The tamarind is a fruit that grows deep in the jungles of the tropical regions of India and Africa. You might not have seen one or even heard of the fruit before, but don’t be fooled by its relative obscurity—it is one of the most powerful and helpful fruits discovered to date. Though the fruit itself is grown as a somewhat off-putting, light brown pod, the flesh inside is sweet and can be candied, dried, and salted. In Asia it is common to see tamarind used in jams or jellies.
However, the tamarind is not only a delicious delicacy, it also comes with many health benefits. Tamarinds are extraordinarily high in tannins, alkaloids, saponins, and many compounds that naturally fight harmful bacteria. By eating tamarind, you can give your immune system an extra boost against common germs and infections, while still enjoying a savory fruit. Nearer to its homeland, in African and Indian medicinal traditions, the tamarind is often used for helping digestion and the heart. For centuries, it has also been used as a cure for scurvy, cough, malarial fever, and a multitude of other ailments. Scientists have recently discovered that the tamarind can also lower blood pressure levels and serum cholesterol levels, problems that plague many Americans. If only this fruit were more common, many people could be cured of their problems.
Tamarinds are also a source of antioxidants in the form of tannic acid. Antioxidants are compounds that are found in some fruits, and help the body fight off toxins and free radicals, which can lead to serious complications such as cancer. Doctors worldwide recommend that people get a good serving of antioxidants every day, and tamarind, being very high in these compounds, are one of the best ways to acquire them. But it doesn’t stop there—not only can tamarind provide cancer-fighting agents, improve bodily processes like digestion and heart activity, fight disease, and lower blood pressure levels, it is also rich in many essential vitamins and minerals, such as iron, which is essential to good blood health, and thiamin, vitamin C, vitamin A, and folic acid. These vitamins and minerals, and many more, all contribute to the health of the blood or of various organs. So tamarind can give you an extra health boost and prevent future diseases—they’re truly an amazing fruit, and since many of these discoveries are recent, you can be one of the first to embrace its health benefits.