Healthy Tamarind benefits stem from its food and medicinal properties, popularly used for generations which will be looked at here.
Origin Of Tamarind Tree
Tamarind or Tamarindus Indica, from the Leguminosae family, is a perennial tree, also cultivated as an ornamental and shade tree, known for its timber and fruits.
Native to Tropical Africa, it has wild roots in Sudan and is indigenous to India, from where it reached the Persians and Arabs. In the 4th century BC, Egyptians and Greeks were using the fruit, and between the 16th-18th century, it spread to America and Australia.
It has many varieties from reddish to brown flesh and can grow in dry and cold climates, depending on the area and soil types, from alluvial, rocky land to limestone. It grows best in tropical and sub-tropical conditions.
The young and sour fruit changes to a juicy paste-like Tamarind pulp when it ripens, divided into three forms –
1) Raw pods – least processed form, remains intact and can be opened to remove the pulp.
2) Pressed Block – Made by removing the shell and seeds, later compressing the pulp into a block.
3) Concentrate – When the tamarind pulp boils down, it forms into a concentrate where preservatives can be added.
Used as a popular flavoring ingredient to medicinal values ranging from gallbladder problems to liver health, there are many tamarind benefits which we will be looking at in detail.
1) Healthy Properties of Tamarind
Tamarind Benefits come from a range of medicinal properties like:
1.1) Tamarind Pulp Has a High Nutritional Content
1 single cup or 120 gms of tamarind pulp contains –
1) 26% Magnesium
2) 16% Potassium
3) 19% Iron
4) 7% Calcium
5) 11% phosphorus
6) 11% Copper
Tamarind also has Vitamin C, K, B1, B2, B3, and B6.
With only 6 gms fiber, 3 gms proteins, and 1 gm fat, tamarind fruit is a total of 287 calories. The natural sugar present in it is different from the Added kind, advised by the Dietary Guidelines of Americans to be avoided.
All parts of the Tamarind tree have nutritional values like the World Health Organization report states tamarind fruit and seeds are ideal for important amino acids, and this becomes essential in countries facing a protein malnutrition problem.
1.1.1) Is Magnesium Part of Tamarind Benefits?
As seen above, tamarind has a high magnesium content which helps with more than 600 body functions, lowers blood pressure, and has antidiabetic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Adding magnesium to the diet helps with better bone density, prevents any joint pain, and protects the brain, heart, and general bone health.
This is beneficial, especially in the United States, where 20% of people do not have enough sources of magnesium.
To know more about one of the tamarind benefits, click here.
1.2) Tamarind Has Antioxidant Properties
Studies show antioxidant properties of Tamarind leaves and seeds. The phenolic properties, also found in beverages like red wine and green tea, are filled with antioxidant effects, which help strengthen the immune system.
The tropical fruit is filled with polyphenols like flavonoids which also affect neutrophils, as shown through research.
1.2.1) Can It Help Regulate Cholesterol?
The natural plant compounds called polyphenols act as antioxidants in the body that help regulate cholesterol levels.
Animal studies have found that tamarind fruit pulp extract lowered total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol rates.
1.3) Tamarind Has Anti – Inflammatory Effects
The flavonoids present in tamarind have antinociceptive effects, as shown through research.
This provides tamarind benefits that can cure several health disorders occurring in the body.
1.4) Other Tamarind Properties
2) Health Benefits of Tamarind
Tamarind is used as a traditional medicine in cooking, health, and general household purposes like –
1) Tamarind seed powder, leaves, and pulp are used for cooking in Asia, the Middle East, Mexico, and the Caribbean in dishes like Worcestershire sauce, marinades, drinks, and chutneys.
2) Tamarind pulp can also be used as a metal polish containing tartaric acid, removing copper and bronze tarnishes.
3) Medicinal tamarind benefits range between treating wounds, digestive system, heart health, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.
2.1) Tamarind Helps with Gastrointestinal Disorders
With potassium, tartaric, and malic acid present in this tropical fruit, it can be used as a natural laxative, as seen in studies.
Tamarind leaves, fruit, bark, and roots can be used to treat the abdominal pain caused by diarrhea and constipation.
Tamarind content also causes muscle relaxation by blocking the calcium channels, thus can be used as an effective diarrhea treatment due to this spasmolytic effect.
The dietary fiber content of tamarind boosts the digestive system, preventing any painful ulcers and inflammation that can occur in the intestinal tract.
Tamarind juice is one way to promote bile production, as it contains dietary fiber.
2.1.1) Do Tamarind Benefits Include Peptic Ulcers?
Serious concerns like peptic ulcers, caused in the stomach and duodenum, can be treated with the help of tamarind seed extract.
Specifically, polyphenolic compounds like the antioxidants called procyanidins and tannins cause a protective effect against free radicals, and ulcer development, through protein accumulation.
2.2) Tamarind Has Anti-Diabetic Effects (Blood Sugar Control)
The Anti Inflammatory properties of Tamarind can help lower blood sugar levels and help with pancreatic tissue damage caused by diabetes.
The abnormal insulin release affects the liver, kidney, and eye negatively, healed with the help of tamarind seeds.
Combined with hypoglycemic agents, tamarind extract can aid in providing nutritional support and reduce blood sugar levels.
This can be a natural remedy, but a doctor’s advice should be considered before consumption.
2.3) Tamarind Affects the Cardiovascular System
Tamarind properties help increase cholesterol excretion and LDL cholesterol intake from peripheral tissues and decrease oxidative damage that can cause atherosclerosis. Learn more here.
Dried tamarind also has anti-hypertensive effects, which can help in reducing diastolic blood pressure.
The seed extract also helps decrease triglycerides, and along with the fruit, it provides nutritional support to high blood cholesterol patients.
2.4) Tamarind Protects the Liver
A very serious health problem caused by environmental factors, biological toxins, chemicals, and alcoholism is liver disease.
Tamarind leaves help in this regard by protecting the liver through membrane stabilization and decreasing glutathione consumption, as shown through research.
While this can be made a part of your diet, it should not be mixed with refined sugar, gluten, and dairy products, as this can curb these tamarind benefits.
2.5) Tamarind Can Help with Weight Loss
Tamarind fruits have hypolipidemic properties, which help with bodyweight reduction by increasing dopaminergic transmission, decreasing plasma leptin levels, and regulating liquid metabolism; flavonoids, and polyphenols aid this with evidence from animal research.
It also has hydroxycitric acid, which prevents fat storage and controls appetite.
So, eating tamarind can help be a natural remedy to stay healthy.
2.6) Tamarind Helps with Fluoride Toxicity
The World Health Organization states the ideal fluoride level of drinking water should be between 0.5 – 1.0 mg per liter. Anything above that causes fluoride toxicity. This can affect respiration, cellular levels, and metabolism, which leads to oxidative stress.
Tamarind can help control this with its antioxidants and antiperoxidative properties. It decreases the plasma fluoride concentration, reducing liver and kidney damage. The fruit can also be used to clean out drinking water from any lead and fluoride effects.
2.7) Tamarind Can Reduce Cancer Symptoms
The polyphenol compounds found in Tamarind extract have antioxidant enzyme inductions properties that can block cancer-related signal pathways, as shown in research.
The Animal study showed it helped reduce oxidative stress and delayed the progress of Renal Cell Carcinoma, which affects the kidney.
2.8) Tamarind Helps Brain and Nerve Function
The B vitamins present in Tamarind, especially B6, B9, and B1, ensure the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system. It improves muscle growth, strengthens reflexes, and helps maintain general strength.
Studies on its anti-inflammatory effects show how tamarind prevents attacks on the brain by white blood cells, preventing any tissue damage.
With Luteolin, a neuroprotective agent, tamarind can suppress inflammation and ensure brain health.
2.9) Tamarind Improves Blood Circulation
Potassium content in Tamarind regulates the normal fluid balance, which controls blood pressure and ensures good heart health.
Iron content present also helps develop red blood cells and aids normal synthesis, maintaining smooth blood circulation.
Studies suggest the seeds of tamarind can help treat hyperglycemia and hypercholesterolemia.
2.10) Tamarind Helps with Skin and Hair Issues
Common skin-related issues, like acne and pimples, can be treated with 1 tbsp tamarind extract and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder. Your skin can feel fresh by applying this for around 10-15 minutes.
Due to the alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), which act as exfoliators, tamarind juice, can be consumed for healthy skin.
Research also indicated how the seed extract could decrease melanin and sebum contents by stopping free radicals from entering the body.
Hair packs that have tamarind pulp as an ingredient can be used to prevent hair loss and dandruff and promote healthy growth.
3) Other Tamarind Benefits
Traditional usage also points to this delicious fruit helping with general health matters in some areas, apart from the ones covered above, like –
3.1) Tamarind Protects Tissue Health
The essential amino acids present in the juice or fruits also help provide tamarind benefits for various functions in the body, especially ensuring protein intake and tissue repair.
3.2) Tamarind Helps with Allergies
The antihistaminic properties of tamarind help deal with any allergic reaction, from asthma to cough. Vitamin C also helps prevent any cold or cough.
3.3) Tamarind Can Protect Eyes
Vitamin A present in Tamarind reduces the possibility of age-induced cataracts and macular degeneration.
Water solutions of tamarind can prevent eye disorders.
3.4) Tamarind Can Purify Blood
The dietary fiber, nutrients, vitamins, and folic acid present in tamarind help counter free radicals and ensure toxin-free blood. It can help fight anemia and fatigue.
3.5) Tamarind Promotes Oral Health
Massaging The Tamarind Seeds on your gums and teeth can be one of the ways to improve oral health caused due to factors like junk food and tobacco cause plaque formation.
3.6) Tamarind Prevents Infections
Antibacterial properties of tamarind seeds can prevent any intestinal worms and skin and urinary tract infections.
Tamarind benefits also include acting as a good antiseptic in tropical regions where malaria is common.
You can also use or consume it for natural tamarind benefits like anti-venom properties against snake bites, blood clotting, and prevention enzymes. It is used as an aphrodisiac in India And Africa.
4) Side Effects Of Tamarind
The World Health Organization says tamarind is safe and non-toxic to use, this being corroborated by rat studies that show 3000 – 5000 mg/kg safe to consume.
However, there are side effects that one needs to note depending on their age, medical history, and other health conditions like –
4.1) Low Blood Sugar Levels
Excess tamarind consumption can reduce serum glucose levels, which causes hypoglycemia. 1
Even though ten gms is considered safe, one must monitor their blood sugar levels and adjust diabetes medications upon doctor’s advice.
4.2) Surgery and Drug Effects
Tamarind reacts negatively to medications like Aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antiplatelet drugs, and anticoagulants.
This can cause bleeding risks and overdosage, and therefore Tamarind should be consumed in any form only two weeks before surgery.
4.3) Allergic Reactions
Symptoms of allergies caused by Tamarind are Itching, Rashes, inflammation, stinging sensation, fainting, nausea, vomiting, and shortness of breath.
4.4) Tooth Problems
Since Tamarind is an acidic fruit, eating it in excess can affect your tooth enamel, harming your general health.
4.5) Gallstones Formation
Studies suggest excessive tamarind consumption can lead to stones forming in the gallbladder, raising health concerns like nausea, vomiting, and liver and digestion issues.
4.6) Lead poisoning
Research shows tamarind candy can be a source of lead exposure to children, elevating blood lead levels and impacting the kidneys and nervous system.
So, it needs to be consumed with caution, especially by children and pregnant women.
5) Is Tamarind Worth the Risk?
Of course, considering the Tamarind Benefits and side effects mentioned above, one can be confused as to whether use it or not.
But, apart from these tamarind benefits, it is also a versatile ingredient known for its sweet-sour taste in many dishes across countries like India, Thailand, and Mexico, where it is a culinary staple.
Tamarind wood is also useful for carpentry and woodcraft, polishing metals, and gardening.
So, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, which means you can give it a try.
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