There are fruits which are extremely beneficial when included in your daily diet but could be as harmful as you can imagine when you include it in your pregnancy diet. Does this tangy tasting tamarind belong to such category? Pregnant women commonly crave tangy foods. But is tamarind safe during pregnancy? What are tamarind benefits and tamarind side effects during pregnancy? Here are the details you need to know about consuming tamarind during pregnancy period.
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What Is Tamarind?
Tamarind (Scientifically known as Tamarindus indica)is a leguminous tree. It belongs to the family Fabaceae. The tree of this fruit produces pod-like fleshy tamarinds which are used in different types of cuisines and medicinal purposes. The tangy and sour taste of tamarind is an excellent antidote to nausea or morning sickness. The taste could also tantalize your taste buds. Tamarind is also used as a metal polish.
Because of tamarind’s popularity due to its various uses, it is cultivated around the tropical and subtropical zones.
Tamarind seeds could be consumed as a pulse as they contain Starch (63%), Protein (16%), and fat (5.5%). But tamarind is known for its pod pulp. The pulp is commercially available in the market as tamarind paste. The pulp is rich in vitamin C and the main acid in tamarind is Tartaric acid. The other acid in tamarind is malic and citric acid. The pulp also contains sugars. That is the reason why the pod-pulp has sweet-sour taste.
Tamarind During Pregnancy - Is It A Good Match?
The answer to “Is Tamarind safe during pregnancy” is definitely YES! But “Too much is too bad” applies to almost all kind of foods during pregnancy and tamarind is certainly one among those foods. To incorporate the tamarind benefits, it is best to consume it in moderation.
Consuming tamarind during pregnancy could supply your body with the necessary nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Calcium. It could also provide proteins, fiber and healthy sugar in your body and your baby needs. The diverse uses of tamarind in pregnancy are - laxation, treating gestational diabetes, diarrhoea, etc. The tamarind also has anti-inflammatory properties to provide relief from pain and antimicrobial properties to fight against common infections. Undeniably, eating tamarind when pregnant is good for health. But tamarind is known for its ability to react with certain medicines such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin. So, it is advised to have a gap of at least 24 hours between the time you take the medicine and the time when you consume tamarind.
How to consume tamarind in pregnancy? Either you can such on the fresh tamarind (this could keep nausea at the bay) or use it to flavour the homemade sorbets, or for dressing the salad and beverages.
Why eat tamarind? The answer to this question is in the following section.
As already mentioned before, eating tamarind when pregnant is beneficial for health only when the amount of tamarind intake is moderate. What are the tamarind benefits you could ripe from it? Here is the answer.
‣ Aids Digestion: The pulp extracted from the tamarind is good for the health of the digestive system. It is known to treat the bile disorders.
‣ Treats Dysentery: Tamarind is known to combat dysentery. Tamarind also increases the appetite.
‣ Anti-cancer Agent: The formation of free radicals in the body could lead to cancer. Tamarind, either in the form of juice or paste, contains antioxidants. These antioxidants have the capability to prevent the formation of such cancer-causing free radicals. Hence, tamarind works as an anti-cancer agent.
‣ Treats Gestational Diabetes: Gestational diabetes is a health condition in pregnancy where the blood sugar levels are high. It usually comes back to normal after the pregnancy. Tamarind benefits include its ability to stabilize such blood sugar levels with the help of flavonoids and polyphenols present in it.
‣Treats Blood Pressure: Some pregnant women suffer from high blood pressure during pregnancy. Consuming this tangy tasting tamarind in pregnancy period could help in keeping the blood pressure level in check. The minerals in Tamarind paste such as potassium, sodium, iron, etc could help in regulating the blood pressure of the body.
‣ Laxative: Aforesaid, moderation is the best way to get the optimum tamarind benefits. Consuming tamarind in limit could act as a mild laxative due to the dietary fiber present in it. Most of the women suffer from constipation during pregnancy and eating tamarind in moderation could help alleviate the condition.
‣ Treats Swelling And Muscle Pain: Varicose vein, swelling around the ankles and muscle pain are the common health issues pregnant women face, especially in the last trimester. In such cases, the anti-inflammatory properties of tamarind can aid in treating those conditions and provide you relief.
‣ Balances Digestion: The tamarinds could also balance the digestion that is - in case the person is suffering from diarrhoea, consuming tamarind could help in the flow of firmer stools and thereby combat diarrhoea.
‣ Lowers The Risk Of Premature Birth: Eating tamarind when pregnant could help in increasing the volume of blood of the body due to the presence of iron in tamarind. Consuming tamarind during pregnancy supplies an adequate amount of iron to the body and also, lowers the risk of premature birth. Tamarind is also known to reduce the chance of low birth weight of the baby.
‣ Aids In The Development Of Baby: The niacin content present in tamarind benefits the baby as well. It helps in the development of various parts of the baby’s body such as the digestive system, skin and nerves.
‣ Prevents Excessive Weight Gain: The dietary fiber present in the tamarind benefits you in the way you haven’t thought of. Consuming tamarind during pregnancy helps in preventing excessive weight gain. The fiber content in the tamarind helps in making you feel full and prevents you from unnecessary munching on the unhealthy snacks. It could also help you to deal with those untimely hunger pangs.
‣ Prevents Morning Sickness: Nausea or morning sickness is a nightmare during pregnancy. How to deal with it? By eating tamarind when pregnant! The compounds in the tamarind can help your stomach to settle down and ease your vomiting sensation. Tamarind is of great help, especially during the first trimester.
Tamarind Side Effects During Pregnancy
You don’t understand the goodness of something if there is nothing bad in the world. Goodness and bad go hand-in-hand and so is the benefits and side effects. If tamarind is consumed in large amounts, there are a few side effects that could affect you. Here is the list of such tamarind side effects during pregnancy.
‣ Excessive Vitamin C: The Vitamin C-rich tamarind could pose adverse effects on pregnant women when consumed in excess. It could lead to self-induced abortion or miscarriage by decreasing the production of progesterone in the first month of pregnancy. Excess vitamin could also cause preterm birth.
‣ Laxative: Tamarind is known for its ability to laxate. But consuming in excess could be dangerous. It can cause uncontrolled diarrhoea which could harm you and your baby. Diarrhoea could, in turn, lead to dehydration of the body. Eating excess of tamarind during pregnancy could also cause contractions of the uterus and could cause preterm birth.
‣ Medication Interaction: Tamarind could increase the absorption of aspirin and ibuprofen in the body. This might lead to manifesting of the side effects of aspirin. This could also lead to increased risk of heart and lung problems in newborns or it could even lead to miscarriage. The interaction of tamarind with ibuprofen could cause the heart passage of the baby to close permanently and this might lead to heart and lung damage and often cause the death of the baby.
‣ Harm The Baby: Eating tamarind during pregnancy period could be dangerous if the mom-to-be is suffering from fluorosis. The tamarind juice or tamarind paste aids in getting rid of the fluoride ions present in the mother’s body and thereby could harm the baby.
Of course, tamarind could satisfy your pregnancy craving for sour and tangy food. But consuming tamarind during pregnancy is something to keep an eye on. Excessive or over-consumption of tamarind could harm you and the baby. So, ensure you follow the moderation mantra with this fruit as well.