Food Focus: Tamarind

Did You Know
Tamarind has wide uses in the traditional medicines of Asia, Africa, South America and originally Persia where it got its name meaning ‘Hindu date’.

Intensely sweet and sour in taste, the tamarind seed and its paste is a highly recommended kitchen remedy to keep all systems working well.

Traditionally used as an antimalarial and antiseptic preparation, in recent studies, tamarind has shown to be an effective antibacterial agent against microbes like salmonella and staphylococcus that can weaken the immune system. In Indian Ayurvedic Medicine it is used for gastric and digestive disorders and heart conditions, in fact the list of possible traditional remedies across cultures where the tree grows is exhaustive across all body systems. As with all bitter foods, helps stimulate gastric juices and bile flow to facilitate full digestion and so ensure nutrient absorption and removal of toxins. If eaten in larger quantities it is a traditional laxative.
• Its dark colour shows a wealth of antioxidant carotenoids to protect against the ravages of pollution and stress.
• Has natural preservative qualities when added to food.
• Can be applied to the skin to ease inflammation and gargled for a sore throat.

Practical Tip
Tamarind paste is easily available and is a useful condiment for the cupboard. It is a good replacement in cooking for yeast extracts that can exacerbate digestive problems and doesn’t contain the high salt content of soy sauce. It lifts the taste of vegetables in stir-fries and is an often unknown ingredient in popular condiments like Worcester Sauce.

KCalories 239 kcal
Total fat 0.6 g
Protein 2.8 g
Carbohydrate 62.5 g
Fibre 5.1 g
Vitamin C 3.5 mg
Potassium 628 mg
Magnesium 92 mg
Calcium 74 mg

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