Tamarind is a legume, the flesh of the legume is used to make a paste used to flavour foods like chutneys and sauces. Like other legumes, tamarind can also be used to make tamarind gum which can be used as a preservative or stabiliser in foods and medicines.
Tamarind is in the Fabaceae
family of plants which includes peanuts, soya beans, lentils, peas and lupin. You can read more about legumes HERE
Tamarind has been shown to contain chitinase proteins
, which are proteins with the potential to case serious allergic reactions.
Tamarind is an ingredient added to some gluten free products in the same way xanthan gum is added, so if you are allergic, you may want to check ingredients of any gluten free baked products.
As a less common allergen no food intolerances has been linked to tamarind. Legumes are usually high in lectins
and this is the case with tamarind. Lectins are a potential cause of food intolerance. Cooking foods with lectins makes them more digestible and can reduce the symptoms of food intolerance.
You can read more about Food Intolerances
on the dedicated Food Intolerance Page.
Other foods containing chitinase include avocado, banana, chestnut, coffee, corn, kiwi and pomegranate.
Foods linked to Latex Food Syndrome containing proteins like hevein which can cause a similar allergic reaction are apricot, cassava, dill, goji berry, potato, swede and turnips.
Note these food lists are not exhaustive, the most up to date information is on the Cross Reactivity Tool.
Science Direct - Tamarind
Anaphylaxis Campaign - Legumes
Articles and Journals
Special Issue “Strategies to Develop High-Quality Gluten-Free Products Welcomed by Consumers”, 2023
Minerals and heavy metals content status in some fruits in India, 2022
Research advances and prospects of legume lectins, 2021
Dietary Lectins: Gastrointestinal and Immune Effects, 2020
Glycan-dependent chikungunya viral infection divulged by antiviral activity of NAG specific chi-like lectin, 2019
Isolation, purification, crystallization and preliminary crystallographic studies of chitinase from tamarind (Tamarindus indica) seeds, 2009
Sensitization and lung function in workers occupationally exposed to natural thickening products, 2008
Let me know if you found any of these interesting or useful.
If you spot an article or research that you think is interesting you can message me or tag me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter - links at the bottom of the page.