Kokum is a tiny fruit that resembles a cherry tomato and is red in color which changes to deep purple on ripening. It basically grows in the Western Ghats in Goa and Konkan areas and is available in both fresh and dry varieties. The dried variety is used in a lot of dishes for its sour taste and mildly sweet smell. This little fruit is mainly used in Indian cuisines especially Gujarati, Konkani, and Maharashtrian cooking. Because of its sour taste, it is used as an alternative to tamarind in many gravies and curries. Apart from the culinary uses, there are many surprising health benefits of Kokum too.
11 Surprising Health Benefits Of Kokum
Helps to prevent acidity
Acidity has become a common digestive issue amongst humans of today. Thanks to our fast-paced life and mindless eating habits. The kokum pulp when consumed in the form of sherbet or drink is known to cure acidity. This fact is also supported by Ayurveda for centuries together. But be mindful of adding little or no sugar to the drink as sugar can aggravate acidity.
Strengthens your gut
The kokum pulp is loaded with anti-bacterial properties. The anti-microbial nature destroys harmful bacteria in the gut and promotes gut-friendly bacteria. Hence, this fruit is believed to cure a lot of gastric issues, flatulence and indigestion.
Loaded with antioxidants
Kokum is known to have an active ingredient called ‘garcinol’. This garcinol is proved to contain antioxidant properties. Antioxidants curb free radicals that are left in our body. Many health issues like cancer, heart diseases, and diabetes are due to these free radicals that float throughout our bodies. The active ingredients also help in cell regeneration and the formation of new cells.
Good for skin
Kokum butter is believed to possess cosmetic properties and hence used to make soaps, skin lotions, and balms. It is known to heal skin rashes, blisters and also cracked heels. Applying a paste of kokum and coconut oil is known to cure cracked painful heels. Even Ayurveda supports this theory. Thus, this fruit is very good for skin.
Promotes heart health
Kokum is known to contain a compound called ‘hydroxy citric acid’ which is believed to reduce cholesterol levels. This compound also curbs appetite which in turn prevents excessive weight gain. Therefore the lower cholesterol levels and prevention of obesity promote heart health in us.
Cools down our body
This fruit has the amazing property of satiating thirst which in turn cools down our body. Indulging in a glass of kokum sherbet also has a great cooling effect on our body.
Helps with anxiety and depression
As already mentioned the fruit is rich in a compound called ‘hydroxy citric acid.’ This compound is linked to the increase of serotonin hormone in our body. Serotonin helps in regulating our mood and is found in various body organs. Thus consuming kokum in moderation can help with depression and anxiety.
Helps to fight diabetes
High blood sugar levels affect all important organs in our body. Diabetes leads to oxidation in our body and speeds up deterioration. The active ingredient in the fruit helps to curb the free radicals. Thereby reducing the speed of oxidation. Hence kokum juice helps to fight diabetes and its ill effects.
Kokum drink can prevent obesity and help in effective weight management. The component ‘hydroxy citric acid’ in the fruit gives a feeling of fullness and stops us from overeating. It also improves our metabolism and helps in burning body fat.
Prevents inflammation of organs
Kokum is found to release phenolic compounds which control microbial growth. Microbial growth is associated with inflammation of organs. It can lead to heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, etc. Therefore the fruit helps to prevent inflammation of organs.
Kokum is loaded with essential nutrients required by our body. It contains B vitamins, citric acid, potassium, manganese, ascorbic acid and much more. Thus consuming kokum juice can supply our body with all these essential nutrients.
Can kokum be taken during pregnancy?
As we have seen earlier this fruit is a storehouse of many essential nutrients and active compounds. Having a glass of kokum juice or consuming a curry made with kokum pulp can do wonders to our skin and body. Apart from its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it is rich in various minerals like magnesium, potassium, and manganese. These all are highly essential for the growth and development of the fetus. Hence kokum can be very well taken in pregnancy. But do not forget that moderation is the key.
With the amazing health benefits of kokum, it can be a great substitute to tamarind in many Indian curries and gravies. It can also be had in the form of sherbet or juice in summers to quench our thirst. However, it is important to understand that how much ever good something is moderation should be the formula to reap great benefits.