Imli, also known as tamarind, is a tropical fruit used in Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Mexican cuisines. The tangy taste of distinct south Indian curries comes to mind when you think of tamarind. After all, it serves as a flavouring and a souring agent. You can also incorporate tamarind in dips, candies, desserts, jams, pickles, sauces, and soups. However, besides acting as a flavouring agent, it also helps weight loss and treats many health disorders.
Apart from its culinary use, tamarind has multiple health benefits. People widely use tamarind as a natural remedy due to its nutrient value. It is rich in hydroxy citric acid, a potential compound stimulating weight loss. Additionally, eating tamarind can reduce inflammation, strengthen your bones, lower blood sugar levels, and prevent bone diseases. Thus, tamarind is often considered a superfood.
Nutrient Profile of Tamarind or Imli
Imli has an impressive nutrient profile that offers various health and medicinal benefits.
Nutrients in 100 grams of Imli include:
- Calories: 239Kcal
- Carbohydrate: 62 grams
- Dietary Fibre: 5.1 grams
- Protein: 2.8grams
- Potassium: 628 milligrams
- Phosphorus: 113 milligrams
- Magnesium: 92 milligrams
Imli for Weight Loss: How Does it Work?
Losing weight is not always an easy task. From healthy detox drinks to curries, you can use tamarind in different ways to help you in your weight loss journey effectively. However, a single food or ingredient cannot suffice. Hence, you should practice a disciplined exercise routine and balanced diet to shed those extra pounds. At the same time, adding tamarind to your daily food plans can also help.
A randomised trial study shows that dietary fibre intake promotes weight loss. Thus, tamarind’s ample fibre is the perfect boost for losing weight. The role of fibrous foods in weight loss is no secret. Fibre keeps you satiated for long and prevents you from bingeing on unhealthy foods between meals. In addition, it improves your digestion to boost weight loss further. As a result, you eat fewer calories, preventing extra weight gain.
The most significant substance in tamarind that helps lose weight is hydroxy citric acid or HCA. Hydroxycitric acid might improve weight loss by preventing fat storage and improve exercise performance by limiting the use of stored energy in the muscles, which seems to prevent fatigue. The evidence from an analytical study shows that hydroxy citric acid in Garcinia or Malabar tamarind extract acts as a weight reduction agent. It reduces your appetite by inhibiting amylase, an enzyme that converts carbohydrates to fat. However, the results also show that the magnitude of weight loss from eating tamarind is small and works for the short term only.
Besides that, tamarind contains phytochemical agents like flavonoids and polyphenols. These agents have a significant ability to accelerate fat burning and appetite reduction. Moreover, the Journal of Obesity says that people who consume imli lost 0.90 kg or 2 pounds compared to others.
Weight Loss by Reducing Stress Hormones
It is no surprise that stress is one of the most significant reasons for unhealthy weight gain. The hormone responsible for the same is cortisol, known as the stress hormone. As per studies, elevated cortisol levels in the body can result in weight gain, blood pressure and heart disease risk. Imli helps regulate cortisol in the body and helps reduce stress. As a result, it indirectly helps lose weight.
Reduces Visceral Fat
As per a trial study, Imli reduced abdominal fat accumulation in subjects, regardless of sex, who had the visceral fat accumulation type of obesity. Furthermore, researchers did not observe any rebound effect in the subjects. Hence, several researchers believe that Malabar tamarind can help prevent and reduce visceral fat accumulation.
However, when using tamarind for weight loss, refrain from consuming them in excess. Doctors recommend consuming 10 grams of Imli three times a day. Nonetheless, consult your doctor before taking it in any quantity. At the same time, you should also note that no single food or dietary habit can suffice in your weight loss journey. A healthy weight loss journey combines several factors like food modification, exercise, lifestyle modification etc.
Other Health Benefits of Imli
Besides weight loss, tamarind also offers several health benefits. Because of these additional benefits, people consider tamarind a wonder fruit. Its prevalent use in Ayurveda and traditional medicine is evidence of the fruit’s tremendous benefits.
Imli is an integral aspect of Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurvedic practitioners prescribe them for multiple digestive disorders such as constipation, diarrhoea, stomach pain, ulcers, etc. It is also beneficial for inflammation, parasitic infections, wound healing and likewise. Moreover, it also has antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Read on to explore how Imli imparts health benefits to you.
Imli is rich in vitamin C and offers beneficial antioxidant properties. These antioxidants neutralise free radical cell injury and suppress various diseases. Moreover, vitamin C helps to increase the synthesis of white blood cells. The white blood cells, or WBCs, are the defence cells of your body as they combat foreign bodies or infectious microbes. Furthermore, vitamin C in tamarind restricts the growth of microbial infections.
Inflammatory disorders in your body are responsible for bone pain, swelling, and osteoarthritis. A study states that tamarind has anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, it helps relieve pain associated with joint pain, arthritis, and gout. For the same reason, tamarind extract is an effective ingredient in several anti-inflammatory creams.
Control Blood Sugar Levels
Tamarind has a low glycemic index, which does not spike your blood sugar levels. Studies prove that Imli seeds extract helps to regulate blood sugar levels. It also helps reverse pancreatic disorders in diabetic patients. Thus, it increases the insulin sensitivity for cells to absorb glucose. As a result, tamarind reduces the sugar levels in your blood. However, if you have diabetes, it is best to consult your healthcare professional before adding it to your diet.
According to research, tamarind helps with digestion and improves gut health. It stimulates the synthesis of digestive juices, which accelerates digestion. Eating tamarind imparts potential prebiotic functions to your digestive system, thus enriching the gut microbiome. Moreover, the dietary fibre present in tamarind binds the toxins and eliminates them from the body.
The tangy fruit tamarind is a natural laxative. It contains tartaric, malic acid and potassium, which help prevent constipation. Moreover, the tamarind leaf extract has the potential to regulate intestinal muscles. As a result, it prevents the symptoms of diarrhoea. Furthermore, Imli’s root and bark extracts have analgesic or pain-relieving properties that help to ease abdominal pain.
Good for the Heart
Tamarind is a heart-healthy fruit. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties help keep your heart healthy. For example, research suggests that flavonoids, an antioxidant in tamarind, help reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol. It also reduces diastolic pressure at a 5% significance level. As a result, it prevents the accumulation of fat deposits along the blood vessels. Fat deposits constrict blood vessels and interrupt blood circulation, exerting a load on the blood vessels and heart, leading to increased blood pressure and a high risk of heart disorders.
Tamarind also contains potassium. Potassium deficiency results in an irregular heartbeat. However, the high potassium content in tamarind helps regulate heartbeat and control blood pressure.
Promotes Hair Growth
Tamarind is a good source of vitamins A, B and C. They are excellent ingredients to promote hair health. B vitamins are crucial for hair growth. Moreover, retinol or vitamin A is another component of hair health. It enhances the secretion of sebum. Sebum prevents dryness in hair. Thus, it prevents hair breakage. Additionally, phosphorus and magnesium also strengthen the hair follicles.
Helps to Cure Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
Microbes are one of the most significant causes of urinary tract infections. According to a study, tamarind pulp has antimicrobial properties. It helps prevent and restrict the growth of bacteria, viruses and other microbes. Moreover, antioxidants also help prevent infections.
Imli for Weight Loss and Other Benefits: Healthy Recipes
Tamarind is a staple ingredient in many cuisines across the world. However, it is most prevalent in South-East Asia. People use it in dips, soups etc. The tamarind pulp adds a sour taste to the hot and sour soups. In addition, it is also a known ingredient in marinades. The tamarind juice with dates, honey, and cardamom, is a refreshing drink.
People also use the tamarind pulp as a solidifying agent in candies. Therefore, Imli candies, chutney, and drinks are tangy and flavorful. Furthermore, people use it widely as a condiment. That makes it a versatile fruit. However, to attain all the benefits of tamarind, here are some simple and easy recipes to include Imli in your regular food plans.
Drink it at least 30-60 minutes before every meal to see a difference in weight. One thing to note is that it should be taken before your meal and not after.
- Serves: 4
- Calories: 102 per serving
- Preparation time: 15 minutes
- Tamarind: ¼ cup
- Cumin powder: ½ tsp
- Cardamom powder: ¼ tsp
- Honey/coconut jaggery: 2 tbsp
- Rock Salt: ½ tsp
- Crushed black pepper: ½ tsp
Method of Preparation
- Mix the tamarind in ¾ cup of water and leave it aside for 10 minutes.
- Squeeze the pulp out and strain them. Mix the pulp with 1 cup of water and other ingredients
- Blend well until smooth and transfer to a jug.
- Add another 3 cups of water and mix well.
- Your refreshing drink is ready to serve
Tamarind rice is a simple, healthy, and nutritious meal which is slightly sweet, spicy, and sour. You will require pre-cooked rice to prepare the dish.
- Serves: 2
- Calories: 168
- 1 cup measurement: 250 ml
- Preparation Time: 10 minutes
- Pre-cooked Brown Rice: 2 Cups
- Tamarind pulp: ½ cup
- Asafetida: ¼ tsp
- Dried red chillies: 3 whole
- Grated ginger: ½ tsp
- Grated garlic: ½ tsp
- Curry leaves: 1 sprig
- Olive oil: 1 tsp
- Red chilli powder: ¼ tsp
- Peanuts: 1 tbsp
- Turmeric powder: ¼ tsp
- Organic Jaggery- ¼ tsp
Method of Preparation
- Add olive oil, ginger and garlic to a heated pan. Sauté for 2 minutes
- Add peanuts and saute for another minute. Then add curry leaf, dried red chillies, salt and asafetida. Saute well before adding jaggery powder and tamarind pulp.
- Cook until the gravy thickens, and then add the pre-cooked rice
- Mix well and cook covered for another minute
- Serve hot.
Possible Side Effects of Imli
Imli or tamarind is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and much more. Therefore, it is effective for various disorders such as digestive disorders, heart diseases etc. However, anything in excess can be harmful. Hence, you should limit the consumption of tamarind and have it in moderation. However, the dose depends on your age, overall health, medical history and likewise. Therefore, check with your doctor and diet expert before making any changes to your regular diet. Here are some side effects that may occur from excessive tamarind consumption.
Hypoglycemia in Diabetics
Tamarind is effective in controlling blood glucose levels. However, regular use may reduce glucose levels abruptly, causing hypoglycemia. Therefore, if you have diabetes, ensure to monitor your sugar levels. Moreover, you should alter the medicine dosage accordingly. Additionally, talk with your doctor before taking any tamarind-based supplement with your diabetes medications. It will help avoid complications.
Candies have a high amount of lead in them. Hence, Adulterated tamarind candies can be harmful to children. They can cause lead poisoning, which can be fatal. In addition, it affects the kidneys and nervous system functions significantly. Therefore, it is risky, especially for children and pregnant women. It can also result in retarded growth in the foetus.
Affects the Tooth Enamel
The tamarind has acidic contents, which may damage the enamel over time. Therefore if you eat tamarind excessively, the enamel of your teeth gets damaged. Thus, the nerves get exposed, resulting in sensitivity. Thus, it harms your teeth.
Allergy is one of the worst side effects of tamarind. Some of you can be allergic or sensitive to it. Itching, rashes, swelling, nausea and vomiting are a few symptoms. Therefore, if you notice any uneasiness after eating tamarind, you should inform your doctor and stop eating them.
Tamarind or Imli is a staple ingredient in various cuisines across the world. People use it in candies, sauces, soups etc. Furthermore, it is high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients offer multiple health benefits. Tamarind is ideal for preventing and curing digestive disorders, heart diseases, and blood sugar levels. Moreover, it is a natural laxative and improves digestive health. Furthermore, it helps regulate blood pressure and cholesterol.
Tamarind has a remarkable role in weight loss. It is rich in dense fibres, antioxidants, and hydroxy citric acid that help control body weight. However, along with its benefits, this superfood has adverse effects. Some people are sensitive or allergic to tamarind, which can cause adverse reactions. Excess use of tamarind can also result in complications. As with any natural remedy, potential drug interactions are a concern. Finally, losing weight with only tamarind consumption is quite tricky. But with the right kind of diet and regular exercise, you can lose weight, and the tangy fruit can boost your weight loss journey.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is it good to eat tamarind every day?
A. Several nutritionists and health care professionals suggest that it is safe to consume 10 grams of tamarind per day. Eating them daily supplies an abundance of nutrients like thiamin, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. However, you should refrain from eating them in excess as it can lead to side effects. In addition, if you have any medical condition, it is best to consult your healthcare professional before adding it to your food plan.
Q. Does tamarind make you poop?
A. Tamarind has been considered a natural laxative to help digestion. The dietary fibre in it makes your stool smooth and bulkier. You can consider eating tamarind for diarrhoea as it bulks up the stool. Furthermore, the high fibre content in tamarind helps improve digestion.
Q. What are the benefits of eating tamarind?
A. Tamarind has multiple health benefits. One of the most significant benefits that you can reap from tamarind is its weight loss properties. The fibre and hydroxy citric acid in tamarind help lose weight. Tamarind also offers other benefits. For example, it is an immunity booster and helps regulate blood glucose levels. Moreover, it has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, which help in reducing inflammatory pain and preventing microbial infections.
Q. Is tamarind good for hair?
A. Yes, tamarind is an effective remedy to repair damaged hair and boost hair growth. It contains few excellent nutrients which work for healthy hair. Moreover, applying tamarind pulp juice to your hair stimulates sebum production, beneficial to those suffering from dry hair. It keeps the hair strong and reduces hair fall.
Q. Is tamarind good for the immune system?
A. Yes, tamarind strengthens your immunity. It is rich in antioxidants that prevent various diseases. Moreover, vitamin C promotes WBC synthesis. White Blood cells are immunity-boosting cells. In addition, due to its antiseptic property, eating tamarind gets rid of germs in the body.
Q. Can tamarind burn belly fat?
A. Tamarind does not explicitly act on the belly fat region. However, the hydroxy citric acid in tamarind helps burn fat and lose weight. Therefore, an overall reduction in body fat will also reflect on the belly. However, you have to exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet to burn belly fat.
Q. Is tamarind good for urine infections?
A. Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, tamarind can protect you from urinary tract infections. Drinking tamarind juice prevents the growth of pathogenic bacteria in the urinary bladder. In addition, the leaves and barks of the tamarind tree are particularly effective against E.coli, which causes intestinal and urinary tract infections.
Q. Can tamarind lower BP?
A. Tamarind drink is effective in regulating blood pressure. It helps reduce bad cholesterol. It helps in the smooth circulation of blood, which helps lower blood pressure. Furthermore, the rich potassium content of tamarind maintains a healthy blood pressure range.
Q. Is tamarind anti-inflammatory?
A. Yes, tamarind has anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of polyphenols. As a result, it helps prevent inflammatory diseases like arthritis, gout and joint pain. Moreover, it also reduces bone pain and joint swelling.
Q. Is tamarind good for diabetes?
A. Yes, tamarind helps regulate blood sugar levels. It has a low glycemic index. Moreover, it improves insulin sensitivity and increases glucose absorption. However, people with diabetes should not overeat tamarind as it can drastically drop blood sugar levels.