Tiger nuts have been cultivated since centuries. While the Egyptians and Nigerians appear to have used them first, the Spanish have been using tiger nuts to make horchata (a creamy drink) since the 18th century.
These nuts are now making a comeback, thanks to their multiple health benefits. In this post, we will discuss more of those (along with the other aspects about tiger nuts you should know). Keep reading.
In This Article
What Are Tiger Nuts?
Tiger nuts are also known as chufa nuts or earth almonds. They are small root vegetables (also called tubers). The presence of stripes on their exteriors gives them the name tiger nuts.
Tiger nuts are the size of chickpeas with a slightly sweet and coconut-like flavor. They are starchy and fibrous and a little hard to chew. They are the perfect snack option since you can enjoy their nutty and creamy flavor and fill up on your fiber intake for the day.
In addition to offering you the goodness of fiber, these nuts have other important benefits.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Tiger Nuts?
1. May Aid Weight loss
Fiber is an essential part of our daily diet. It helps in better digestion and excretion and reduces the risk of high cholesterol (like heart disease).
A serving of tiger nuts contains about 10 grams of fiber. The fiber also helps promote weight loss. It makes you feel full for longer and promotes satiety – thereby cutting down cravings.
A 2009 study confirms that the high fiber content in tiger nuts make it an important addition to a healthy diet (1).
2. Promotes Digestion
Tiger nuts are high in fiber (1). Fiber adds bulk to your stool and helps the digested food in your stomach to move through the gut easily (2). It also helps in better absorption of nutrients from the digested food and reduces chances of constipation by increasing the diversity of microbiome (good bacteria) in the gut.
Tiger nuts also contain certain enzymes, such as lipases, amylases, and catalases, which help in breaking down foods in the stomach and relieve flatulence, diarrhea, or indigestion (3).
3. May Lower Blood Sugar Levels
The fiber in the nuts slows down the absorption of sugar in the intestines.
Tiger nuts also have high contents of arginine, an amino acid that stimulates insulin sensitivity (4).
A recent study was performed on diabetic rats to determine the glucose-lowering potential of a mixture of defatted soybean and tiger nut flour. Consuming a dough-meal made with a combination of these flours was found to significantly lower blood sugar values in diabetic rats (5).
4. May Improve Heart Health
Tiger nuts contain high amounts of MUFAs (monounsaturated fatty acid). MUFAs are known to reduce bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL) levels in the body. This eventually lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke (6).
Tiger nuts are also high in arginine (as mentioned above), an amino acid that helps the body produce nitric oxide. Nitric oxide dilates blood vessels and lowers blood pressure (7).
5. Act As An Aphrodisiac
Historically, tiger nuts have been used as an aphrodisiac to boost libido. These are especially popular among African men, who have been consuming tiger nuts for generations to improve their sperm count and treat erectile dysfunction.
6. Boost Immunity
Tiger nuts are beneficial for the immune system.
These are the benefits of tiger nuts. Making them an essential part of the daily diet is one way you can improve your health. In the following section, we will see the various nutrients in tiger nuts that are responsible for their wholesome goodness.
What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Tiger Nuts?
We have already established that tiger nuts contain a high amount of fiber, but that is not the only nutrient they offer.
These nuts also contain a healthy amount of omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, which are excellent for the heart. Following is the nutrition profile of tiger nuts:
|Nutrient||VALUE PER 100g|
|Omega 6 fatty acid|
|Oleic Acid (omega 9 fatty acid)|
Now we know how nutritious tiger nuts can be. But how do you eat them? How do include them in your daily diet?
How Do You Eat Tiger Nuts?
There are plenty of ways you can enjoy these delicious nuts:
- Eat them just as they are. This is the best way to consume tiger nuts. They are a very healthy and tasty snack option.You can also mix them with nuts and make a trail mix.
- Some people may not like to eat them raw since it requires a little bit of chewing. In this case, you can soak them in water for some time and add a little salt. This will make the nuts more edible and palatable.
- Make Spanish-style Horchata. This is a sweet and creamy milk made from tiger nuts that is very popular in Spain. It is made by blending softened tiger nuts, sugar, and water.
- These nuts can be a great addition to your breakfast. You can add them to your cereal, smoothie, or porridge.
- You can use tiger nuts to make nut butter, just as how you would make homemade peanut, almond, or cashew butter. This is a very healthy way to incorporate tiger nuts into your diet.
- Tiger nuts can be dried and powdered to make flour that can be used in cooking.
These are some of the ways you can enjoy the healthfulness of tiger nuts regularly. The most popular way of consuming tiger nuts is through the milk.
You can replace your regular cow milk at home with tiger nut milk. It would be a great way of making sure you receive the nutrients and goodness of tiger nuts in your diet.
But how do you make tiger nut milk? We will explore that in the next section.
How Can You Make Tiger Nut Milk?
Tiger nut milk, also called Horchata, is quite delicious. It can be had as it is without adding any flavor or sweetener, or it can be flavored in any way you like. Tiger nut milk also tastes great when mixed in smoothies, milkshakes or coffee.
What You Need
- 2 cups of raw tiger nuts
- 4 cups of clean water
- ¼ teaspoon of sea salt
- Flavor of your choice (optional) – cinnamon, vanilla, honey, maple, etc.
- A mason jar
- A strainer
- A blender
- Mix the nuts and salt and place them in a mason jar.
- Pour water over them and cover to soak for 24 to 48 hours. The longer they soak, the better.
- Once they are soaked, pour them through a strainer and rinse them well.
- Place the tiger nuts in the blender and add two cups of water. You can also add any flavor to them.
- Blend the nuts with water until you get a smooth and creamy mixture.
- Pour this blended mixture through a mesh strainer to separate the milk. Blend the nuts again if needed to obtain more strained milk from them.
- Pour the milk into a glass jar and store in the refrigerator. It will stay good for up to three days.
Quite simple, isn’t it? But before you go ahead and start consuming tiger nuts, there is something else you must know.
Do Tiger Nuts Have Side Effects?
The only possible drawback is their fiber content, which may cause issues if you take too much of it (12). Excess fiber can cause flatulence, abdominal pain, or even constipation.
There is no study on how many tiger nuts one can consume. A handful of the nuts a day should do. Anything beyond that can cause stomach cramping and other issues due to its high fiber content.
Tiger nuts are certainly going to be all the rage in today’s healthy world. It is only a matter of time before the youngsters today discover the health benefits of these nuts and make them a part of their daily diet.
Give them a try and share your experiences with us by leaving a comment in the box below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I buy tiger nuts from?
You can buy tiger nuts at your nearest grocery store. You can also get them online.
- “Preparation Of Dietary Fiber Powder From Tiger Nut Milk Byproducts And Its Physicochemical Properties“. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Effect of Dietary Fiber on Constipation: A Meta-Analysis“. World Journal of Gastroenterology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Tiger Nut Commercialization: Health Aspects, Composition, Properties, and Food Applications“. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety.
- “Changes in Mineral Status are Associated with Improvements in Insulin Sensitivity in Obese Patients Following L-Arginine Supplementation“. European Journal of Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Nutritional, Antioxidant, Glycemic Index and Antihyperglycaemic Properties of Improved Traditional Plantain-Based Dough-Meal Enriched with Tigernut and Defatted Soybean Flour for Diabetic Patients“. Heliyon, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Monounsaturated Fatty Acid and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease…“. Nutrients, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “The LargPAD Trial: Phase IIA Evaluation of L-Arginine Infusion in Patients with Peripheral Artery Disease“. Journal of Vascular Surgery, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Influence of Cyperus esculentus Tubers (Tiger Nuts) on Male Rat Copulatory Behavior“. Biomedical Central Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Effect of Dietary Supplementation of Tiger Nut and Walnut on Sexual Behavior, Hormone Level, and Antioxidant Status in Male Rats“. Journal of Food Biochemistry.
- “Phytochemical Observation and Antibacterial Activity of Cyperus esculentus“. Ancient Science of Life, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Antibacterial Activities of the Methanol Extracts of Seven Cameroonian Dietary Plants Against Bacteria Expressing MDR Phenotypes“. SpringerPlus, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Stopping or reducing dietary fiber intake reduces…” World Journal of Gastroenterology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
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