Have you ever tried tamarind? Well, its sweet and tangy taste makes it a very popular fruit in South Asia. As a matter of fact, it’s widely used as a condiment for some of their dishes. Tamarind also possesses lots of essential nutrients. If you want to learn more, give this article a read.
What is Tamarind?
Tamarind is a delightful, sweet and sour fruit that has a wide range of uses both in the culinary and medicinal fields. It comes from a thick tree which bears fruits and evergreen leaves and grows in pods characterized by long, brown shells. Inside of these shells is a juicy, fleshy, sticky pulp – the tamarind fruit. This is where all the essential nutrients and flavour lie. Because of its unique flavour, people tend to either love or hate it.
Tamarind is part of the Fabaceae plant family and is scientifically referred to as Tamarindus Indica. The tamarind tree is indigenous to various tropical regions in Africa, specifically around Sudan, but cultivation has spread to similar climates all over the world because it is a good source of nourishment. The crop made its way to Asia about 5,000 years ago, but it wasn’t until about 500 years ago that it made its way to the Americas. Today, Mexico and South America are the largest producers and consumers of tamarind worldwide.
You can eat tamarind raw, add ripe tamarind to desserts or dry it up and grind it into a spice. It’s commonly used in jams and sauces, and some countries even make candy out of it. Because of its health benefits and unique taste, it’s a common ingredient in soups and dishes across South America and Asia.
Nutritional Value of Tamarind
Tamarind can provide sugar and energy, together with various essential nutrients like calcium, vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Furthermore, it also contains vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, zinc, sodium, and iron. There are organic compounds in it as well, which makes it a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent.
Refer to the table below to learn more about what’s in the tamarind:
|Principle||Amount||% Daily Value|
|Total Fat||0.60 grams||3%|
|Dietary Fiber||5.1 grams||13%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.143 milligrams||3%|
|Vitamin A||30 IU||1%|
|Vitamin C||3.5 milligrams||6%|
|Vitamin E||0.10 milligrams||<1%|
|Vitamin K||2.8 micrograms||2%|
Health Benefits of Tamarind
Here are some of the most astonishing health benefits of tamarind:
- Helps boost immunity. The antioxidants and high levels of vitamin C in tamarind are beneficial for boosting the immune system. This also helps ensure sustainable health and protects against fungal and microbial infections.
- Helps manage diabetes. Tamarind helps inhibit the alpha-amylase enzyme, which prevents carbs from being absorbed by the body.
- Aids weight loss. HCA, or hydroxycitric acid, is one of the compounds that can be extracted from tamarind. This is linked to weight loss, as it’s been shown to constrain a certain enzyme in the body that helps store fat.
- Helps improve nerve function. The vitamin B complex in tamarind is one of its most significant vitamins. Thiamin is an essential part of the B vitamin family and is responsible for improving nerve function and muscle development.
- Helps improve blood circulation. Tamarind is a good source of essential iron. Even just one serving may offer over 105% of your daily iron needs. This helps guarantee a good red blood cell count.
- Helps protect the heart. The fiber in tamarind helps reduce cholesterol, as does the other essential vitamins such as the potassium, vitamin C and more. This is one of the best health benefits of tamarind, especially for those who have heart conditions.