The Benefits of Sweet Tamarind

fresh and cracked tamarind
Freshly cracked tamarind on counter. (Image: wissanu_phiphithaphong/iStock/Getty Images)

Tamarind is a fruit that is popular in the foods of Southeast Asia, North Africa and India. While tamarinds are typically sweet and sour in flavor, they tend to become sweeter as they ripen. Due to their sweet, robust flavor, tamarinds are common in candies, chutneys, jams, desserts, steak sauces and Worcestershire sauce. In addition to its high energy and fiber content, the tamarind is a great source of B-vitamins and a number of minerals.

Macronutrients

While the sugar content varies between different varieties and cultivars, there are approximately 68.88 grams of sugar in 1 cup of sweet tamarinds, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, National Nutrient Database. With .72 grams of fats and 3.36 grams of protein, the majority of the 287 calories in 1 cup of sweet tamarinds comes from sugar.In addition to providing a large amount of energy for short-term use, sweet tamarinds promote digestive health with 6.1 grams fiber in a 1 cup serving.

Vitamins

Tamarinds contains small amounts of a variety of vitamins, including vitamins A, C, E and K. In addition, tamarinds are a rich source of a number of B-vitamins. This includes between 34 percent of the DV for thiamine for adults and children four years of age and older, 11 percent of the DV for riboflavin and 12 percent of your DV for niacin, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As all B-vitamins are essential to the metabolism of glucose, fats and protein, tamarinds can help you to meet your fitness goals. In addition, B-vitamins help to regulate your body's production of stress hormones, potentially reducing stress and helping you to feel calm throughout the day.

Minerals

Tamarinds are a source of a number of minerals, with 1 cup of sweet tamarinds providing you with 9 percent of your DV for calcium, 14 percent of the DV for phosphorous, 22 percent of the DV for potassium and 28 percent of the DV for magnesium. These fruits are surprisingly rich in iron, providing about 19 percent of the DV, according to the FDA. Tamarinds nutritional benefits support blood flow, bone health, muscle function and development, and provide help with wound healing, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis and thyroid disorders.

Health Benefits of Tamarind

For centuries, people have found healthful uses for tamarind, including its tree bark, roots and leaves. Tamarind pulp helps alleviate inflammations, sore throats and conjunctivitis -- pink eye. Mixed with salt tamarind pulp is an effective liniment for rheumatism, according to a comprehensive report on tamarind by Purdue University. A poultice made from the leaves and flowers relieves swollen joints, sprains and boils. An ash made from tamarind fried with salt aids digestion and colic. A decoction, made by boiling tamarind to extract its chemicals, alleviates gingivitis, asthma and eye inflammations. According to Purdue University, a paste made from powdered tamarind seeds is used for drawing boils. Used with or without cumin seeds and palm sugar, powdered tamarind seeds help relieve chronic diarrhea. Culinary uses of tamarind include stews, salads and curries made with the flowers and leaves. According to Kate Monger, Concordia College Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, tamarind pulp is eaten raw and is also processed into tamarind juice concentrate.

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