7 Outstanding Health Benefits of Black Velvet Tamarind (icheku )

Black Velvet tamarind is a popular fruit snack, particularly among children. The fruit has a black velvet shell which is cracked to reveal an orange pulp that can be licked or chewed. The fruit has a sweet bitter taste.

Each fruit typically has one hard, flat, round, brown seed, which somewhat resembles a watermelon seed, though some have two seeds. The seeds are shiny, coated with a thin layer of starch.

African velvet tamarind is a tropical tree found mostly in  Africa. It’s scientifically called Dialium indum. It is also  known as Awin by the Yorubas, Icheku by the Igbos and Tsamiyar kurm by Hausas, in Nigeria. The tree can also be found in Ghana, Senegal, Thailand and Malaysia.

Black Velvet tamarind (icheku)

Black Velvet tamarind

It is normally eaten by cracking the shell to reveal an orange pulp, that is sucked or chewed. They can be taken as snacks or soaked in water to produce a kind of drink . Velvet tamarind is cultivated not totally for its fruits but as a source of timber and fuel.

The fruit is a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, iron, selenium, zinc and magnesium. It is also rich in many vital vitamins, including thiamine (36% of daily required levels), vitamin-A, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin C.

The many health benefits of Black Velvet tamarind is a result of its nutritional constituent which are highlighted below

Health Benefits of Black Velvet Tamarind

1. Lowers cholesterol level

The sticky pulp of velvet tamarind is rich in dietary fiber such as gums, hemicellulose, mucilage, pectin, and tannins. These fiber reduce the LDL (bad cholesterol) in the body.

2. Prevent constipation

The fruit help prevents constipation because of the presence of dietary fiber. The dietary fiber in the food increases its bulk and augments bowel movements. The fiber also binds to toxins in the food thereby help protect the colon mucosa from cancer causing chemicals.

3. Antioxidant properties

The tartaric acid in Black Velvet Tamarind is a  powerful anti-oxidant, that protects the human body from harmful free radicals.  Tartaric acid also gives sour taste to food.

Also many vitamins present in tamarind act as antioxidant as well as co-factor for enzyme metabolism in the body.

4. Regulate cell functions

Potassium found in appreciably quantity in tamarind is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. It ensure a good cardiovascular health .

5. Boost the immune system

The vitamins C and other antioxidants present in velvet tamarind helps boost the immune system and ensure long-term health from microbial and fungal infections.

6. Diabetes management

The fruit can be used to treat diabetes as it regulates the blood sugar levels by reducing the sugar levels and intensifies insulin sensitivity.

7. Anti-inflammatory properties

The stem bark extract has significant analgesic property hence, can be used to reduce menstrual pain. The stem bark extract also has the ability to reduce inflammation in bronchial tubes that arises due to bronchitis. It has been found to be effective in  reducing pain associated with pile.

Now that you are aware of the many health benefits of Black Velvet tamarind try to incorporate into your diet for a healthier you.

References

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/tamarind.html

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialium_indum

http://www.m.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-819/tamarind

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