Is Tamarind Good for Diabetes? Is it a Safe Choice?

Alpa Momaya

January 6, 2023

Tamarind (Tamarindus indica), also known as Imli, is a tropical fruit found in Mexican, Asian, Caribbean, and Middle Eastern cuisine. Tamarind is a pretty versatile ingredient  and can be used to make sauces, soups, jams, pickles, sweets, desserts, and dips.

But in addition to serving as a flavouring ingredient, it also aids in treating numerous medical conditions. Due to its nutritional qualities, tamarind gets frequently used as a natural remedy.

Tamarind boosts heart health, lowers cholesterol, and is full of antioxidants. But does tamarind help with diabetes? What advantages does sweet tamarind have for people with diabetes?

How much tamarind is beneficial to you? You may find all the solutions in this article.

The Healthy Connection Between Tamarind and Diabetes

Vitamins and antioxidants included in tamarind can lower the chance of developing chronic diseases. These antioxidants clear the body of internal and external toxins like free radicals and activate crucial digestive enzymes. Also, it reduces oxidative stress.

As a result, it can protect against cancer, cardiovascular diseases, neurological problems, and hyperglycemia. It derives all its goodness from vitamin C, beta-carotene, and polyphenols.

Tamarind pulp is rich in minerals, like magnesium, that improve insulin sensitivity. As a result, it is suitable for controlling blood sugar levels. In addition, potassium and polyphenolic substances like flavonoids, found in tamarind pulp, help to reduce inflammation and enhance cardiovascular health. 

What Does Research Say?

Tamarind has a low glycemic index of 23, which indicates that it does not cause blood sugar levels to shoot up. It is vital to those living with diabetes. Research proves tamarind comprises antidiabetic effects.

Tamarind’s medicinal uses play a role in more than 600 body functions. Studies indicate it has antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. The tamarind’s antibacterial properties get linked to a compound called lupeol. 

Investigations show traditional medicine has made extensive use of tamarind. It was frequently used as a beverage to treat fever, malaria, diarrhoea, and constipation. Tamarind is also significantly high in magnesium. Research suggests magnesium improves fasting and postprandial glucose levels and insulin sensitivity. 

You can eat tamarind at any time of the day. Because of its high magnesium concentration, tamarind may aid in improving sleep. Tamarind juice is most beneficial when consumed just before bed. You can consume 10 grams of tamarind daily.

Is Sweet Tamarind Good for Diabetes?

Sweet tamarind is also known as Meethi Imli in Hindi. Its flavour is distinctive since it can be used in numerous Indian recipes as a spice or tangy-sugary condiment, especially in the form of chutney. Also, you find them in mouthwatering chaat foods. 

Sweet tamarind’s glycemic index (GI) is less than 55; therefore, it is an ideal fruit for consumption by people with diabetes. One can consume them in moderation even though they contain natural sugars.

It is because they are less harmful to the body than processed ones. Nutritionists claim that sweet tamarind positively affects blood sugar levels and can even prevent sharp increases.

The HealthifyMe Note

Tamarind contains nutrients that can reduce the risk of acquiring chronic diseases. Tamarind pulp is rich in minerals, such as magnesium, which enhances insulin sensitivity and is beneficial for blood sugar regulation. Moreover, although sweet tamarind gets packed with natural sugars, you can consume it in moderation.

Possible Side Effects of Tamarind

Hypoglycemia in Diabetics

According to data, tamarind (Tamarindus indica) shows hypoglycemic activity. Also, tamarind can effectively regulate blood sugar levels. But excessive intake could result in hypoglycemia, a rapid drop in glucose levels.

As a result, if you have diabetes, be sure to watch your blood sugar levels. You should also see your doctor before using tamarind-based supplements with your diabetes medications. It will assist in avoiding problems.

Affects the Tooth Enamel

The acidic components of tamarind may eventually cause enamel damage.

As a result, your teeth get damaged. Unfortunately, overeating tamarind might harm your teeth’s enamel. In addition, tooth sensitivity results from the nerves becoming exposed in this way. 

Tamarind Seeds Side Effects

Consuming large quantities of tamarind seeds has been associated with oral submucous fibrosis, resulting in an abnormal collagen buildup and restricting mouth opening.

Tamarind seeds have beneficial nutritional properties but also include anti-nutritional substances, particularly in the seed coat. Therefore, remove the seed coat and roast the seed well before consuming. However, the side effects of tamarind are very uncommon.

Allergic Reactions

One of the worst tamarind adverse effects is allergy. Some symptoms include nausea, vomiting, rashes, swelling, and itching. As a result, you should consult your doctor and discontinue eating tamarind if you feel discomfort after consuming it.

The HealthifyMe Note

Tamarind, or Imli, contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. As a result, it works well for various diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and digestive problems. However, anything in excess can be harmful. As a result, you should consume tamarind in moderation. The amount, however, is determined by your age, general health, medical background, and other factors. Therefore, before modifying your regular diet, speak with a nutritionist.


Like everything else, you must eat tamarind in moderation. It is a low glycemic index (GI) food that is tasty and tangy. Apart from being sinfully delicious, it is an ideal fruit for consumption by people with diabetes.

Even though they contain natural sugars, a small amount of tamarind can do wonders for your health. In addition, sweet tamarind positively affects blood sugar levels and can even prevent sharp increases.

The HealthifyMe app is a comprehensive platform for tracking fitness and health. It combines cutting-edge technology to give users the tools to monitor and alter their food and water intake and exercise.

In addition, this tool can measure your blood glucose levels. You can observe how your blood glucose levels change throughout the day as soon as you use the CGM (A continuous glucose monitor). 

Maintaining healthy and normal blood sugar levels is key to preventing long-term, serious health problems like heart disease, vision loss, and renal disease. Therefore, next time you are tempted to eat some more chaat, pickle, or whole sweet tamarind, check your blood glucose levels using HealthifyPro 2.0

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Does tamarind raise blood sugar?

A. Sweet tamarind is a fruit that people with diabetes can consume because its glycemic index is less than 55. However, remember that blood sugar levels could go too low if tamarind is taken together with diabetes medicines.

Q. What happens if you eat too much sweet tamarind?

A. There is no denying that nothing in excess is beneficial. However, tamarind has a more sour flavour that might harm teeth if consumed in large quantities. 

Q. What happens if we take tamarind daily?

A. The recommended daily intake of tamarind is 10 g. Tamarind is incredibly beneficial to your health, protecting your liver and heart from diseases and increasing your immunity. Tamarinds are fat-free and high in fibre. Since tamarind includes flavonoids and polyphenols, regularly consuming it may aid in weight loss.

Q. Can tamarind treat diabetes?

A. Tamarind helps control blood sugar levels and shield against the effects of diabetes. However, tamarind consumption, along with diabetes medications, may result in dangerously low blood sugar levels. As a result, maintain a close eye on your blood sugar.

The Supporting Sources

1. Arshad MS, Imran M, Ahmed A, Sohaib M, Ullah A, Nisa MU, Hina G, Khalid W, Rehana H. Tamarind: A diet-based strategy against lifestyle maladies. Food Sci Nutr. 2019 Sep 27;7(11):3378-3390. doi: 10.1002/fsn3.1218. PMID: 31762991; PMCID: PMC6848808.


2. Zohrameena, Shaikh & Mujahid, Mohd & Bagga, Paramdeep & Khalid, Maad & Hasan, Noorul & Ahmad, Nesar & Saba, P.. (2017). Medicinal uses & pharmacological activity of Tamarindus indica. World Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 5. 121-133. 


3. Bhadoriya SS, Ganeshpurkar A, Narwaria J, Rai G, Jain AP. Tamarindus indica: Extent of explored potential. Pharmacogn Rev. 2011 Jan;5(9):73-81. doi: 10.4103/0973-7847.79102. PMID: 22096321; PMCID: PMC3210002.


4. Barbagallo M, Dominguez LJ. Magnesium and type 2 diabetes. World J Diabetes. 2015 Aug 25;6(10):1152-7. doi: 10.4239/wjd.v6.i10.1152. PMID: 26322160; PMCID: PMC4549665.


5. Krishna RN, Anitha R, Ezhilarasan D. Aqueous extract of Tamarindus indica fruit pulp exhibits antihyperglycaemic activity. Avicenna J Phytomed. 2020 Sep-Oct;10(5):440-447. PMID: 32995322; PMCID: PMC7508317.


About the Author

As the holder of a Post Graduate Diploma in Dietetics from the University of Mumbai, Alpa Momaya has always understood the value of good nutrition in an individual's life. She is a Registered Nutritional Practitioner (Canada) with over 15 years of experience in the field. Specializing in Clinical Nutrition, Pre & Post Natal Diets, and Weight Management, Alpa found her calling as a Sr. Nutritionist with HealthifyMe. Alpa's love for cooking and good nutrition has seen her contribute several recipes to the HealthifyMe database over the years. Additionally, she takes a keen interest in reading and painting.

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