You must have munched on ‘imli’ candies as a kid. We all have. The sweet and sour taste of imli mixed with sugar made it the perfect snack to munch on as we returned from school. But, what if we tell you that imli or tamarind, as it is known in English, is actually native to Africa and not India? Well, sounds strange, doesn’t it, the fact that something so integral to our lifestyle is not even of Indian origin. Tamarind may originally be from Africa, but its benefits encompass all geographical boundaries. And today, we are here to tell you all about tamarind benefits.

Let’s get started on this sweet and sour ride as we chart out how this fruit pod can totally transform your life.

 

What is the nutritional value of tamarind?

What is the nutritional value of tamarind?

Before we get started with the multiple benefits of the fruit, let us take you through some interesting facts and factoids about it. In fact, do you know that it is home to a plethora of nourishment? Take a look yourself.

Tamarind or imli is composed of various phytochemical compounds that are biologically active, such as taxifolin, luteolin, apigenin, catechin and the likes. Further, tamarind fruits are rich in pipecolic acid, geraniol, lupanone, etc., with its seeds filled with linoleic acid, palmitic acid and more.

Overall, tamarind is a hub of nutrients, which when used in daily cooking can impart various health and beauty benefits.

 

Tamarind benefits: Why you should incorporate it in your diet

Tamarind benefits: Why you should incorporate it in your diet

We have already established the fruit pod’s nutritional value. Even if it sounds quite scientific to you and you may not be able to gauge the realistic benefits of it, trust us when we say that it would be an amazing addition to your diet. Let us now list out all the wondrous benefits that this miraculous fruit pod has to offer.

1. Exfoliates and even-tones the skin

1. Exfoliates and even-tones the skin

Do you know that tamarind pulp scrub has been a natural scrub and skin remedy for a long time now? It is rich in alpha-hydroxy acids, also known as AHAs, citric acid and malic acid. This helps in cleansing the skin of dead cells and impurities and gently scrubs off the top layer to reveal a flawless and even-toned complexion. It also nourishes the skin and does not make it dry. It is also known to decrease melanin content over time, making skin brighter in appearance. The reducing effect on sebum makes managing oily and combination skin easier.

2. Mitigates liver injuries

2. Mitigates liver injuries

Another benefit of tamarind is its capability to mitigate liver injuries. Your body goes through chronic inflammation and tamarind is a great way to counter and manage liver oxidative stress. Studies prove that tamarind extract negates the damage done to the liver by free radicals and reduces inflammatory markers such as reductase and glutathione. Further, tamarind is a rich source of vitamin E and is also known to contain minerals like magnesium, nickel and iron that strengthen the immune system against any kind of oxidative stress.

3. Aids weight management

3. Aids weight management

Suffering from obesity? Make tamarind your best friend and develop a taste for it, if you haven’t already. Obesity is known to affect various parts of the body, including the most crucial functioning ones such as heart and kidneys. It is important to manage your weight and get rid of the excess fat therein. Tamarind pulp is great here as it works towards increasing the good cholesterol and decreasing the bad kind. It is also great at curtailing the activity of FAS or fatty acid synthase which is responsible for forming adipose tissue in the body.

4. Prevents constipation

4. Prevents constipation

Let’s face it, constipation is not a pretty scenario. It affects your diet and makes your body a hub of toxins which should otherwise have been pushed out of it. This leads to tired-looking skin full of issues and impurities, and a body that is not functioning optimally. Tamarind can help you here, as it is a known laxative with high levels of tartaric acid and malic acid, along with potassium bitartrate which is an active constipation-relieving agent. Here, the bark of tamarind is what you are looking for, which is quite a popular remedy in Africa when it comes to curing stomach aches that are induced by either constipation or diarrhea. Another preparation that you may be more familiar with, is the South Indian one called rasam which is eaten with rice and aids healthy digestion.

5. Prevents microbial diseases

5. Prevents microbial diseases

What if we tell you that tamarind can also be used as an effective medicine against fever and common cold? It can be. It is rich in anti-microbial properties and has even been instrumental as a traditional medicine against malaria. Tamarind is also anti-inflammatory in nature and is rich in antioxidants. However, before you try it, we would recommend you consult with your doctor and know all about your medical history and allergens. Alternative medicines can complement your treatment, but it seldom replaces it.

6. Helps manage diabetes

6. Helps manage diabetes

Studies have shown that tamarind brings down sugar levels in those suffering from diabetes. Tamarind is anti-inflammatory in nature and works on the major cause of diabetes; the inflammation of pancreatic cells. Tamarind helps reverse that because it produces anti-inflammatory chemicals such as TNF alpha. Not only this, tamarind also helps produce new pancreatic beta cells which can restore lost insulin.

7. Helps manage hypertension

7. Helps manage hypertension

Tamarind is known to have anti-hypertensive tendencies. This means it helps curbing diastolic blood pressure. Tamarind is also known to lower the risk of clogged arteries and even treats atherosclerotic lesions. All of this, combined with its anti-inflammatory nature, helps prevent cardiovascular diseases which may happen due to excessive hypertension.

 

Fun facts about the tamarind

Fun facts about the tamarind

Tamarind's benefits are many, but there are some surprising facts about its usage too. Even though most of these are not proved by studies and are just hearsay, take a look at these, maybe for just some fun.

  • Do you know that tamarind is used as a remedy against snakebite? Yes, it is considered to be an antidote to snake venom
  • In Africa, tamarind is also used as an aphrodisiac. This means that it is known to drive sexual urge in men
  • In some traditions, tamarind is also used as a remedy against rapid blood clotting and hemorrhage.
 

How to use tamarind in cooking?

How to use tamarind in cooking?

To reap tamarind benefits, you need to know how you can extract it from the fruit pod. Let us take you through the process. There are two methods of usage.

Method 1: Using tamarind as an immediate spice

  • Soak tamarind in warm water for around 10 minutes, until it softens
  • Squeeze it to make a pulp
  • Strain the juice

Method 2: Storing tamarind

  • Take semi-dried tamarind and put it in a glass jar
  • Pour water to submerge the pieces and close the lid
  • Put it in a refrigerator and leave it overnight
  • Squeeze the pulp out of the soft chunks, in the morning
  • You can close the container and refrigerate it to use later on
 

FAQs on tamarind benefits

FAQs on tamarind benefits

Q. Can I eat tamarind every day?

A. Yes, you can include it in your everyday diet.

Q. Can tamarind help me sleep?

A. While there is no study to prove the same, some like to believe that tamarind’s magnesium content helps aid sleep in those who suffer from insomnia. Further, tamarind is rich in minerals that are known to calm nerves and aid in sleeping.