Tamarind is a popular fruit in Nigeria; the Hausa tribe calls it “Tsamiya” and it has great medicinal properties. In South Asia, it is a one of the most highly prized fruit and it is recognized worldwide for its therapeutic properties.
Tamarind seeds are small and brown in color and they are found in a long brown pod that is quite huge and looks like matured green beans. The fresh pod of tamarind can be refrigerated for several months.
This fruit is one of the most ancient foods of man and it has been used for thousands of years in treating lots of health problems; it is also very nutritious with vital nutrients that the body needs for critical functions, some of them are iron, thiamine, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, calcium, pyridoxine and vitamin C.
Important Health Benefits of Tamarind
Tamarind is mostly consumed as a raw fruit; the seeds can also be dried and added as a spice to meals and drinks. Below are 10 amazing health benefits of tamarind. Please note that if you are on blood thinning medication like Aspirin, do not consume excess tamarind because it can thin the blood too and bring down high blood pressure.
It Boosts the Immune System
This fruit is loaded with plenty vitamin C and other powerful antioxidants which help to fortify the immune system and boost its functions. Regular intake of this fruit ensures long-term health.
Tamarind keeps infections and diseases at bay and fights germs and parasites that cause diseases because it has powerful antimicrobial properties. It destroys harmful parasites in the body and boosts the levels of friendly bacteria in the gut; it also eliminates stomach worms and prevents digestive problems since the digestive system is also part of the immune system.
Tamarind is a natural laxative; it is rich in fiber which ensures a smooth digestion of food and prevents constipation and other digestive problems. Rich content of fiber aids regular bowel movement; makes the stool bulky, and makes it moves easily. It increases the production and activities of bile which helps in the digestion of fats and it also stimulates the production of gastric juices and this helps the body to easily digest foods. It is also effective against chronic diarrhea.
Improves Blood Circulation
This fruit is rich in iron which helps in the production of new red blood cells and hemoglobin; this increases the amount of blood in the body and ensures an adequate amount of oxygen to reach all cells, tissues, and organs in the body. Less amount of blood in the body leads to anemia; this is a medical condition characterized by cognitive disorders, fatigue, headaches, weaknesses, and stomach problems.
Eat lots of tamarinds to increase the amount of blood in your body and to also prevent anemia.
Aids Weight Loss
This fruit is rich in hydroxycitric acid (HCA) which helps one lose weight and prevent obesity because it has the ability to inhibit an enzyme which helps the body to store fats. It also suppresses the appetite and regulates how one eats. This super seed suppresses the appetite by increasing the concentration of the neurotransmitter serotonin. It is used as a weight loss supplement and research is still ongoing on how to maximize its weight loss potentials.
Fights Cancer and Rapid Aging
Cancer is caused by free radicals and tamarind is rich in powerful antioxidants that can stop the formation and activities of free radicals. It can also destroy cancer cells and eliminate them from the body. It also contains alpha hydroxyl which helps to fight premature aging. Tamarind seed helps reverse skin damages, prevents skin infections and problems. It can be used as a skin exfoliant; it reverses sunburn and keeps the skin healthy and looking young.
Treats Stomach Ulcer
Tamarinds are good for the health of the digestive system; they are rich in phytochemicals and polyphenols that prevents and treats stomach ulcers. Ulcers are painful sores that surface in the stomach and small intestine and tamarinds are effective in preventing this when taken regularly. The leaves and bark of tamarind tree are effective in healing stubborn wounds; the seeds are also good in healing wound and preventing infection of the wound at the same time due to its rich content of antimicrobial, antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
Controls Blood Sugar Level
Tamarind can bring down high levels of sugar in the body; it can effectively inhibit the activities of the enzyme alpha-amylase, this will prevent the body from absorbing carbohydrates and simple sugars from food. Excess carbohydrate can cause uncontrolled levels of glucose in the body; it can also lead to high levels of insulin which is the biggest health challenge for people suffering from diabetes. Regular intake of tamarind will prevent fluctuations in the levels of glucose and carbohydrates.
Improves Nerves functions
Tamarind is rich in vitamin B complex which helps in improving the functions of the nerves; it also helps the muscles to develop properly. This helps an individual to be strong, live an active lifestyle and be healthy. It prevents frequent muscle spasm and enhances quick healing of wounds.
Protects the Heart
Tamarinds are effective in reducing high concentration of cholesterol in the bloodstream and they also bring down high blood pressure. Its rich content of fiber clears out excess cholesterol from the blood, veins, and arteries. Its rich content of potassium prevents hypertension and boosts the health and functions of the heart.
Potassium is a vasodilator which helps to dilate blood vessels and thereby keeping blood pressure in check. It also reduces the stress and pressure on the heart and it fights oxidation and the damages caused by free radicals.
Tamarind is an anti-inflammatory fruit; it fights and prevents inflammation in the body and inflammation has been implicated in many chronic diseases and health conditions. Essential oil gotten from tamarind has been used to fight inflammation for centuries and it is still used to date; it is also used in fighting joint pain, arthritis, gout, rheumatic arthritis, pink eye and other irritation of the eyes. Many naturopaths use this oil to fight inflammation and its symptoms.
How to Use Tamarind
This fruit can be taken raw; it can also be used as a spice. In northern Nigeria; it is added to most drinks like pap, kunu, and other local drinks. This reduces the problems that can occur from consuming too much sugar which is usually added to this drink.
Another way this fruit is taken, especially when used in treating an illness is by drinking the water on an empty stomach. The pods/seeds are soaked in water and left to stay throughout the night; in the morning, strain it and drink the water on an empty stomach. This should be done daily until you notice an improvement in your health.