Most people know about Tamarind in some form, whether it be sweet Tamarind juice, tamarind paste, in Indian chutney or curry, good old-fashioned BBQ sauce, or even sweet tamarind candy - which, unfortunately, has been linked to lead poisoning… But the benefits of tamarind are not nearly as well-known. The tamarind tree, also known as Tamarindus indica, bears edible fruit through pods and is indigenous to tropical Africa. The tamarind fruit pulp is the base for what most of us know as Tamarind. And that tamarind pulp is what contains a host of vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C, magnesium, and tartaric acid, to name a few, boasting a whole list of health benefits by itself. With no fat content whatsoever, tamarind benefits include regulating digestion, improving blood glucose levels, lowering blood pressure, managing blood circulation and blood sugar levels, boosting the immune system, and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. But what's more are the seeds found in tamarind that are packed with proteins, amino acids, essential fatty, acids, and minerals. With 3-12 tamarind seeds per pod, these little morsels of nutrition have surprising health benefits on their own and can easily be incorporated into your diet! So read on for the health benefits of tamarind and find ways to incorporate this sweet and sour traditional medicine into your daily diet and lifestyle.
Tamarindus indica holds many benefits related to a healthy lifestyle. But if you're looking for quick stats on tamarind and the beneficial properties it can provide your body, then read below to see how tamarind may help you. Tamarind can:
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower blood sugar
- Assist in weight loss and weight management
- Treat a fatty liver
- Combat diabetes
- Lower ldl cholesterol
- Provide rich antioxidants
- Improve diet and digestive tract
- Boost immune system
- Protect against cancer and related diseases
- Improve overall health
With tartaric acid as the major acid present, tamarind contains a host of rich antioxidants and offers plenty of anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits (1) when you eat it. Not to mention, it's also just a sweet treat! Amongst its traditional uses as a tropical tree, eating tamarind is used to treat joint pain and arthritis while delivering healthy vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and magnesium. With ample evidence of its anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties, roasted Tamarind Seed has been known to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress when you eat them. And it can help with chronic pain, heart health, weight loss, bad cholesterol, and even protect bone and cartilage (2). Not to mention, this sweet and sour food contains no fat so your body weight and diet will not suffer from any fat-related properties.
When externally applied
By now, you know that tamarind contains a host of rich benefits upon being incorporated into your food. But what about how tamarind is rich with benefits even from a topical standpoint? When applied to the skin, Tamarind helps to draw and bind vital hydration to the body by feeding the skin’s natural moisturizing factor on its surface, similar to Hyaluronic Acid. The genius lies in the molecular structure of the fruit which is able to penetrate the body surface more deeply, resulting in deeper and long-lasting hydration. High in vitamin C, tamarind also contributes to your skin health by virtue of applying the vitamin directly to the body's surface, helping your skin glow while showing off that sweet tamarind shine. We use Tamarind Seed Extract in our Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner which is combined with Hyaluronic Acid, Green, White & Black Tea, and Rice Bran Extract to draw and bind vital hydration to the skin and feed the skin’s natural moisturizing factor (NMF).
How to make your own Tamarind Seed Powder!
While fresh whole Tamarind and tamarind paste is now available in many Asian and Latin grocery stores in the US, Tamarind Seed alone or Tamarind Seed Powder is not as easily accessible. Fortunately, you can make your very own quite quickly by following the directions below!
- Buy fresh whole Tamarind pods and save the seeds after eating the pulp from the fruit as a snack or using it in your other food for cooking. Wash and dry the seeds with a paper towel.
- Roast them in the oven at 300 degrees for approximately 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can also roast them in a frying pan on low heat for about 5 minutes. Then let cool.
- Wrap the roasted seeds in a dishtowel, place them on a thick wooden cutting board and roughly crush with a hammer. The kernels are very hard so you will need to use quite a bit of force. When they crack, the dark brown skin will come off, exposing the inner white seed. Keep the brown skin. It has nutrients that are great for weight loss and diabetes as well!
Grind the crushed kernels and seed skin in a coffee grinder until it is a fine powder. You will notice a nice, nutty aroma. Store in an airtight container. Keep cool and dry.
Add 1 teaspoon of Tamarind Powder to your fruit smoothie, juice, yogurt, or other food to kickstart your health or weight loss journey. The powder does not actually dissolve in water, so I have found it easier to consume when it was suspended in a thicker medium like a fruit smoothie or yogurt.