Loved by some and hated by others, tamarind is far from being a consensus! Its strong flavor both repels and attracts. But one thing is unquestionable: its wealth of health benefits, starting with its laxative effect .
Fighting constipation tops a list of advantages for the proper functioning of the body, and can also act as a liver protector and in the treatment of skin and hair.
Despite being mostly consumed through juice , tamarind can also be enjoyed in its fresh versions and in the form of tea. Learn more about this fruit and how to enjoy its nutrients.
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Main benefits of tamarind
Practically all parts of tamarind are used in folk medicine, with numerous therapeutic applications, including anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and anti-hepatotoxic use, which combats substances that are toxic to the liver. Its extract and derivatives also have hypolipemic activities, which prevents blood fat, and antioxidant.
Check out some of the main benefits of this fruit below:
It’s a natural laxative
A study carried out at the Istanbul Medical University in Turkey proved that tamarind can be used as a natural laxative due to its high potassium content.
When you have diarrhea or dysentery, the body loses important minerals such as potassium. Consuming foods rich in this nutrient helps to regulate bowel function . The study argues that, to enjoy the laxative property, just eat the fruit or drink its juice.
Clinical sports nutritionist Luiz Braz also mentioned the role of fibers in combating constipation . “Tamarind acts as a natural laxative because it is rich in a fiber called pectin that has an emollient effect and, therefore, softens or softens the stool. This greatly contributes to the regulation of intestinal transit”.
Acts on skin and hair health
The use of tamarind in power acts in favor of the skin and hair thanks to the presence of antioxidants, such as the vitamin C . These molecules are able to neutralize the action of free radicals, preventing them from damaging healthy cells in the body. This defense of the body there prevents premature aging of the skin as much – fighting blemishes, wrinkles and sagging – the wires, combating dryness and fall .
Also for being rich in vitamin C , this fruit enables the maintenance of the skin’s connective tissue as a whole. Protecting the cells, both in the follicles and in the blood vessels of the scalp, thus promoting healthy hair growth.
The nutritionist assessed the presence of vitamin C in the composition of tamarind as very positive for skin and hair health. “The good amount of vitamin C helps to increase collagen production and, consequently, optimizes cell renewal processes, favoring and strengthening the skin and hair,” he said.
In addition, tamarind has a protective effect against damage caused by ultraviolet radiation , helping to reduce the impact of solar radiation, protecting the skin against oxidation damage caused by UV and infrared rays , in addition to defending the skin against the effects of pollution.
Protect the liver
Alcohol, toxins and other chemicals are linked to liver diseases that are major public health problems. The same study carried out in Istanbul showed that tamarind leaves had a protective effect against apoptosis (programmed cell death) which is the main mechanism in most liver diseases .
The plant extracts derived from the fruit, leaves and seeds are able to regenerate the organ’s tissue , recovering damaged parts and improving health.
Tamarind and its derivatives are able to control diabetes mellitus type 1 and 2. This disease is a chronic inflammation of the cells of the pancreas that releases abnormal amounts of insulin in the body, causing eye and kidney problems, mainly.
Tamarind consumption shows a protective effect on pancreatic cells, reversing tissue damage, thanks to its anti-inflammatory property, managing to regulate blood glucose. It has been shown to be very effective in treating this metabolic syndrome.
Tamarindo loses weight?
The answer to that question is yes . In fact, it is an important agent against obesity and the increase in body fat. This action is given not only by the presence of fibers but also by having hydroxycitric acid in its composition, a derivative of citric acid.
According to Braz, this substance has been shown to reduce the action of enzymes that would be involved in the formation of body fatty acids, that is, fats. “This substance may also be involved in regulating the production of serotonin, a hormone that promotes well-being and pleasure, and consequently in appetite control”, he revealed.
Tamarind is one of the few compounds that can be used for weight loss without worrying about side effects.
However, Braz makes a point of emphasizing that “tamarind alone will not be the main factor responsible for weight loss, as a set of actions involving healthy eating habits and frequent physical activity is necessary”.
In addition to presenting expressive levels of vitamin C, phosphorus, calcium, protein and fiber, what stands out is the level of potassium in the composition of tamarind. 100 grams of raw fruit has more than 700 milligrams of the nutrient, in some cases getting triple what is offered in a banana.
Potassium is of paramount importance for health because it acts in the strengthening of bones – fighting acids that “steal” calcium from the bones -, in regulating blood pressure – pumping the excess of consumed sodium out of the body through urine – and in proper functioning of the muscles, avoiding cramps and pain.
|100 Gram serving||Amount per serving|
|Energetic value||276 Kcal|
|C vitamin||7,2 mg|
* Daily reference values based on a 2000kcal or 8400kj diet. Your daily values can be higher or lower depending on your energy needs. Data taken from TACO, revised and expanded edition.
How to make tamarind juice
Here’s how to make a juice that can accompany your main meals, or just serve as a snack.
- 150 g of tamarind
- 1 liter of water
- Sweeten to taste.
Preparing this juice is simple. Just beat the fruit and water in a blender, strain and sweeten. You can also spice up this recipe by adding pineapple, orange , lemon and honey, mint , ginger, among others.
How to make the pulp?
Although this fruit produces a powerful juice full of benefits, it takes some work to extract its juice. This is because the skin surrounding the fruit needs to be broken and carefully removed so as not to stick to the fruit. Removing the lumps also makes the task even more time-consuming.
Therefore, to make it easier to prepare the juice, it is worth making the tamarind pulp. The first step is to peel the pod. Place all fruits in a bowl and cover with natural filtered water for 2 hours. When the pulps are well hydrated, knead them with your hands. Then sift everything to remove branches and pits. Separate into portions and freeze.
Tamarind tea: what is it for and how to make it
It is also possible to enjoy the benefits of tamarind from the tea made from its leaves. This drink acts mainly on improving liver functions, regulating intestinal transit and relieving discomfort caused by stomach ulcers.
- 100 g of tamarind leaves
- 1 liter of water
- Sweeten with honey (optional).
The way of preparing tamarind tea is through the decoction. To do this, boil the water first. Turn off the heat, place the leaves, cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Take preferably without sweetening or use honey. This recipe can be consumed up to three times a day.
Important ! Consult a doctor before using any medication, whether natural or not. Never self-medicate!
What is tamarind water for fasting?
Tamarind water has been used to improve health, and it is often said that it is effective if taken on an empty stomach every morning. However, nutritionist Luis Braz indicates that this would not be the best way to enjoy the benefits of the fruit. “The fact of consuming tamarind water, and fasting, does not bring any more advantages than drinking it in natura or in the form of juice. In fact, the consumption of fruit or juice will be much better because they have a higher concentration of nutrients and substances”, he explained.
Contraindications and side effects
Prolonged use of the fruit can cause tooth erosion due to its acidity. Fruit can also boost the effects of ibuprofen and acetylsalicylic acid.
Consume without exaggeration, it serves both fresh fruit and its derivatives, and tamarind leaf tea. Since excessive consumption can lead to discomfort and nausea. So don’t drink more than 3 cups of tea a day. The unripe fruit should not be consumed either.
It is important to remember that to consume any food, hygiene is essential. And at the sign of any side effects, it must be stopped.
The tamarind, known as Tamarindus indica L . in scientific circles, it is a fruit in the form of an elongated pod, up to 15 cm long. The bark is brittle and, when broken, has a pulp with seeds. This pulp is slightly sweet and acidic.
The tamarind tree is a large fruit tree, reaching 25 meters in height. It is very leafy and is widely used for decorative purposes, mainly for its yellow-orange flowers.
This species is native to tropical Africa and is currently cultivated in most tropical regions of the world. In Brazil, it is found in the North, Northeast, Southeast and Midwest regions.
My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .
I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.