The tamarind is a fruit native to tropical Africa, but grows throughout Asia, the Middle East, East Indies and Pacific Islands. Cooks use the fruit in a number of different ways, including as a seasoning for rice, fish and meat, and as chutneys, curries and sauces. For the sweet tooth, tamarind pulp is sugared and made into a sweet confection. These tamarind candies are low in calories and fat-free.
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Tamarind candy is usually made with tamarind pulp and sugar. However, some makers add ingredients for flavor, including chili powder and salt. Neither the chili powder nor salt adds calories, but the salt can effect the sodium content of the candy.
Tamarind candy is a low-calorie candy choice. One serving, five pieces or 28 g, contains just 60 calories. By comparison, five pieces of Brach's fruit chew candy contains 150 calories, and one Hershey's milk chocolate bar contains 270 calories. As a less energy dense food than the other candies, tamarind candy can help you feel full on fewer calories.
Most of the calories in the tamarind candy come from its carbohydrate content. Five candies contain 15 g of carbohydrates, 1 g of fiber and 13 g of sugar. While some of the sugar comes from the fruit, tamarind candy also contains added sugar. Foods with added sugar provide calories with very little nutritional value. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's dietary guidelines recommends you limit your intake of foods with added sugar to 5 to 15 percent of your usual calorie intake. If you follow a 2,000-calorie diet, you should limit your intake of foods with added sugar to no more than 300 calories a day.
Protein and Fat
Tamarind candies are fat-free and contain only 1 g of protein per five candy serving. Fat and protein are essential nutrients. Fat in food provides energy and helps you absorb fat-soluble vitamins. It should make up 20 to 35 percent of your calorie intake. Protein is necessary for growth, helps preserve lean muscle tissue and supports your immune system, and it should provide 10 to 35 percent of your calorie intake.
The added salt in the tamarind candy does provide some sodium, but the amount is minimal. Five candies contain 40 mg of sodium, meeting 2 percent of your daily value for sodium. Foods with less than 140 mg of sodium per serving are considered low-sodium food items.
Although the amount is small, tamarind candy can help you meet your calcium and iron needs. Five candies meet 1 percent of your daily value for iron and calcium. Iron is necessary for oxygen transport in your body, and calcium helps keep your bones healthy and strong.