I didn’t know what it was then. They would be all over the playground and lunch area and sports field, everywhere! I recall when we were around 7 years old we got curious and fiddled with them for a time. However, those ukwaju pods could not hold the concentration of any child, and were soon ignored. After all, the were not sweet to us.
So what is Ukwaju?
Otherwise known as tamarind, ukwaju is a fruit that grows in a pod. It is pulpy in texture and is both sweet and sour, though many would agree that it is an acquired taste. It can be eaten raw, made into juice, sauces or a paste for cooking.
Did you know that ukwaju is a legume? Yup! Right up there with your beans and ndengus (mung beans)! Though if you are the observant, inquisitive type, you probably suspected it!
Ukwaju Hack: Use as a Tenderizer
The acid in ukwaju can tenderize tough cuts of meat. It is therefore great to use as a marinade.
Win#1: Good for Digestion
Ukwaju is generally considered a natural laxative, largely due to its fiber content. The fiber content bulks up your stool making it move through the digestive tract faster and with more ease. It also stimulates the function of bile which helps in the absorption of fats.
Win#2: Immunity Booster
Tamarind contains large amounts of antioxidants and vitamin C which help to boost your immunity.
Win#3: Anti Inflammatory Properties
The essential oil from tamarind is associated with various anti inflammatory properties such as reduction of joint pain, arthritis and gout. It is also used to treat a common form of conjunctivitis known as pink eye. I remember suffering from this as a teenager and what misery it was. I wish we had known then, what we know now!
Win#4: Improves Nerve Function
Ukwaju is loaded with the vitamin B-Complex! This is especially so for Thiamine (a part of vitamin B Complex) which aides the development, and functionality of nerves. I make a good point of getting a good portion of this vitamin in my diet.
Quick Video on How to Make Tamarind Sauce
Win#5: Helps Manage Diabetes
The tamarind seed has an extract that stabilizes sugar levels and reverses damage to the pancreatic tissue.
Win#6: Weight Management
Tamarind has been known to suppress appetite by increasing the production of serotonin.
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