Have you ever thought that tamarind seed can be consumed as a snack? Here we detail what its properties are and how to integrate them into the diet.
Last update: 24 September, 2022
tamarind seeds They have been used since ancient times due to their nutritional properties. They come from the plant with the scientific name tamarind indicates, one of the few legume species of which all its parts are used.
However, unlike the pulp, little has been disclosed about its bioactive compounds and its health benefits. Evidence indicates that they are useful for regulating cholesterol, reducing blood glucose levels and combating constipation. Do you know other uses of this healthy snack?
What are tamarind seeds?
The tamarind tree is considered native to India and belongs to the family Fabaceae, that is, legumes. The most used part in gastronomy is the fruit, which is inside a shell known as a pod. Its brown flesh has a sweet and sour taste and covers several seeds.
The latter represent 33% of the entire fruit. They have a very hard cover that covers the white endosperm, which is the soft and edible part. They are considered a by-product with various health benefits. They are a source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and proteins.
Composition of tamarind seeds
Tamarind seeds contain a mixture of nutrients and bioactive compounds that make them healthy in the diet. Let’s see what its main components are.
They contain a type of carbohydrate called “pectins”. It is a form of soluble fiber that when mixed with water acts as a thickener and forms a gel-like substance.
protein and fiber
El-Siddig and other experts reveal that tamarind seeds contain 23 grams of protein per 100 grams. Thus, when consumed as snack They help cover the daily requirements of this macronutrient in adults.
On the other hand, fiber is 20%, concentrating mainly on the seed coat. These high values contribute to maintaining gastrointestinal health.
Amino acid profile
The proteins in these seeds contain a good balance of amino acids. Professor El-Siddig refers that of the 8 essential amino acids, 3 of them cover more than 100% of the requirements.
However, another 4 are very close to what is required. Only tryptophan, like other seeds, covers only 25%.
The fat value ranges between 3 and 11%. More than half is of the polyunsaturated type. Within them, linoleic fatty acid —which is essential for nutrition— predominates. Plus, when balanced with omega-3s, they benefit cardiovascular health.
Ajayi and Joseph, who have studied tamarind seeds, consider them to be a good source of various mineral elements. Among them potassium and copper, which are the ones found in the highest concentration.
Calcium also stands out, whose values are as high as in cereals. Other important minerals in these seeds are magnesium, phosphorous and zinc.
Tamarind seeds have high values of phenolic compounds that demonstrate high antioxidant activity, such as epicatechin and dihydroxyacetophenone.
In fact, your excerpt exhibits a strong ability to reduce lipid peroxidation in vitro. These phenols protect linoleic fatty acid. In turn, they demonstrate greater antioxidant activity when compared to vitamin C and other synthetic additives.
Dr. Siddhuraju explains that the presence of these antioxidants benefits health, as they are capable of preventing oxidative damage at the cellular level. Phenols fight free radicals, which are associated with certain disorders such as atherosclerosis and premature aging. They could even prevent cancer.
It is not surprising that tamarind seeds contain high proportions of so-called anti-nutritional factors (ANF), present in other legumes and in cereals.
Among these are tannins, which give the seed its astringent and bitter characteristicby eating it raw. These are more concentrated in the brown covering, but the edible part still contains them. Therefore, it is recommended to boil or roast them to remove part of the tannins.
Another antinutritional factor is phytic acid, which can trap some minerals and prevent their absorption. Fortunately, it is removed by soaking and cooking. Lectin and trypsin inhibitor are HABs recognized because they bind to proteinsincluding those involved in digestion.
Benefits of tamarind seeds
The presence of bioactive compounds and nutrients give it its characteristic as a beneficial food ingredient for health. Next, we detail its possible effects.
Helps regulate metabolic processes
Research suggests that tamarind seeds can regulate certain metabolic processes in experimental animals. The test resulted in a decrease in cholesterol and blood sugar, when tamarind seeds were given to a group of rats for 1 month.
Despite these findings, more studies are required to verify the effect in humans.
A study in India revealed that this ingredient has antiviral properties. In particular, it was observed that the antinutritional factor lectin causes the virus to lose 64% effectiveness. In addition, it reduces the levels of viral RNA in cells by 45%.
On the other hand, another study has recognized the antiviral potential of these seeds in the treatment of Covid-19 in obese patients. According to the authors, it has been found that Tamarind trypsin inhibitor can reduce certain inflammatory markers. Likewise, it manages to cancel the activity of neutrophils, characteristic of the lung injury promoted by the virus.
Helps with digestive health
The presence of soluble fiber in tamarind seeds favors the digestive process, improves constipation and prevents the formation of flatulence characteristic of other legumes. This nutrient also manages to reduce cholesterol and makes the sugar in food be absorbed more slowly.
Can be used as a protein supplement
The high protein values in these seeds They can be used as a supplement to food. A good way to do this is to use them as snack mid-morning or mid-afternoon.
How to prepare tamarind seeds?
You may be wondering how to prepare tamarind seeds if they have such a hard cover to eat them as snack. Don’t worry! Here we explain it to you.
1. As roasted seeds
In a frying pan, place the tamarind seeds and cook them over medium heat. Stir constantly, between 8 and 10 minutes. Then, remove from heat and let rest. Then, remove the skin and consume them.
Another option is to boil them to make them a little softer. They can substitute as snack to nuts, with the advantage of containing fewer calories.
2. In the form of flour
Once you remove the cover, you can take them to the oven to dry them at about 120 degrees centigrade. You must be aware of removing them so that they do not burn.
After about 45 minutes, remove them, let them cool and take them to the food processor to prepare the flour. If when you take them out of the oven you still notice that they are wet, then dry them again.
Tamarind flour can be added to wheat, corn or any other flour to provide more protein and minerals. You should know that this flour is ideal for those who suffer from intolerance or sensitivity to gluten, since it does not contain it.
How much should you eat?
The high fiber and protein content of these seeds promote satiety. One ounce will provide 7 grams of protein, sources of essential amino acids. In addition, about 6 grams of soluble fiber will accompany you, which will help you be healthy. You can double this intake by consuming 2 snacks up to date.
In short, this food is an excellent snack. From now on you can integrate it into your diet. However, if you suffer from any chronic pathology, do not forget to consult a nutrition professional to establish the appropriate amounts.
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About The Author
Catherine A. Johnson