The Benefits of Tamarind

by Chef Parul Desai

About Chef Parul Desai

Chef Parul Desai began writing professionally in 2011. She maintains a healthy cooking blog and has taught cooking classes, worked in restaurants, created educational materials and written recipes. Desai received her Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Virginia Tech and completed her internship with ARAMARK. Later, she went to the Institute of Culinary Education to become a certified chef.


Tamarind grows in in countries with tropical climates such as Africa, India and Thailand. Inside its brittle shell, it has a fibrous, sticky, brown pulp and large seeds in the middle. Tamarind has a sweet and sour complex flavor and is often used for sauces, chutneys and juices. Rich in vitamins and minerals, it offers nutritional value in your diet.

Nutrient Content

Similar to most fruits, tamarind’s calories are derived mostly from carbohydrates. Each half-cup portion contains 140 calories, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, no fat and 2 grams of protein. Tamarind is also a good source of iron and vitamin C. Tamarind, unlike many fruits, is rich in B vitamins such as thiamin and niacin, and also is a good source of magnesium and potassium.


In parts of the world where medicine isn’t always readily available, treatment of ailments is discovered based on what is around them. Among other medicinal plants, tamarind has been shown to be very effective in treating digestive disorders. An article in the "Journal of Human Ecology" mentions tamarind as a natural remedy that can help against diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, stomach pain and even food poisoning.

Alternative Medicine

According to a study in the "Malaysian Journal of Nutrition," tamarind is effective in treating fevers, sunstroke and has been seen restoring some sensation in cases of paralysis. It can also be used to treat sore throats as a gargle, and can be used to treat wounds as a dressing. Tamarind has also been known to have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties as well as to have the ability to enhance the effectiveness of ibuprofen. Consuming tamarind while drinking alcohol can lessen the alcohol's effects, according to the study.


Tamarind also comes packed with a range of antioxidants. Phenols -- one class of antioxidants -- found in tamarind are beneficial for cardiovascular health. According to Healthy Eating for Your Heart, phenols particularly help protect free radicals from oxidizing low-density lipoproteins and causing more of them to adhere to arterial walls. The study in the "Malaysian Journal of Nutrition" noted that phenol content of tamarind was most concentrated when heated to boiling point, so eat your tamarind cooked for optimal benefits.

Photo Credits:

  • süßer tamarind image by Lucky Dragon from

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or