Tiger nuts aren’t really nuts; they are tubers that grow under the soil’s surface. Also known as yellow nutsedge, tiger nutsedge or earth almond, tiger nuts have been used for many centuries and remain extremely popular all over the western hemisphere. Archaeologists conclude that evidence hints at this food being used in the Paleolithic era. A nutritional ‘all-rounder.
When it comes to foods that have stood the test of time, tigernuts are one of the most ancient vegetable species to be harvested by man. Historical sources indicate that the Ancient Egyptians (3,000 B.C.) were pioneers in the cultivation of this type of dark brown tuber, and would eat the knotted sedge or Cyperus esculentus, according to taxonomic nomenclature.
The tigernut is a food packed with nutritional goodness. It is Heart-protective, due to it being high in mono and polyunsaturated fats which reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and at the same time, having a very low sodium content (ideal for those with hypertension). Nigeria is among the principal source for the supply of tigernuts to the domestic market, however this tuber can be found in numerous places, owing to its vast appeal as an ingredient that promotes a healthy lifestyle.
This is why it is so often recommended as a suitable food for a healthy lifestyle and as well as for its enormous versatility as an ingredient which can be included in all kinds of diets, such as the ones described above.
Rich In Fiber
Tiger Nuts are packed with high fiber content – around 33%, which is indeed a considerable amount. In a study conducted in 2009 by the University of Miguel Hernandez, Orihuela, Spain, it was found out that 100g tiger nut flour contains around 60 g dietary fiber, especially the insoluble dietary fiber which is much higher than other popular fiber sources such as rice bran, oats, apple, cabbage, carrots, pears, Chia seeds and jack beans.
A Healthy Substitute For Lactose Intolerance
Milk derived from Tiger nut is a healthy option for those who cannot drink cow’s milk due to lactose intolerance. Tiger nut milk is free from lactose, and hence anyone can drink this milk, which is rich in calcium and supports bone building and growth in young children. This milk contains highest nutrition and fat content among all the other non-milk substitutes.
A good protein profile
While far from being characteristically viewed as an essential source of protein, the tigernut’s 8.7% protein content is not to be sniffed at, especially given the organic nature of its protein fraction. Tigernuts are packed with essential amino acids (arginine, leucine, and lysine), in addition to other non-essential ones (aspartic acid, glutamic acid and alanine).
Rich In Vitamins E And C
Recent studies suggest that tiger nuts are loaded with vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins C and E and potassium and phosphorus. Yogurt made by mixing cow’s milk with tiger nut milk has been found to be exceptionally high in these vitamins and other nutrients.
Good Source Of Magnesium
According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, magnesium is highly vital for the normal functioning of the body, as it is required to carry out more than 300 biochemical reactions in the human body. Recent studies have revealed that 100 g flour of tiger nuts contains between 13 to 17 percent of magnesium, which helps to promote normal nerve and muscle function, regulates sugar, maintains blood pressure levels to normalcy, and strengthen bones, process protein and keep you healthy.
Tiger nuts are also loaded with plentiful of amino acids of various types, especially Arginine. The Mayo Foundation suggests arginine as the nitric oxide precursor, which maintains the width of blood vessels to ensure normal blood flow. Arginine is helpful in providing solutions in conditions caused due to restricted blood vessels, including clogged arteries, chest pain, erectile dysfunction, heart disease or failure, artery diseases, muscle cramps, and headaches.
Protects Against Cardiovascular Disease
The Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Health Institute has stated that vitamin E acts as a catchall reference for different fat-soluble compounds that are rich in antioxidant qualities. Since tiger nuts are rich in vitamin E, all these qualities are present in tiger nut milk and tiger nut flour.
Tiger nuts are rich in potassium, which, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, is one of the few essential minerals that contribute to the proper functioning of the cell and body organs, especially the heart. Potassium is essential to maintain proper regulation of muscle contraction, digestive functions and to control the blood pressure levels.
Cures Erectile Dysfunction
Here comes one of the major health benefits of tiger nuts. Tiger nuts are indirectly beneficial in improving the problem of erectile dysfunction (ED). Although there is no medical evidence to support this claim, natives of Ghana have been using this traditional medicine for decades in the form of palliative for treating ED.
Rich Non-Meat Protein Source
Protein plays an important role in building bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood, and hence is one of the major nutrients of the body. Tiger nuts are one of the richest sources of non-meat protein that supplies plentiful of energy essential for carrying out heavy work all through the day.
Often referred to as Vegan Diets. These focus on lowering triglyceride and cholesterol levels through cutting out food of animal origin. Now the tigernut’s comprehensive nutritional profile is more widely recognised, in addition to it being an acceptable balanced protein component due to its high iron and essential amino acid content, it proves an excellent ingredient for this type of diet.
The high insoluble dietary fiber present in tiger nut flour regulates blood sugar levels and helps the diabetic patients remain healthy.
Kosher products are those designated as suitable for consumption by members of the Jewish and Muslim faiths. In both cases, this is for different reasons, albeit these are always religious in nature. Recently however, these foods have risen to the fore owing to the fact that these foods - free from additives and preservatives - are recognized in their own right as natural and healthy. Amongst them, tigernuts have become a regular part of the diet for people looking for organic food sources. Moreover, the tigernut has abandoned its reputation as a niche foodstuff and become a highly-celebrated food thanks to its ample health benefits.
Tiger nut doesn’t contain omega-6 fatty acids, whose high ratio with omega-3 fatty acids in other nuts might lead to inflammatory conditions. Tiger nut milk is thus better and safer to consume than other nut-based milks and offers similar levels of essential nutrients.
Rich In MUFA
Tiger nut milk is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids or MUFAs. This makes it an excellent anti-diabetic agent, as MUFA diets boost glycemic tolerance.
High-quality insoluble fibre
The tigernut is high in fibre and its fibre levels even exceed those of foods traditionally known for their high fibre content, such as oat bran, carrots and chia seeds. The majority of this fibre is pectin, which facilitates digestion particularly in the colon and contributes to healthy bowel movements. Extensive research from the University of Miguel Hernandez have shown that the fibre also aids in preventing the development of colon cancer.
Boosts ‘Good’ (HDL) Cholesterol
Tiger nuts contain a fair amount of oleic acid. Oleic acid is a MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acid) that helps increase your body’s HDL cholesterol.
That the tigernut has now becoming a cash crop for the agricultural sector is largely owed to the tendency for incorporating it into so-called palaeolithic diets, which seek to emanate the eating patterns of our ancestors, unaware as they were of food preparation techniques which can throw diets off-kilter and hamper our efforts to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Excellent vitamin and mineral content
Tigernuts contain a significant amount of chemical elements which are vital to our body’s metabolism. These include certain macronutrients (such as magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium), but most noteworthy are their levels of iron and potassium, which exceed even those of certain red meats in the case of the former; and those of bananas and avocados in terms of the latter.
Tiger nuts have many nutritional and health benefits, which make them an amazing food for anyone. Traditionally, tiger nuts were used to treat stomach upsets, irritable bowels, and other digestive issues. They have been used in folk medicine as a remedy for many ailments, including flatulence and diarrhea. Eupeptic and digestive, owing to an abundance of enzymes (lipase, catalase and amylase); as a result, it is often singled out as a suitable food for those suffering from gastritis and other stomach conditions.
Tiger nut milk is a good source of probiotics (gut-healthy bacteria that aid digestion; usually found in curd).
Tiger nut milk is quite creamy and offers a slick, smooth, nutty and rich flavor.
High-Energy but Low on Empty Calories
Tigernuts, which are composed of 75% dry matter, possess a characteristically high calorie content of 366 Kcal per 100 grams, which making it a high-energy food, but by no means one full of empty calories.
The appeal of these energy-giving properties is largely down to the vital role carbohydrates play in terms of our chemical makeup. Out of these, starch is the most abundant, accounting for 30% of the carbohydrate content. The remaining carbohydrate content comprises 16% sucrose, its principle simple sugar, and negligible amounts of fructose and galactose.
It’s worth emphasizing that the low presence of glucose yet high sucrose content makes the tigernut ideal for diabetics.
Similarly, its lactose-free nature and low fructose content means it is suitable for people who are intolerant to sugar found in fruit and honey as well as those who are lactose-intolerant.