Who wouldn't want to have tiger blood running through their veins? Grace, speed, beauty... tigers have it all. Discover the tiger nut benefits.April 11, 2019 2:12 pm
OK, eating organic granola containing tiger nut inside your city flat may not sound remotely like racing through the jungle with a wild cat. We do enjoy calling the tiger nut by its given name. After all, you’ve gotta take your blessings where you can… Want something even more sexy and exotic? In France, tiger nut is noix tigre!
Here’s an idea of how long people have been eating these marble-sized tubers, which are actually not nuts at all! Egyptian sarcophagi have contained tiger nuts along with other treasured possessions of the dead. Tiger nuts are enjoyed in Africa, as they have been for many centuries, as well as by Native Americans. During the 1970s, tiger nuts were sold in Asian shops in the UK. They contain a fantastic array of essential nutrients (more on this later)! Their restorative abilities are also valuable. Tiger nuts come in yellow, brown, or black. Yellow tiger nut is most often consumed.
These tubers arrived in Europe by way of Arabs who found themselves in the Iberian Peninsula. Subsequently, tiger nuts were farmed and harvested in Valencia, Spain. In Spanish, tiger nuts are chufas. Other names for this tuber are water grass, yellow nut-grass, or flat edge. A fan of the cinnamon-flavoured horchata drink found in many Latin countries? We adore this lightly creamy drink on hot days – there are few things as refreshing and gently sweet. We always thought that the main ingredient was rice milk. However, it surprised us to find out that the tiger nut is a traditional ingredient in horchata.
Farmers in the United States mainly use tiger nut to feed livestock. In other places, it is seen as a weed. This may change with its newfound popularity. In rural Brazil, tiger nuts are an aphrodisiac or used to treat venomous bites and stings from rainforest creatures.
Do tiger nuts resemble tigers or nuts?
Like tigers, tiger nuts are striped. Like nuts, they also happen to be wrinkly and brown. Not exactly what ‘noix tigre’ brings to mind! But we mustn’t judge a book by its cover… The leaves of this root plant are more vibrant in appearance, being a beautiful green in colour and a fierce spike in shape.
The flavour brings to mind coconuts, pecans, or almonds. Tiger nuts are called earth almonds in some parts of the world. It is wonderfully versatile as an ingredient. For instance, you can take your pick from gluten-free tiger nut flour, tiger nut milk, tiger nut butter, skinned tiger nuts… tiger nut smoothies, even satisfyingly rich tiger nut ice cream! We particularly enjoy blending tiger nuts with dates and coconut for a rich, sweet, but healthy kick. Enjoy tiger nuts right out of the ground, or you could roast or boil your raw tiger nuts. In addition, tiger nuts work well as a dried fruit snack. Soak dried tiger nuts for a few hours if you prefer a softer texture. Toasted, they’re lovely scattered on top of salads or soups as an alternative to seeds.
Later in this article, we tell you about our favourite ways to enjoy tiger nuts, and there’s no shortage of further inspiration out there. Recipes good for weaving into menus for all meals and over all the seasons are easily available.
What are the benefits of eating tiger nut?
Tiger nut benefits are quite impressive. Resistant starch fibres are valuable for their strength as prebiotics. To sum up, prebiotics help your body produce highly beneficial microorganisms in the stomach, colon, and gut. Your body cannot process resistant starch fibres. Thus, they nourish gut health and help keep your energy and hunger levels stable. In turn, this helps you stay steady and solid throughout challenging days. That is to say, tiger nuts are quite rich in resistant starch fibres. Research shows that the fibre contained in tigernuts may be able to help your body absorb bad cholesterol.(1) And that’s far from all!
Tiger nuts are also a source of iron, magnesium and plant-based proteins. Further, they offer a wide array of healthy fats like oleic and linoleic fatty acids, as well as calcium and vitamins C and E. Added to the way they lend themselves so easily to adaptable, nutritious and moist flours and milks, all this makes tiger nuts a quite excellent choice for anyone seeking to shift into a more plant-based diet.(2)(3)
In addition, tiger nuts contain potassium, which naturally opens up blood vessels. In other words, chufas are good choices for people seeking to lower blood pressure and promote heart health through a healthy diet.(4) Further, the complex carbohydrates in tiger nuts mean that they release energy slowly and thus can help control unhealthy blood sugar levels in diabetics and assist those keen to regulate a healthy weight.(5)
You can use tiger nut oil in a similar way to olive oil. However, tiger nut oil is higher in phytosterols. In short, these plant-based compounds are similar to cholesterol in animal fats. But phytosterols help lower bad cholesterol.(6) Studies also show that tigernut oil is anti-inflammatory and eases suffering caused by migraines and severe headaches.(7) Do you see why tiger nuts are being called a superfood? Granted, this is an overused and often underqualified term, but there are some cases where it is quite appropriate!
"Resistant starch fibres are valuable for their strength as prebiotics."
No less an expert than the World Health Organisation says that tiger nuts adequately satisfy the amount of daily essential amino acids.(8) What are essential amino acids as opposed to other amino acids? That is to say, the amino acids found in tiger nuts cannot be made in a lab and must be obtained from food. Amino acids help the body process proteins, ensuring adequate supply of energy.
We’re just gonna keep on going about tiger nut benefits… because we can! After all of this, is it any surprise that tiger nuts may also help fight malignant cells? Phytochemicals found in tiger nuts have been shown to lower the risk of colon cancer, which is one of the most formidable types of cancer. In addition, it also has the ability to combat damage to the liver from various sources.(9)
Is there a downside at all?
Even the most heavenly creatures have shortcomings. The drawbacks of tiger nuts make up a very short list though, especially compared with the remarkably lengthy one of their seemingly miraculous virtues! As with any fibre-packed food, excessive consumption of tiger nuts may result in constipation. Further, people with noted GI sensitivity should be especially cautious. Some individuals may be allergic to tiger nuts and reactions including flatulence, nausea, or vomiting have been observed.
Key tiger nut benefits
- Source of iron and magnesium
- Contains slow release carbs which keep you sated and satisfied for longer
- Source of fibre which has prebiotic properties
- Provides essential amino acids
- Promotes heart health
- Contains potent phytochemicals which combat liver damage
The tiger nuts used in Erbology products are certified organic. No added sugar, additives, or preservatives are used in their preparation. In addition, they are raw, vegan, gluten-free, and utterly delicious.
Tigernut in the Erbology kitchen…..
As well as being scrumptious, original, and satisfying all on its lonesome, our Organic Tigernut Granola lends itself very nicely to some special recipes. Don’t you know, we have one for every season, with a bonus two for autumn!
Writing this on a rainy grey day as we are, we’re longing right now for pumpkin pie made with a Nopal Tigernut Granola no-bake crust. Perfect for autumn, its rich, spiced filling complements the chewiness of the tigernut crust quite remarkably. For us, it’s the culinary equivalent of sliding into a steaming, warm bath sprinkled liberally with the finest lavender essential oils. The danger with this dish though is that you want to keep it all to yourself to savour nightly for a stretch of time.
Our streusel muffins with Chocolate Tigernut Granola are designed to share. We think of them as being what our fantasy German housewife would make to kvetch over on a coffee morning!
When the sun starts to show its face in spring though, it will probably be the wild fruit and chia parfait with Sea Buckthorn Tigernut Granola that calls our name seductively. The turmeric chia pudding layer is earthy and poignant, energising and soothing.
… for the summer… for the winter…
On those summer days when it’s really, really hot, the addition of Erbology Tigernut Granola to fresh fruit pops brings novelty and texture – just the thing to distract from fears of global warming and lull us into pure, if temporary, enjoyment of the sun. Certainly, not to appreciate it would make it all a complete, total waste. We can’t have that, can we?
And for the winter? Above all, you need the richest, darkest chocolate for those dark, wet days when all you can muster up is sitting on the sofa covered in woolly rugs, reading and munching. Our recipe for a raw dark chocolate bar introduces tigernut granola for texture. Think of it as the healthy, multifaceted substitution for puffed rice in those milk chocolate bars you ate as a child. Coconut flakes and raw pumpkin seeds are lovely finishing touches.
(1) Lopez-Marcos et al, “Effects of various fibre-rich extracts on cholesterol binding capacity during in vitro digestion of pork patties.” Food & Function, 2015, https://bit.ly/2CZPLGb.
(2) Nazish, Noma, “What Are Tiger Nuts And Why Should You Eat Them?”, Forbes, 2018, https://bit.ly/2K90Lau.
(3) Oladele AK and Aina JO, “Chemical composition and functional properties of flour produced from two varieties of tigernut (Cyperus esculentus)”, African Journal of Biotechnology, 2007, https://bit.ly/2YSzAnm.
(4) Bado et al, “Physicochemical Characteristics and Composition of Three Morphotypes of Cyperus esculentus Tubers and Tuber Oils”, Journal of Analytical Methods in Chemistry, 2015, https://bit.ly/2UyyTk2.
(5)Sanchez-Zapata et al, “Tiger Nut (Cyperus esculentus) Commercialization: Health Aspects, Composition, Properties, and Food Applications”, 2012, https://bit.ly/2YSgFZR.
(6) Qullez et al, “Potential uses and benefits of phytosterols in diet: present situation and future directions,” Clinical Nutrition, 2003, https://bit.ly/2uOqvhP.
(7) Biradar et al, “ANTIINFLAMMATORY, ANTIARTHRITIC, ANALGESIC AND ANTICONVULSANT ACTIVITY OF CYPERUS ESSENTIAL OILS”, International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2010, https://bit.ly/2ORamBf.
(8) Bosch et al, “RP-HPLC determination of tiger nut and orgeat amino acid contents”, Food Science and Technology International, 2005, https://bit.ly/2K9i3Et.
(9) Onuoha et al, “Tigernut (Cyperus esculentus L.) “milk” as a potent “nutri-drink” for the prevention of acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity in a murine model”, Journal of Intercultural Ethnopharmacology, 2017, https://bit.ly/2K9izSV.