Around the world, tamarind fruit is a key ingredient in common and culturally vital dishes each savory and candy. But it comes from a tree that may solely survive in tropical and subtropical climates, so relying on the place you reside, you is probably not as conversant in it as you’re with different fruits.

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Registered dietitian Devon Peart, RD, MHSc, explains what tamarind is and what well being advantages it could present so you can begin incorporating this versatile fruit into your food regimen.

What is tamarind?

Tamarind fruit is a pod-like legume that comes from the tamarind tree (Tamarindus indica). On the surface is a tough shell that appears like an elongated peanut shell or a brown edamame (soybean) pod. But inside is a fleshy pulp with a texture just like dates.

“Tamarind is both sweet and tangy,” Peart says. “It’s sweeter or sourer depending on how ripe it is. The riper the fruit, the sweeter the taste.”

Though tamarind bushes are native to tropical areas of Africa, they now develop in different heat climates, too, together with South Asia, Mexico and elements of Central America.

It’s one of many key elements in sinigang, a savory Filipino stew, and imli or saunth chutney, a candy chutney that enhances fried snacks in India and Pakistan. It’s additionally utilized in drinks like agua fresca, which abounds in Mexico and elements of Latin America, and sharbat, a relaxing cordial typically served throughout Ramadan.

What varieties does tamarind are available?

Tamarind is offered in a number of varieties, relying on the way you wish to use it. “If you want to eat it raw, you can just break open the pod and eat the pulp from around the seed,” Peart explains. (The pods themselves are inedible, however they’re compostable!)

You can even make your personal tamarind paste by boiling and straining the pulp, which can be utilized as a dip or added to different dishes. “To make a paste in its pure form, the only thing added to tamarind is water,” Peart says, “so it’s as nutrient-rich as the raw plant.”

Sound like an excessive amount of give you the results you want? If you wish to use tamarind as an ingredient in cooking, you can even purchase it in numerous varieties, like:

  • Paste.
  • Powder.
  • Concentrate.
  • Compressed block (a thick slab of packed pulp with the seeds and pods eliminated).

Just you’ll want to avoid any selection made with added sugar. “If you buy ready-made paste or concentrate, other ingredients may be added,” Peart warns, “so check the ingredient label.”

Health advantages of tamarind

You already know that fruit is wholesome. But what’s so nice about tamarind, particularly?

“Tamarind is rich in antioxidants and high in calcium, fiber and magnesium,” Peart says. Here’s a have a look at what which means for you and a number of the potential and confirmed well being advantages of tamarind.

Full of antioxidants

Antioxidants are naturally occurring chemical substances present in some meals. They assist your physique battle mobile injury from free radicals, unstable molecules that trigger oxidative stress and can lead to indicators of getting old and illness, together with:

But antioxidants pair up with free radicals and stop them from going rogue inside your physique. That means they’ve huge general advantages on your well being — and tamarind is filled with them. It’s particularly excessive in an antioxidant known as beta-carotene, which helps eye well being.

An excellent supply of magnesium

One serving of tamarind provides greater than 25% of your really useful each day quantity of magnesium.

This essential nutrient helps greater than 300 important processes in your physique, together with regulating nerve and muscle perform, sustaining blood strain management and sustaining robust bones.

Helps scale back irritation

Inflammation within the physique is related to all types of dangers, together with harm, sickness and continual ailments. But lowering irritation additionally reduces your dangers — and your food regimen can go a great distance.

“Tamarind pulp is rich in potassium and polyphenols, like flavonoids, which reduce inflammation,” Peart says. Flavonoids are pure plant chemical substances with antioxidant properties, and antioxidants are one of many key fighters in opposition to irritation.

That doesn’t imply that tamarind alone would be the superhero it is advisable to fight irritation. But it could actually positively assist.

May play a task in weight problems remedy

Tamarind seeds, particularly, might play a task in serving to handle and deal with obesity.

“Obesity triggers metabolic and hormonal changes related to low-grade, chronic inflammation,” Peart explains, “but tamarind is a powerful anti-inflammatory that contains trypsin inhibitor, a molecule involved in hunger and satiety hormones that can essentially lead to a feeling of fullness.”

More research are wanted to find out precisely how and whether or not trypsin inhibitors have a task to play in weight problems remedy, however some of the evidence is promising to this point.

May be good for folks with diabetes

The glycemic index classifies meals that include carbohydrates based mostly on how doubtless they’re to lift your blood sugar.

Foods which might be low on the glycemic index are much less more likely to trigger your blood sugar to rise shortly, making them a good selection on your food regimen. This is very essential when you’ve got diabetes — and tamarind could also be a type of meals. Currently, there’s restricted proof of this attainable profit, however analysis is ongoing.

“Tamarind is relatively high in sugar, at 34 grams per half cup,” Peart notes, “but it’s also low on the glycemic index, meaning it doesn’t cause spikes in blood sugar. Its potential role in diabetes management is still being sorted out.”

Is tamarind wholesome?

Tamarind’s dietary profile makes it clear that it may be a wholesome addition to your food regimen. So, in the event you’re able to get snacking or to begin cooking, contemplate this your all-clear to present it a go.

“Tamarind is nutrient-rich, so, on balance, it’s a healthy food when you enjoy it in moderation,” Peart says. “Just stick to one serving at a time, which is half a cup.”

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