10 Impressive Health Benefits Of Tamarind
Tamarind is a tropical fruit native to Africa that is easily found in many regions like India and Pakistan. They are classified as types of fruit and legumes, which are unique in every possible way.
These sour and tangy fruit develops in pods in a medium-sized bushy tree and are characterized by long, brown shells. Inside its shell is sticky, juicy, and fleshy pulp that can provide several health benefits. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of consuming tamarind in your everyday diet along with its nutritional profile and side effects.
1. Contains High Antioxidants
High in polyphenols or plant compounds, tamarind contains powerful antioxidant properties. Antioxidants fight against free radicals which damages the cells and cause several chronic disease that cause poor health.
Polyphenols such as apigenin, catechin, procyanidin B2, and epicatechin help decrease oxidative stress that is caused by radicals. It also lowers the risk of certain health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Thus, if you incorporate tamarind into your diet along with other antioxidant foods, they have a greater impact on overall well-being.
2. Improves Heart Health
Heart disease has been the leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for about one in six deaths in the U.S. and causing one death every minute with coronary heart disease. Consuming this sour fruit with other cholesterol-lowering foods can improve the heart by reducing several heart-related risks.
Several studies have shown that tamarind can help lower LDL(bad) cholesterol. High-fiber fruit like tamarind can help remove excess cholesterol from the arteries and veins. Moreover, the pulp of tamarind may exert its hypocholesterolemic effect by improving the outflow of cholesterol.
3. Relieves Digestion Problems
Since ancient times, tamarind fruit has been considered a natural laxative due to its high fiber content. Including this as fruit or an additive food can increase the efficiency of your digestive system and relieve the problem with digestion.
The presence of insoluble fiber helps to bulk up your stool and helps to move through the smooth muscle of the intestinal tract more easily. Tamarind can also stimulate the activity of bile, which aids in the absorption of facts and other vitamins in the small intestines. So, if you are suffering from chronic constipation, try incorporating tamarind into your regular diet.
4. Aid In Weight Loss
Various research has found effective results demonstrating that tamarind fruits may have an anti-obesity effect that may promote healthy weight loss. One of the unique compounds found in tamarind called trypsin inhibitors may reduce hunger. This particular type of protein has been known to suppress the appetite by increasing the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin.
Several animal studies support that trypsin can help reduce food intake. However, there need to more research and human studies need to be conducted to examine the effect of tamarind in these respective areas. If you are planning to incorporate tamarind into your diet, try making popular Indian dishes as it goes perfectly with all other spices.
5. Manages Diabetes
A diet rich in carbohydrates can increase the chances of insulin levels and uncontrolled glucose, which can be a significant problem for those suffering from diabetes. Tamarind can slow down the enzyme alpha-amylase, which controls carbohydrates from being absorbed by the body.
Not only the pulp of tamarind, but the seed extracts stabilize blood sugar levels and mitigate the damage of the pancreatic tissue in those suffering from diabetes. Additionally, the high content of magnesium in tamarind may further manage or alleviate diabetes including type-2 diabetes.
6. Reduce Inflammation
Due to tamarind's high antioxidant and polyphenol content, they may be able to reduce chronic inflammation. Inflammation may be normal for the human body, but chronic inflammation is the root of most diseases such as cancer, asthma, and Alzheimer's disease.
As we know, tamarind contains medicinal properties and has been used widely to treat several health conditions related to inflammation. Along with the fruit, the leaves and bark have also been used to promote wound healing, eye inflammation, and bronchitis. So, enjoy this delicious yet tangy fruit along with other food to alleviate the problem of inflammation.
7. Anti-fungal, Antiviral And Antibacterial Effects
Tamarind contains several essential compounds with antimicrobial properties that have been linked to fight off both bacteria and viruses. In the past, tamarind has been used to treat respiratory problems, infections, malaria, and dysentery.
Lupeol, found in tamarind leaves is also credited with tamarind's antibacterial effects and may help kill viruses, fungi bacteria, and parasites. One study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences has found that these tropical fruit extracts exhibited antibacterial activity against multiple types of bacteria, including salmonella and E.coli.
8. Loaded With Magnesium
Tamarinds are loaded with magnesium, which means you can incorporate tamarind to meet the daily requirement of magnesium. If you are unaware of the magnesium role, this mineral plays a crucial role in bone formation, controlling blood sugar, muscle contractions, and regulating heart rhythm.
Moreover, studies have shown that tamarind is good for those with sleeping disorders or insomniac problems. Magnesium will combat sleeping difficulties along with regulating the metabolism. Thus, this can be the best option if you are struggling with your overall health.
9. Good For Nerve Function
Loaded with thiamine and other B-complex vitamins in tamarind. These sweet and sour fruits work as a key for improving nerve function and maintaining strong refluxes. Studies conducted by Monash University showed that xyloglucan found in tamarind may help the growth of spinal cells and damaged brain.
Scientists have also revealed that xyloglucan can work as a supporting scaffold through which healthy cells move and reattach to the nervous system. In addition, xyloglucan also improves muscle development, so include some amount of tamarind in your diet to stay healthy and focused.
10. Good For Eye Health
Tamarind is vitamin A-rich food that helps your eye's health in several ways. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, that protects the cornea and reduces the risk of developing macular degeneration. Similarly, the nutrients found in this fruit also treat conjunctivitis and lessen the discomfort.
In fact, several research have found a mucin-like substance in tamarind that helps mitigate the dryness of eyes. Mucin is the substance that is naturally present in our eye that protects and hydrates the cornea. Therefore, tamarind can be extremely helpful for eye health if consumed every day in a moderate amount.
Nutritional Facts Of Tamarind
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), raw tamarind can provide potent energy along with essential minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, and zinc. They are also rich in Vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin A and K.
Here are the nutritional facts of raw tamarinds as per serving size of 120 grams:
- Calories: 287
- Protein: 3.4 grams
- Carbohydrates: 75 grams
- Fat: 0.7 grams
- Dietary fiber: 6.1 grams
- Vitamin K: 4% of the Recommended daily intake (RDI)
- Vitamin B6: 4% of the RDI
- Vitamin C: 7% of the RDI
- Folate: 4% of the RDI
- Thiamine: 34% of the RDI
- Niacin: 12% of the RDI
- Riboflavin: 11% of the RDI
- Pantothenic acid: 2% of the RDI
The nutritional value of essential minerals are
- Calcium: 9% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 28% of the RDI
- Phosphorous: 14% of the RDI
- Iron: 19% of the RDI
- Potassium: 22% of the RDI
How To Eat Tamarind?
Tamarind is most frequently used in Asian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cooking styles. They are extremely easy to incorporate into your daily food intake or as a drink. You can make a great base by adding tamarind to many staple dishes like stews, marinades, and chutney.
Here are a few ways to incorporate tamarind into your everyday diet:
- Tamarind can go perfectly with a variety of Indian recipes like dal tadka which is a type of lentil soup.
- You can use tamarind sauce for flavoring varieties of dishes such as spaghetti and tofu which gives a sweet, sour salty, and savory taste.
- They can also be eaten simply raw as sour or sweet fruit, but remember tamarinds have a potent flavor which is not usual.
- Add tamarinds for sweetening beverages during hot summer days by soaking their pulps into hot water then strained and sweetened with sugar for a tangy beverage.
- Despite their strong flavor, tamarind can also be used to make a variety of desserts and candy.
- Use tamarind while making traditional Thai dishes or curries to change your regular taste buds.
Potential Risk Of Tamarind
Tamarind is a great fruit to consume as it contains varieties of essential nutrients but the only thing to be mindful of is to not consume too much as it may negatively hamper the body. Here are a few of the things that need to be considered before incorporating tamarind into your diet:
- Tamarind may interfere with blood clotting as it is a blood thinner, so this fruit is not recommended for individuals who are on medication or other blood thinners.
- Consuming tamarind may also cause an allergic reaction in certain individuals.
- For diabetic patients, if you consume tamarind regularly, consider monitoring your sugar level as it may cause hypoglycemia.
- People suffering from gallstones should also limit tamarind as it may worsen gallstones.
- This fruit can also spike the level of gastric juices and cause GERD or acid reflux as they are acidic.
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