Health benefits of taking ukwaju (Photo: iStock)

It gives pleasure and pain as it bursts in your mouth releasing sweet and sour juices. Those from the Coastal region refer to it as ukwaju while scientifically, it is Tamarind.

Tamarindus indica is a scientific name given to a hardwood tree which produces brown pod-like fruits that contain a sweet and sour pulp.

It belongs to the Tamarindus genus which is monotypic meaning that only one species of these fruit is produced.

It is consumed in different forms namely raw pods, pressed blocks and concrete pulp.

Pressed blocks are made by removing the shell and seeds from the pods and compressing the pulp into a block whereas concrete is pulp that has been boiled down and preservatives added.

Barks, seeds, juice and leaves of Tamarind all have different nutrient compounds including hydroxy citric acid, sodium, and magnesium among others.


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Loads of hydroxy citric acid found in the fruit reduce the appetite by suppressing an enzyme called amylase that is responsible for converting carbohydrates to fats. Traditionally, Ukwaju was used as a form of treatment.

The fruit relieved constipation, the leaves treated diarrhoea while the root and bark were used to alleviate abdominal pain.

The presence of tartaric acid, malic acid and potassium content makes ukwaju a laxative.

This trait gives the fruit the ability to relax abdominal muscles and that is why it is used as a diarrhoea remedy.

Additionally, Tamarind is high in dietary fibre content which aids in bulking up the stool making bowel movements and excretion easier.

Healthy Eating Tamarind Benefits Nutrition