Is Tamarind Good for Diabetics ? Glycemic Index of Tamarind |

Reviewed By Dietitian Dt. SEEMA GOEL (Senior Dietitian) November 22, 2023

Navigating dietary choices is a crucial aspect of diabetes management, prompting individuals to scrutinize every ingredient. One such intriguing element in the culinary landscape is tamarind, a staple in our kitchens with a rich cultural history. One such staple that often graces our kitchens is tamarind, renowned for its distinctive flavor. For those dealing with diabetes, the question looms: Is tamarind good for diabetes patients? In this exploration of the tamarind and diabetes relationship, we delve into the nuances to decipher whether this beloved ingredient can be a friend or foe in the journey toward better health.

What is Tamarind?

What is Tamarind?

Tamarind is a fruit that has a sweet and tangy taste. It is often used in home cooking to add its unique flavor to the dishes. Tamarind’s pulp is a well-loved ingredient in sauces, chutneys, and drinks.

Tamarind’s roots in India span millennia and are deeply embedded in both culinary and cultural landscapes. Integral to Ayurvedic medicine, the fruit’s sweet and tangy essence became a cornerstone of Indian cuisine. From chutneys to curries, tamarind’s distinctive flavor graces many dishes. But is positive tamarind and diabetes connection that is what we are going to figure out in the headings below.

Beyond the kitchen, it carries religious and cultural significance, participating in rituals and ceremonies. Its journey extends globally, likely traversing trade routes and influencing diverse culinary traditions. In India, traditional preservation methods, like tamarind paste, showcase the fruit’s adaptability. Tamarind remains a flavorful thread in the tapestry of India’s rich history and gastronomy.

Read More: How to Stop Sugar Craving Naturally?

Nutritional Value of Tamarind (Imli)

The nutritional profile of tamarind (imli) is impressive as it contains many beneficial nutrients. Imli has many nutrients, like phosphorus, potassium, vitamin C, dietary fibre, etc., in reasonable amounts.

Nutritional Value of Tamarind (Imli)
Nutrients per 100 grams Amount
Calories 239 kcal
Protein 2.8 g
Fat 0 grams
Carbs 0 grams
Fiber 9.7 gram
Sugar 9.8g
Calcium 0.2 mg
Magnesium 0.2 mg
Phosphorous 9.8g
Potassium 9.8g
Vitamin C 3.5 mg
Folate 14 ug
Iron 2.8 mg

But can diabetic patient eat tamarind? Keep reading to know the answer.

Glycemic Index of Tamarind (Imli)

The glycemic index of tamarind is just 23, categorising it as a low-GI food. However, the glycemic load of tamarind is 14.3, which is in the medium GL category.

Looking at the glycemic profile of tamarind, we suggest using tamarind but strictly measuring the quantity you consume.

Is Imli Good for Diabetes
Is Imli Good for Diabetes

The relationship between imli or tamarind and diabetes is ancient in India. Tamarind, or Imli, is a top ingredient in many Ayurvedic medicines. Nutrients present in tamarind (imli) naturally boost immunity, thereby reducing the chances of acquiring illnesses. But is imli good for diabetes patients? The answer is yes!

Imli has a high antioxidant content. These include vitamin C, beta-carotene, flavonoids and polyphenols. Antioxidants flush out free radicals and various toxins from our body. They also lessen oxidative stress.

Tamarind (imli) contains minerals like magnesium that help regulate sugar levels. Studies have also found magnesium boosts insulin sensitivity in diabetics. Thus further enhancing the connection between tamarind and diabetes. Other compounds present in tamarind, like potassium and various flavonoids, help in curtailing inflammation. Since controlling inflammation helps control diabetes, it’s indirectly beneficial for diabetes.

Tamarind (imli) has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. A compound called lupeol present in imli gives it these effects. Another tamarind and diabetes connection is that eating imli helps in diminishing the chances of type 2 diabetes. Eating tamarind also helps in improving sleep. Maintaining a proper sleep cycle is necessary for a diabetes patient.

Read More: Indian Diet for Diabetes Reversal.

Is Sweet Tamarind Good for Diabetes Patients?

Sweet tamarind or Meethi imli, a popular variant of tamarind in India, is the ripened form of the fruit. Meethi imli is the primary ingredient in chutneys.

Although sweet tamarind glycemic index is moderate, i.e., around 65, however, it is okay to be consumed by diabetics in limited amounts. The reason is that sweet tamarind is used in chutneys, and chutneys are consumed in very small amounts. They are used just to add flavours. Moreover,  the natural sugar content of sweet tamarind is much better than processed sugars.

Does Tamarind increase Blood Sugar?

Whether tamarind is good or bad for diabetes arrives due to reports of the hyperglycemic effect of tamarind. An incident where an 8-year-old diabetic patient complained of fluctuating sugar levels. The patient had to manage his diabetes through oral hypoglycemia drugs. Moreover, the physician couldn’t figure out the reason for the fluctuation.

When total clinical nutrition analysis was done, it was found the patient took tamarind tablets for cough. He was advised against its usage. With the stopping of tamarind tablets, the sporadic rise in sugar levels stopped. Therefore, tamarind is said to have a hyperglycemic effect. In this, there is a rise in sugar levels, but HbA1c stays in control.

Read More: Is Rice Good For Diabetes?

Tamarind Benefits for Diabetes

Tamarind Benefits for Diabetes

Tamarind benefits for diabetes patients are many. They offer the following potential benefits for individuals with diabetes:

Blood Sugar Regulation

Tamarind contains compounds such as magnesium that may help regulate sugar levels. Therefore, there is a positive connection between tamarind and diabetes. It also improves insulin sensitivity, thus, potentially aiding in diabetes management.

Fiber Content

Tamarind is rich in dietary fiber, which delays the absorption rate of sugar. The low glycemic index of tamarind also helps control your blood glucose levels.

Antioxidant Properties

Tamarind is known for its antioxidant properties, which help remove toxins. This establishes a positive tamarind and diabetes connection.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Some studies suggest that tamarind has many anti-inflammatory effects. This could be beneficial for diabetes patients as chronic inflammation is associated with diabetes complications.

However, it’s crucial for diabetes patients like you to consult your doctor before undergoing windfall dietary changes. Following the doctor’s advice is a must incorporating new foods. This will ensure they align with their overall treatment plan.

Read More: Best Vegetable with Low Glycemic Index for Diabetics.

Ways to Consume Tamarind for Diabetes Patients

Ways to Consume Tamarind for Diabetes Patients

Now, as we have answered, is tamarind good for diabetic patients. Let’s know some tasty diabetes-friendly ways diabetes patients can incorporate tamarind into their diet:

Tamarind Chutney

Prepare a homemade tamarind chutney using natural sweeteners. Combine tamarind pulp with spices like cumin and coriander and a touch of sweetener for sweetness.

Tamarind-infused Dals

Add tamarind pulp to lentil-based dishes like sambar or dal. The natural tanginess enhances flavor without compromising nutritional value.

Tamarind Tea

Brew a tamarind tea by infusing tamarind pulp in hot water. It can be consumed as a refreshing, low-calorie beverage.

Tamarind-flavored Vegetable Curry

Use tamarind as a natural flavor enhancer for vegetable stir-fries or curries. Opt for minimal oil and pair it with fiber-rich vegetables.

Tamarind Water

Create a tamarind-infused water by diluting tamarind pulp in water. It can be a hydrating option with a hint of flavor.

Read More: Top 6 Dry Fruits For Diabetics.

Tamarind Side Effects for Diabetes Patients

While tamarind and diabetes have a strong connection, consuming it inappropriately can do more harm than good. So here are some considerations regarding its consumption:

Blood Sugar Levels

Tamarind’s natural sugars can affect your sugar levels. Individuals with diabetes should constantly monitor their sugar levels closely. Moreover, some studies suggest tamarind has hyperglycemic effects therefore, when consuming tamarind, adjust your medication or insulin as per the doctor’s recommendation.

Caloric Content

Tamarind, when used in concentrated forms like chutneys or candies, may contribute to excess calorie intake, which can impact weight management—a crucial aspect of diabetes control.

Portion Control

Although the glycemic index of tamarind is low, it has high calories. Excessive consumption of tamarind may lead to higher calorie and sugar intake. It’s important for diabetes patients to practice moderation and absolutely be mindful of portions they consume.

Interaction with Medications

Tamarind may interact with certain medications. Individuals on prescribed medications should consult with their diabetologist before incorporating tamarind into their diet plan.

As with any dietary changes, individuals with diabetes should seek personalized advice from their doctor above anything. This will ensure that tamarind consumption aligns with their overall diabetes management plan.

Read More: Are Peanuts Good for Diabetics?


In conclusion, the question of ‘Is tamarind good for diabetes patients?’ is nuanced. While it boasts potential advantages, such as blood sugar regulation and antioxidant properties, moderation and mindful consumption remain key. For individuals grappling with diabetes, incorporating tamarind can be part of a well-rounded, flavorful diet. However, tamarind and diabetes management demands your careful attention to portion sizes and overall dietary habits. As with any dietary considerations for diabetes, individual variations and consultation with the doctor are paramount. The flavorful journey of tamarind in our cuisine can indeed be enjoyed, but always in harmony with the broader symphony of a balanced and diabetes-conscious lifestyle.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Who should not eat tamarind?

Diabetes patients with digestive discomfort should avoid tamarind. Tamarind has laxative effects that can progress to diarrhoea.

How many tamarind should I eat daily?

According to doctors and many medical institutions, about 10 grams of tamarind is fit for daily intake.

What are the bad effects of eating tamarind?

Tamarind contains organic acid, which, if consumed in excessive amounts, causes tooth decay. The sour flavour of tamarind can damage the enamel of your outer teeth. This causes tooth rusting.

Is tamarind a blood thinner?

Consuming tamarind in limited amounts boosts your gut health and improves your heart health. However, tamarind acts as a blood thinner; therefore, eating it in limited amounts is recommended.


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