Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) is a tree that grows in tropical climates. Although it originated from Africa, it is now found in other tropical regions across the world such as Mexico and South Asia.
The tree is leguminous and belongs to the Fabaceae family.
It produces a pod-like fruit called indehiscent legume. This means that it does not open on its own when it gets mature, instead it remains closed.
Inside these pods are some large seeds with a sticky and tart pulp. Its combined sweet and sour flavor is liked by many.
Today, tamarind is one of the most common ingredients in Indian cooking.
This is not only because it can turn dishes into something more special, but it comes with nutritional and healing benefits, too. However, apart from all the benefits, tamarind also comes with a few side effects.
Common Tamarind Side Effects
Hypersensitivity or allergy is among the most common tamarind side effects.
There are many people who tend to be sensitive to the ingredients the fruit contains and may end up having various symptoms such as itching, scratches, vomiting, fainting, lightheadedness, stinging sensation, shortness of breath, and inflammation by consuming tamarind.
Tamarind is an acidic element in food and when it is eaten, the acid level goes up to the gastrointestinal tract, especially in the stomach.
For people who are suffering from various digestive issues like acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GODR), it is a must to stay away from the fruit. Otherwise, an acute acidity will likely develop.
Tamarind may lower the blood sugar levels. There has been a concern that it might interfere with the body’s blood sugar control. If one has diabetes and uses the fruit, it’s important to closely monitor the blood sugar levels. Adjustments with diabetes medicine dosage might be needed as well.
Regular consumption of tamarind, especially in large quantities can cause a fall in the serum glucose level, which results in hypoglycemia.
Nutritionists claim that an adequate intake of tamarind (10 g) daily is the recommended level for the fruit and this is only 0.8% of the total regular dietary intake.Diabetics who are taking medication to lower their blood sugar level need to be careful when eating tamarind fruit.
Damages the Tooth Enamel
Given that tamarind is acidic in its nature, the chance that it will take a toll on the teeth with regular consumption is high.
When eating the fruit in excessive amounts, the tooth enamel is likely to get corroded by the acid component. It’s important to bear in mind that too much consumption of the fruit can be extremely bad for the teeth and health in general.
When taking any vasoconstrictor, whether it’s a supplement, a synthetic drug, or an herb, one should strictly stay away from tamarind.
This is because tamarind can add to the vasoconstricting effects. It accelerates the process of narrowing the blood vessels, which results in slow blood flow and worse, total blockage of blood vessels.
The formation of gallstones is among the most serious side effects of tamarind. Indian scientists conducted an observational study, which showed that frequent ingestion of tamarind in large amounts promotes the formation of gallstones.
It also leads to numerous health problems like nausea, jaundice, liver problems, acute fever, digestive issues, abdominal cramping, vomiting, etc.
Tamarind can heighten the risk of bleeding, which can be extremely dangerous when taken with some medications such as aspirin, anticoagulants or blood thinners (warfarin, heparin), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (naproxen, ibuprofen), and anti-platelet drug (clopidogrel).
When taking tamarind along with these medications, the rate of body absorption goes up. As a result, the effects or actions of these drugs will be amplified, which may eventually lead to excessive bleeding.
Tamarind is a healthy fruit and necessary for the body. It is rich in vitamins B, C and has carotene. It also contains antioxidants and minerals like potassium and magnesium and a good source of iron, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamine.
It is good to enjoy the fruit, especially when it is added on dishes to make them more delicious or as a base for sauces, stews, and marinades. It can even be made into great desserts and refreshing beverage.
However, with all these benefits, it’s important to be aware of some of the side effects that come with tamarind. Minimize these side effects by limiting your daily intake of tamarind. Make sure that it does not exceed the required amount to spare oneself from the above side effects.