Tamarind has long been used in various cuisines for its tangy taste. Indian cuisine uses tamarind as one of the key ingredients in many dishes. While it can be said that the unique sour taste of tamarind is a major reason, the health benefits that tamarind has to offer cannot be discounted.
Nutrition in tamarind
Tamarind is a superfood when we consider the nutrition available in it. Tamarind is a powerhourse of Vitamins C, B Complex and E. In addition, thiamin, iron, manganese and potassium are also present in good amounts. It also has excellent anti-microbial properties. In fact, a study was conducted titled “Studies on the antimicrobial activity of Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) and its potential as food bio-preservative” in which it is shown how tamarind can even be used as a food preservative in place of chemical preservatives due to its anti-microbial properties.
Good for digestion
Tamarind aids in digestion. To use it best, consume on a daily basis in the form of a soup by using pulp of just one tamarind pod for the soup.
- Soak a de-seeded pod’s pulp in water for a few hours(or overnight).
- Squeeze to take the extract.
- Allow the extract to boil for six to eight minutes or on low flame for fifteen minutes.
- Add chopped ginger, lemon juice and roasted cumin seeds.
- Allow to boil for a few more minutes.
- Add chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves.
- Switch off.
Drink 100 – 200 ml of this soup daily before lunch.
To treat anemia
Tamarind is a rich source of iron. Adding jut a pod of tamarind to your daily diet can address more than ten percent of your body’s iron requirement for the day. Those with anemia can consume a teaspoon of tamaring paste or if you like its tangy taste, eat a fresh tamarind pod.
Improves blood circulation
One of the reasons cited for the reason of tamarind improving blood circulation is that it is rich in iron as specified above which in turn means more RBC count when consuming tamarind. This increased healthy haemoglobin and RBC lead to better blood circulation in the body. Better circulation in turn leads to improved cardiac health.
Good for the nervous system
Tamarind has long been used to treat various nerve disorders. I suggest you read through this article which explains about how scientists in Melbourne have used tamarind for the regrowth of nerves. While this is just one of the numerous benefits, tamarind strengthens nerves and gives you better strength during old age.
Tamarind is rich in vitamin C which improves immunity. In addition tamarind also contains anti-oxidants and phytochemicals. Tamarind also is a great source of dietary fibre and helps to body to be healthy and disease free.
How to consume
Regular consumption is preferred. If you are a rie eater, a soup can be made with tamarind and mixed with rice. (In south India, this is referred to as rasam and is part of the staple diet) You can also add tamarind to gravies
Can treat inflammation and pain in joints
A thin decoction of tamarind can be made by the following method:
- Take three to four fresh tamarind pods
- Peel the skin of the pods
- De-seed and take the pulp
- Soak these in warm water for three to four hours.
- Now squeeze well to get the extract
- Add a little honey and drink thrice a week to reduce inflammation.
A topical application can also be made – Grind tamarind to a thick paste and apply on the pain area. Leave it for an hour or so and wash off to reduce pain in joints.
Can treat diabetes
Tamarind can regulate the sugar levels in the body. Make a juice of tamarind by following the below method.
- Soak two teaspoons of fenugreek seeds overnight.
- Take tamarind pulp from one pod.
- Grind it along with water, fenugreek seeds and two teaspoons of cumin seeds.
- Strain to get a clear juice.
- Drink with few mint leaves.
This juice works by helping diabetics lose weight, by improving metabolism reduce sugar level spikes.
Note: Drink this juice 20 minutes before food once a day.
To reduce constipation
The above juice specified for diabetics will also work for those who are suffering from constipation since tamarind is a laxative. But in this case, take the pulp from three pods and drink once a day till the symptons are alleviated.
Cure sore throat
Chew on the pulp from half a tamarind pod slowly allowing the tangy taste to slowly blend in wth the saliva. You could also gargle tamarind water to cure sore throat. Ths remedy is found to be more effective when done when the sore throat is not too severe.
To reduce fever
A juice made with tamarind, milk and honey can be consumed once or twice a day to bring down fever. This remedy is not recommended for pregnant women and children below 4 years of age.
- Too much tamarind consumption is not advisable during pregnancy and during breastfeeding since the effects of excessive consumption remains largely unknown.
- Those with low sugar can refrain from consuming higher quantities of tamarind since it lowers blood sugar levels.