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Nutrition is one of the most overlooked and most essential parts of any lifestyle. This is truer when you’re pregnant. There are a lot of foods that are healthy for you normally but are considered dangerous when you have a growing baby in your belly. It is always important to understand that your dietary needs change when you’re pregnant, and consuming tamarind during pregnancy can be beneficial for you.
Nutritional Value of Tamarind
Tamarind is an extremely tasty ingredient that is used in numerous dishes due to its distinct flavour. Several ancient civilizations used tamarind for medicinal purposes – tamarind does have some medicinal properties; but what makes it an interesting ingredient is its nutritional value. Tamarind is rich in polyphenols, flavonoids, potassium, iron, dietary fibre, vitamin A, C and K and many more minerals.
Here is the nutritional chart for tamarind:
Tamarind Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving. Serving size: 100 g, raw
Calories – 239
Calories From Fat – 5
Total Fat – 1 g
Saturated Fat – 0 g
Cholesterol – 0 mg
Sodium – 26 mg
Total Carbohydrates – 63 g
Dietary Fiber – 5 g
Sugar – 57 g
Protein – 3 g
Vitamin A -1%
Vitamin C – 6%
Calcium – 7%
Iron – 16%
Is Eating Tamarind During Pregnancy Safe?
Understanding the nutritional value of tamarind is great for planning a diet, but is tamarind safe for you during your pregnancy? The answer is yes, but in moderation. Tamarind is rich in nutrients like vitamins A & C and calcium. It is also a decent source of protein, fibre and healthy sugars. It can also be used as a laxative. It is known to have anti-inflammatory properties and antimicrobial properties. Medicinally, it can help with diarrhoea, constipation, and is extremely rich in antioxidants. While studies conducted on animals showed that tamarind can reduce blood sugar levels, the same cannot be said for humans and, specifically, gestational diabetes.
However, tamarind is known to react with certain medications like paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin, so if you are on these medicines, you may want to give yourself 24 hours after taking medicine to eat tamarind. Always talk to your doctor to understand how your body reacts to an ingredient before adding it to your diet, especially in the latter stages of pregnancy.
Benefits of Consuming Tamarind During Pregnancy
When consumed in moderation, there are numerous benefits to eating tamarind. Some of them are:
- The anti-inflammatory properties of tamarind can help reduce swelling around the ankles, bloating and muscle pain in the later stages of pregnancy.
- Tamarind is rich in flavonoids and polyphenols, which help with gestational diabetes.
- The minerals in tamarind are known to help control blood pressure to a mild extent because of the presence of potassium and mild sodium.
- Sweet tamarind in pregnancy can help battle constipation due to its laxative properties.
- Tamarind is great for balancing digestion when used in moderation; this can also help the flow of stools be firm, thus combating diarrhoea.
- The antioxidants in tamarind are believed to prevent some forms of cancers.
- Tamarind can also help in reducing nausea that comes from morning sickness – sucking on a piece of tamarind with some salt on it can help the pregnant woman feel better.
You can consume tamarind in the form of sorbets, add it in your curries, or even in your lemonade for a refreshing beverage. The uses are innumerable.
Side-Effects or Risks of Eating Tamarind While Pregnant
Much like the benefits, there are risks involved with eating tamarind, especially in large, uncontrolled amounts. Some of these are:
- Tamarind increases the body’s ability to absorb ibuprofen. This can be dangerous in the third trimester, as ibuprofen during this time can potentially cause the permanent closing of the baby’s heart passage. It is recommended that you do not combine this medicine with the consumption of tamarind.
- Similar to the ability to absorb ibuprofen, tamarind increases the risk of the over-absorption of aspirin. This can act as a blood thinner and may lead to your baby not receiving proper nutrition. It can create irregular blood flow for your baby as well.
- Overeating tamarind can lead to an imbalance in your blood sugar.
- Consuming too much tamarind can harm your blood pressure.
If you have fluorosis during pregnancy, having raw, undiluted tamarind can harm the foetus.
It is important to understand that the risks and benefits of tamarind during pregnancy are based on the amount consumed and the manner in which it is consumed. It is highly recommended that you talk to your doctor about how to prepare dishes using tamarind during your pregnancy. Be sure to communicate with your nutritionist about any medications you are on during this period of pregnancy, as that can dramatically affect the ingredients you are allowed to consume during this period of your life. Remember to eat safe, in moderate portions and frequently.
Tamarind is not an ingredient that can completely replace the need for all other food. Remember to combine various healthy ingredients in a dish that has a good nutritional balance. If you feel a craving for tamarind during your pregnancy, ensure that you inform your caregivers and partner not to allow you to over-consume it due to the complications it can cause to the foetus.
It is recommended that when eating tamarind on a regular basis during your pregnancy, you keep a constant check on your blood sugar and blood pressure levels. If you do not feel comfortable, stop eating it and consult your doctor immediately. In this situation, doctors can give you tamarind capsules or supplements to make up for the lost nutrition. Try not to eat too much raw tamarind. Tamarind is a delicious ingredient that has plenty of benefits, but it’s best to ask a doctor before adding it into your diet.
Resources and References: Livestrong