Nutritional Wonders Of Tamarind For Energy

  • Batool Hassan BS in Microbiology (Clinical and Food Microbiology Specialization), Jinnah University for Women, Pakistan

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Nature has provided a vast variety of foods but little do we know that they are blessings in disguise, some superfoods not only offer a treat to our taste buds but also provide numerous health benefits, one of which of these superfoods is tamarind.

Tamarind originates from Africa, the Mediterranean, South Asia, and some parts of India. This sweet and sour fruit is widely used in various dishes and cuisines to bring up some classic flavours. Tamarind is known as an ancient food that people traditionally used for its numerous health benefits and medical properties long before it was researched or recognized by science. In this article, you will discover and learn the nutritional properties of tamarind and how it can contribute to a daily dose of your energy. 

Introduction

Tamarind belongs to the Fabaceae family related to peas, beans, and other legumes. An interesting fact is that it is native to Africa but today India is the biggest producer of tamarind while Mexico and South Asia are the biggest consumers of tamarind.1 Tamarind not only holds its popularity for spicing up dishes and flavours but also contributes to overall human health. It consists of anti-inflammatory, anti-cholesterol, anti-bacterial, and mild laxative properties.

The benefits and nutritional profiling of tamarind make it an ideal source of daily energy. The edible fruit is often eaten in various forms such as juices, pulp, or raw as a candy which can be a daily energy booster assuring maximum benefits and a healthy metabolism of the body.

Nutritional composition of tamarind 

Let's have a look at the nutritional composition of raw tamarind below:2

  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Iron 
  • Phosphorous
  • Folate (DEF)
  • Riboflavin
  • Fibre (total dietary) 
  • Total calories = 100g of raw tamarind consists of 239 calories.

Tamarind’s impact on energy levels

Rich in vitamins and minerals

Tamarind is rich in vitamins and minerals and provides great energy levels. It enhances the body’s immune system and fights against germs, viruses, and bacteria, specially it is an effective source of natural remedies against cold and flu. 

Tamarind can moisten the nasal passage of a dry nose and enable ease of breathing. Adding tamarind to a broth of soups or making tamarind tea can provide immediate relief. 

High in fibre content

Another excellent nutritional wonder of tamarind is its fibre content which aids in digestive movements and weight loss management through appetite control as tamarind creates a feeling of fullness, bulks up stool, and prevents binge eating. Moreover, flavonoids and polyphenols in tamarind boost metabolism and effectiveness in energy. It aids in digestion by stimulating bowel movements and excretion. The fiber content cleanses the digestive system by the smooth movement of stool through the intestinal tract and aids in bile production to boost digestion.3 

Acts as a natural sugar for an energy boost

The amazing fact about tamarind is that it is relatively high in sugar content is 34gms of sugar in half a cup but it has a low glycemic index (55).4 Foods with low glycemic index do not tend to spike sugar levels and thus make a good choice to add in a balanced diet. This may help and aid diabetic patients too. According to research, tamarind seed extract has anti-inflammatory property which helps regulate the blood sugar level.5 The natural sweetness of tamarind acts as an energy booster without spiking the sugar level in the blood while maintaining energy throughout the body. 

Tamarind in traditional medicine

We know plants have been used in traditional medicine since ancient times and in today’s pharmacotherapy too. Scientists and researchers study different plants and provide great useful insight into their uses and treatments for the benefit of mankind and it was found that tamarind played an important role as a first-line approach for relief and cure. 90% of people prefer using traditional medicines as a choice of treatment.6 The most common use of tamarind is as a laxative in traditional medicine due to the presence of high malic acid, tartaric acid, and potassium content.7 Some more traditional uses of tamarind are to treat diarrhoea, fever, constipation, and malaria. research shows that the bark and leaves of tamarind trees can heal wounds.  

Incorporating tamarind into the diet

The best thing about tamarind is the amazing flavours it brings to the table in different cuisines. Tamarind is nutrient-rich and a healthy food to enjoy in moderation. It is a famous culinary staple ingredient in the Caribbean, India, and Mexico. Some of the very common and famous culinary uses of Tamarind are as below

  • Tamarind Pulp
  • Tamarind Paste is used in different dishes and chutneys
  • Tamarind dishes like tamarind meat stew, tamarind soups
  • Beverages such as sherbet, and Fresca drinks

Potential side effects and precautions

Any excessive use can cause side effects, thus eating with moderation is important. There is no appropriate recommended dose for tamarind but it typically relies on many factors such as age, medical history, health issues, and conditions. However, if you have any medical condition it is always best to ask your doctor before consumption. 

Commonly side effects of overeating tamarind are as below:

  • Hypoglycemia in diabetic patients due to overconsumption of tamarind leads to reduced serum glucose levels. 
  • It may cause allergies such as itchiness, rashes, faintness, lightheadedness, nausea, and stinging sensations.
  • The acidic nature of food can cause potential damage to tooth enamel.
  • According to a study, overeating tamarind can cause the formation of stones in the gall bladder which can further lead to health problems like kidney issues, jaundice, liver problems, and digestive issues.7 
  • Tamarind candy is one of the potential sources for lead poisoning in children, it spikes sugar levels and can cause damage to the brain and kidneys. That is why it is not recommended for children and pregnant women to have tamarind candies. 
  • Tamarind consists of many therapeutic active compounds and thus can show interactions with other drugs and medicines such as aspirin, anticoagulants, anti-platelet drugs, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. If tamarind is taken with any of these drugs it can abnormally increase the rate of drug absorption and cause profuse bleeding8 

Conclusion

Tamarind plays a huge part as an energy booster but with that, it also brings impactful wellness to human health and body. It promotes oral health, it is heart-friendly, and the seeds of tamarinds have anti-viral properties, moreover, its prophylactic nature prevents skin, intestinal and urinary infections. While enjoying the vast benefits, tastes, flavours, and cuisines, it is important to keep a balanced diet. Mindful eating is the key to modesty. 

  • Tamarind grows on tall trees that appear to be very bushy and have evergreen leaves.
  • The famous pods of tamarind are long, curved, and brown surrounded by a sticky pulp on the seeds which makes tamarind paste. 
  • It is a great source of vitamin B, vitamin C, and potassium-rich food. 
  • Dried and boiled tamarind leaves are used as compresses for swollen joints.
  • Tamarind is rich in antioxidants and can nourish and rejuvenate the damaged skin, it’s paste can be applied to the affected area. 
  • Tamarind was introduced to the US ( Hawaii) in 1797. 
  • In countries like Jamaica and India, tamarind is sweetened and sold as candies.

References

  1. Eat Smarter USA [Internet]. [cited 2024 Jan 26]. What is Tamarind? Available from: https://eatsmarter.com/eat-healthy/healthy-kitchen/what-is-tamarind-1
  2. healthmunsta. HubPages. 2017 [cited 2024 Jan 26]. Tamarind health benefits: the nutrient-rich superfood. Available from: https://discover.hubpages.com/health/Tamarind-Health-Benefit
  3. HealthifyMe [Internet]. 2022 [cited 2024 Jan 26]. Tamarind: a tropical fruit with several health benefits. Available from: https://www.healthifyme.com/blog/tamarind-benefits/
  4. Cleveland Clinic [Internet]. [cited 2024 Jan 26]. Tamarind just might be your new favorite fruit. Available from: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/tamarind
  5. BBC Good Food [Internet]. [cited 2024 Jan 26]. Top 6 health benefits of tamarind. Available from: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/top-6-health-benefits-of-tamarind
  6. Kuru P. Tamarindus indica and its health related effects. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine [Internet]. 2014 Sep 1 [cited 2024 Jan 26];4(9):676–81. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169115300885
  7. Kuru P. Tamarindus indica and its health related effects. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine [Internet]. 2014 Sep 1 [cited 2024 Jan 26];4(9):676–81. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169115300885
  8. Singh DR. PharmEasy Blog. 2022 [cited 2024 Jan 26]. Tamarind (Imli): uses, benefits, side effects and more! Available from: https://pharmeasy.in/blog/ayurveda-uses-benefits-side-effects-of-tamarind/

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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Batool Hassan

BS in Microbiology (Clinical and Food Microbiology Specialization), Jinnah University for Women, Pakistan

Batool is a graduate in Microbiology and has several years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. She further pursued certifications of medical writing and has embarked on the journey to contribute as a writer in the healthcare care and medical sector.

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