminic properties. Also, it’s a rich source of vitamin C, which can boost the immune system to prevent colds.14
Drink a cup of tea with tamarind paste to soothe your senses. Add a little pepper as well for faster results.
10. Protects The Liver
It turns out tamarind cares for your liver too. One study found out that a liver damaged from drinking excessive alcohol had become better just by using tamarind leaves.15A diet rich in calories also leads to a fatty liver. Another study revealed that the daily consumption of a tamarind extract reverses the condition.16
Is Tamarind Safe For Pregnant Women?
Yes, it is. Tamarind is full of nutrients and fiber that are important for both mother and baby. There are no side effects of eating it. In fact, pregnant women can include tamarind in their diet when dealing with constipation or morning sickness. But, do check with your doctor before trying out anything.
Side Effects Of Tamarind
- People who take aspirin or any other blood thinners are recommended to avoid eating tamarind since it has blood thinning properties.
- A study found out antidepressants and tamarind increase serotonin levels and it could lead to serotonin toxicity.17
- Tamarind candy has a dangerous level of lead in it. Pregnant women and children are advised not to eat this type of tamarind. Lead poisoning can cause severe health issues.
For the healthiest way, add tamarind to your dishes. You could choose its paste or syrup form. If you’re up for it, eating it directly from the pod is a good option.
|↑1, ↑11, ↑14||Bhadoriya, Santosh Singh, Aditya Ganeshpurkar, Jitendra Narwaria, Gopal Rai, and Alok Pal Jain. “Tamarindus indica: extent of explored potential.” Pharmacognosy reviews 5, no. 9 (2011): 73|
|↑2, ↑12||Havinga, Reinout M., Anna Hartl, Johanna Putscher, Sarah Prehsler, Christine Buchmann, and Christian R. Vogl. “Tamarindus indica L.(Fabaceae): patterns of use in traditional African medicine.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 127, no. 3 (2010): 573-588|
|↑3||Ali, Niaz, and Syed Wadood Ali Shah. “Spasmolytic Activity of Fruits of Tamarindus indica L.” Journal of young Pharmacists 2, no. 3 (2010): 261-264|
|↑4||Sole, Sushant Shivdas, and B. P. Srinivasan. “Aqueous extract of tamarind seeds selectively increases glucose transporter-2, glucose transporter-4, and islets’ intracellular calcium levels and stimulates β-cell proliferation resulting in improved glucose homeostasis in rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes mellitus.” Nutrition research 32, no. 8 (2012): 626-636|
|↑5||Melzig, Matthias F., and Ines Funke. “Inhibitors of alpha-amylase from plants–a possibility to treat diabetes mellitus type II by phytotherapy?.” Wiener medizinische Wochenschrift (1946) 157, no. 13-14 (2006): 320-324|
|↑6||Jindal, Vaneeta, Dinesh Dhingra, Sunil Sharma, Milind Parle, and Rajinder Kumar Harna. “Hypolipidemic and weight reducing activity of the ethanolic extract of Tamarindus indica fruit pulp in cafeteria diet-and sulpiride-induced obese rats.” Journal of pharmacology and pharmacotherapeutics 2, no. 2 (2011): 80|
|↑7||Ohia, Sunny E., Catherine A. Opere, Angela M. LeDay, Manashi Bagchi, Debasis Bagchi, and Sidney J. Stohs. “Safety and mechanism of appetite suppression by a novel hydroxycitric acid extract (HCA-SX).” Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry 238, no. 1-2 (2002): 89-103|
|↑8||Kalra, Pankaj, Sunil Sharma, and Suresh Kumar Suman. “Antiulcer effect of the methanolic extract of Tamarindus indica seeds in different experimental models.” Journal of pharmacy and bioallied sciences 3, no. 2 (2011): 236|
|↑9||Lim, Chor Yin, Sarni Mat Junit, Mahmood Ameen Abdulla, and Azlina Abdul Aziz. “In vivo biochemical and gene expression analyses of the antioxidant activities and hypocholesterolaemic properties of Tamarindus indica fruit pulp extract.” PloS one 8, no. 7 (2013): e70058|
|↑10||Vargas-Olvera, Chabetty Y., Dolores Javier Sánchez-González, José D. Solano, Francisco A. Aguilar-Alonso, Fernando Montalvo-Muñoz, Claudia María Martínez-Martínez, Omar N. Medina-Campos, and María Elena Ibarra-Rubio. “Characterization of N-diethylnitrosamine-initiated and ferric nitrilotriacetate-promoted renal cell carcinoma experimental model and effect of a tamarind seed extract against acute nephrotoxicity and carcinogenesis.” Molecular and cellular biochemistry 369, no. 1-2 (2012): 105-117|
|↑13||Strickland, Faith M., Johanna M. Kuchel, and Gary M. Halliday. “Natural products as aids for protecting the skin’s immune system against UV damage.” Cutis 74, no. 5 Suppl (2004): 24-28|
|↑15||Ghoneim, Asser I., and Omayma A. Eldahshan. “Anti‐apoptotic effects of tamarind leaves against ethanol‐induced rat liver injury.” Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 64, no. 3 (2012): 430-438|
|↑16||Azman, Khairunnuur Fairuz, Zulkhairi Amom, Azrina Azlan, Norhaizan Mohd Esa, Rasadah Mat Ali, Zamree Md Shah, and Khairul Kamilah Abdul Kadir. “Antiobesity effect of Tamarindus indica L. pulp aqueous extract in high-fat diet-induced obese rats.” Journal of natural medicines 66, no. 2 (2012): 333-342|
|↑17||Lopez, Annette M., Joshua Kornegay, and Robert G. Hendrickson. “Serotonin toxicity associated with Garcinia cambogia over-the-counter supplement.” Journal of Medical Toxicology 10, no. 4 (2014): 399|