Icheku is the popular Ibo name given to the Black velvet tamarind fruit which we all love…I mean show me that person who doesn’t love something sweet with less stress….(just lick all the way)
Well, icheku is an indigenous fruit also known as African velvet tamarind, it is without any adverse reaction and is been eaten by all ages because it is a kind of vitamin C supplement.
The fruit inside the shell is either dried or pulpy with taste sweet sour; it is packed with lots of nutrition that helps to promote health and manage some health conditions.
1. Improve Water & Acid Balance
Black Velvet Tamarind has potassium content which helps to regulate water balance and acid-base balance in the blood and tissues.
Potassium plays important roles in the human body, it functions both as a mineral and an electrolyte in the body and as well in help in balancing the body pH level, controls the rate at which the heart beats, nerve impulses and more.
Potassium can only be ingested through potassium-rich foods/fruits as it is not produced by the body naturally, therefore, the intake of black velvet tamarind will provide the body with enough potassium it needs to the conduct the body’s electrical impulses.
2. Reduces Inflammation
The vitamin C content in black velvet tamarinds helps to fight against microbial infection and reduce inflammation in the bronchial tube which in turn prevent cancer which is one of its underlying causes is inflammation.
Research has shown that patients with bronchitis can be treated with black velvet tamarinds, as it will supply them with enough vitamin C to reduce the inflammation of bronchial tube linings.
3. Improves Lactation
The pulp of the black velvet tamarinds is said to contain nutrients that are necessary for milk secretion which implies that it improves lactation.
This makes it good for the pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, as it will help increase the breast milk secretion, it is widely believed it does so, though there has not been any medical prove about it.
Locally, in some parts of Nigeria and other African countries where it is common, it is also used in the treatment of infections especially the ones that affect the genitals.
4. Improves Red Blood Cell Production
It contains a good number of minerals such as iron which is necessary for the production of red blood cells with some others minerals such as;
Copper helps in strengthening the blood vessels, and in most cases, it works together with iron to help in the formation of the red blood cells, and also works to make sure that iron is absorbed as needed by the blood. The deficiency of copper in the blood is called hypocupremia.
Calcium is mostly known to help in blood and teeth formation, but it is more than that, calcium such as the one present in black velvet tamarinds helps in blood clotting and well as in other necessary functions in the body.
Zinc is commonly found throughout the cells in the body specifically the platelets and has a lot of functions. As regards to blood cells, zinc mineral helps in the clotting of blood, therefore if there is a deficient of this mineral in the body, it can cause unexpected clotting of blood.
The amount of iron present in the fruit is good enough for blood production and anaemia prevention.
5. Reduces Body Pains
Presence of some volatile phytochemical compounds with different medicinal values in black velvet tamarinds such as methyl salicylate, pyrazine, alkyl triazole limonene, geraniol, safrole cinnamic acid made it a solution for body pains and certain illnesses.
Most of the above-mentioned compounds are used in cosmetics and other products which are used as sport massage creams, they are suitable for bruises, sprain, back and body pain, arthritis and much more.
Therefore, the intake of this fruits will help in the supplying the body with natural pain relievers, and help alleviates some health conditions that induce pain.
6. Prevents Micronutrient Deficiency
Some nutritious elements such as the vitamins and minerals contained in the fruit act as micronutrients that help to protect the body from micronutrient deficiency.
Micronutrients are needed by the body in small proportion and they are very vital for the function of the cells and organs in the body, therefore icheku contain lots of micronutrients like iron, vitamin A etc.
Supplying the body with these nutrients help prevent its deficiency which leads to severe adverse reactions.
7. Acts as an Antioxidant
It contains tartaric acid which is a strong antioxidant that protects that body from free radicals which cause damage to the body’s vital organs and cells.
It is also regarded as an Alpha Hydroxy Acid which can also help in exfoliating the skin, removing dead cells from the skin pore.
Tartaric acid can be added to food and even used in bakery and as a leavening agent, but black velvet tamarind comes with it naturally, so instead of using it as an additive in your food or bakery, you can get it naturally from this fruits.
8. Promotes Digestive Health
The pulp of icheku also contains non-starch polysaccharides which help to maintain a healthy digestive system and reduce blood cholesterol.
It is not digested in the body (small intestine), and therefore provide the body with no calories which are also good for weight loss, but helps in making sure that the digestive system is functioning well.
9. Treat Dry Eye
Potassium contained in icheku is one of the reasons it is suitable in curing dry eyes, potassium helps in making the eye moist at all times, and its deficiency leads to dry eyes which comes with itching, twitching and other symptoms.
There are also many compounds which have been found in this fruits and has proven to help in providing the eye with enough moisture thereby preventing dry eye.