Thursday, July 9, 2009

FastGirls Feature Food: Tamarind

(Photo: How to Peel a Tamarind Pod)

Recently I have fallen head over heels for Tamarind. Not only does the salty/sweet taste thrill me every time I pull one of the pulpy seeds into my mouth but the calming effect that it had on my digestive system sent me delving a little deeper into the possible nutritional/health benefits of this quirky looking little fruit. There was plenty to recommend it.

Among the many nutritional values and health benefits of tamarind, quite a few of these benefits stand out, namely that:

- Tamarind is a good source of antioxidants that fight against cancer. Tamarind contains carotenes, vitamin C, flavanoids and the B-vitamins

- Tamarind protects against vitamin C deficiency

- Tamarind reduces fevers and provides protection against colds

- Tamarind helps the body digest food

- Tamarind is used to treat bile disorders

- Tamarind is a mild laxative

- Tamarind lowers cholesterol

- Tamarind promotes a healthy heart

- Tamarind can be gargled to ease soar throat

- Tamarind applied to the skin to heal inflammation

Tamarindus is monotypic (having only a single species). It is a tropical tree, native to tropical Africa, including Sudan and parts of the Madagascar dry deciduous forests. It was introduced into India so long ago that it has often been reported as indigenous there, and it was apparently from India that it reached the Persians and the Arabs who called it "tamar hindi" (Indian date, from the date-like appearance of the dried pulp), giving rise to both its common and generic names. The fruit was also well known to the ancient Egyptians and to the Greeks in the 4th Century B.C.E.

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