Photograph by Slyvia/Flickr
It’s impossible to imagine most Indian dishes without the earthy tang of tamarind. Sambhar, pani puri, Kerala fish curry, Andhra chintakaya pachadi, Hyderabadi khatti dal and the Punjabi imli chutney that is a must serve with samosas and dahi bhalles are all among several dishes that feature tamarind as the star ingredient. If you haven’t grown up eating tender, raw tamarind straight off the tree or sweet tamarind candy with a pinch of salt (they’re served on some Indian flights even now), then maybe it’s time to make up for it.
If you need an excuse, here are some benefits of eating tamarind
Pectin, tannin, mucilage and gums are some of the non-starch polysaccharides found in tamarind pulp. These help improve digestive functions and prevent disease by binding harmful toxins to food.
Tamarind is also a natural source of thiamine or Vitamin B1. This vitamin acts as an enzyme that aids in the metabolisation of food and helps prevent fatigue.
Thiamine is also essential to prevent cardiovascular and nervous disorders.
The tartaric acid found in tamarind is a powerful anti-oxidant and helps boost your immunity.
The fruit contains several minerals including copper, potassium, selenium, zinc and magnesium. Tamarind also contains a high amount of iron, which is essential to regulate haemoglobin levels in the blood and the red blood cell production.
The fruit is also known to be a blood purifier.
Tamarind is especially good for improving intestinal functions because it is extremely rich in dietary fibre.
The pulp and juice of tamarind when consumed after meals is known to regulate the blood sugar levels and thereby preventing diabetes.
There are several home remedies that use tamarind. The pulp is used to treat mouth ulcers and a sore throat.
The cooling effect of tamarind water is also considered beneficial to those suffering from a sun stroke.