Do you want to cure your current health issues and get all the essential nutrients in your body at the same time? If so, then you need to eat tiger nuts (known also as Cyperus esculentus, earth almonds, nut grass or yellow nutsedge). Now you might be wondering what tiger nuts are and what their health benefits are. This article will inform you about tiger nuts, their health benefits and possible side effects.
What are tiger nuts
Tiger nut is a nut belonging to the crop of the sedge family which is spread all over the world. It is present mostly in the Western Hemisphere and the Southern Europe, Madagascar, Africa, Indian Subcontinent and the Middle East. It has also become quite common in many other regions including China, Hawaii, Ukraine, New Guinea, New South Wales, Java and various oceanic islands.
The tiger nuts crop can be found as weed, crop or in the wild. There is evidence that it was cultivated in Egypt since the sixth millennium BC and for several centuries in Southern Europe. This crop is cultivated due to its edible tubers known as tiger nuts or almonds for the preparation of “horchata de chufa”, a sweet milk-like beverage. But it is considered as a weed in most countries
Nutritional value of tiger nuts
Earth almonds (tiger nuts) are filled with different kinds of nutrients. The following table will help you know better about the nutritional composition of tiger nuts
Composition of Tiger Nuts Tuber (g/100 g)
Health benefits of tiger nuts
Tiger nuts are quite healthy and help to prevent heart attacks, thrombosis and activation of blood circulation. They also prevent cancer due to the high content of soluble glucose. Some investigators have also found that they have the ability of reducing colon cancer. They have high fiber content and delicious taste which makes themideal for healthy eating.
Some major health benefits of tiger nuts are described below:
1. High fiber content
The tiger nuts have quite a high fiber content in them. They have higher fiber content than oats, cabbage, carrot, plums and Chia seeds. This fiber helps the organism to prevent constipation. It also acts as an appetite suppressant and helps to control body weight.
Cardiologists recommend eating tiger nuts because they have the similar lipid profile to olive oil which is considered one of the healthiest oils.
2. Blood pressure control
Tiger nuts are quite helpful in controlling the blood pressure of the body. These nuts have high amount of amino acids in them. There are different type of amino acids present in tiger nuts but arginine is regarded as the most commonly found amino acid.
The Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research has named arginine the forerunner of nitric oxide which keep our blood vessels wide enough to allow the normal blood flow. Arginine helps in conditions which are worsened by restricted blood vessels like heart failure, blocked arteries, chest pain, artery diseases not affecting the heart or brain, muscle cramps, erectile dysfunction and headaches caused by swollen blood vessels.
3. Helpful against malnutrition in under developed nations
Tiger nuts are essential nuts and locally grown food source for fighting malnutrition in places like Africa. They have a higher amount of starch, good fiber content, a high fat content, rich in sodium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, copper, manganese and zinc and also have a higher amount of vitamin C and E content. Many important amino acids and some B-complex vitamins are also present in tiger nuts. They are quite good for diabetics and can be consumed roasted, dried or raw
4. Helps in regulating blood sugar levels
One of the great health benefits of tiger nuts is that they are helpful in managing blood sugar levels. They have insoluble fiber in them which is quite helpful for diabetic patients. Insoluble fiber is quite essential for diabetic patients because they don’t cause ups and downs in the blood sugar levels.
5. Good source of vitamins
Different reports have suggested that tiger nuts are packed with minerals and vitamins. They have high content of vitamin E and C in them and also minerals like phosphorous and potassium. Yogurt is now made of added tiger nut milk for improving the nutritional content.
Tiger nuts are quite beneficial for the digestive system. They are used for dealing with stomach cramps, irritable bowels and other stomach issues. They have been used in traditional medicine for curing diarrhea and flatulence. They are also quite helpful in treating dysentery and indigestion.
7. Protection against cancer and cardiovascular diseases
Tiger nuts have a rich content of vitamin E in them. The Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institute of Health suggests that Vitamin E belongs to a group of fat soluble compounds with unique antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals which are the molecules with unshared electron.
The unshared electron interacts with oxygen to create reactive oxygen species which is damaging to the body. Vitamin E also protects the body by stopping the development of reactive oxygen species. Research has proven that vitamin E has colorectal cancer prevention properties
8. Healthy substitute for lactose intolerance
The milk obtained from tiger nuts is quite a healthy substitute for people who can’t drink cow’s milk due to lactose intolerance. Tiger nut doesn’t have any lactose in it and can be eaten as a substitute of milk which has high content of calcium in it and helps in bone building and growth of children. The tiger nuts milk has the highest nutrition among all the non-milk substitutes.
9. Good source of magnesium
The Office of Dietary Supplements suggests that magnesium is quite important for the normal functioning of the body because it carries out over 300 biometric reactions in the human body. Some previous studies have suggested that a 100 g of tiger nuts has about 13 to 17 percent of magnesium which promotes the normal nerve and muscle functioning, maintains blood pressure, maintains blood sugar levels, strengthens the bones and keep a person healthy.
10. High iron content
Vegan diets are more efficient when the iron intake isn’t diminished. When you add tiger nuts to your diet then your overall health becomes better because this vegetable root has high iron content in it. Tiger nuts contain more than iron than the milk of cow and as much as liver or red meat. You can snack on tiger nuts or bake them with tiger nut flour. You can add plenty of vitamins and minerals by eating tiger nuts. It strengthens your whole body.
11. Prevention of diseases
Tiger nuts have amino acids like arginine which create an effective way to keep the heart diseases at bay. Arginine helps in decreasing the chances of blocked arteries, erectile dysfunction and muscle cramps. The presence of vitamin E in tiger nuts helps in avoiding heart diseases and cancer. These nuts are beneficial especially against colon cancer by feeding the friendly bacteria which are passed by other foods. The starch in tiger nuts also helps in proper digestive functioning and insulin sensitivity.
12. Starch resistant
Tiger nuts are the best whole food source of a specific type of fiber known as resistant starch. The pleasant flavor and texture adds to it. Resistant starch is a beneficial pre-biotic which means that it feeds on the good bacteria in the digestive system.
Resistant starch has been a hot topic of debate in the health world and more research has shown the unique benefits of this plant fiber. For example, research has indicated that starch resistant is a powerful factor in preventing and treating diabetes and obesity. But one thing should be kept in mind that introducing starch resistant foods like tiger nuts in your diet may produce symptoms of a shift in gut flora. You should introduce tiger nuts slowly and observe if you experience any symptoms of gas or bloating. If you observe these symptoms then you need to slowly increase the tiger nuts in your daily diet starting at just one or two per day.
13. Good source of non-meat proteins
Protein is quite important for a person’s diet. The United States Department of Agriculture states that it helps in building bone, cartilage, muscles, skin and blood and functions like a building block for enzymes, vitamins and hormones in our body. Protein also keeps us energetic throughout the day.
A 2007 conducted in the University of Ibadan in Ibadan, Nigeria was conducted in which the researchers discovered that tiger nuts are an excellent source of obtaining protein from plant matter (9.7%) which is almost equal to protein from whole wheat (9.8%).
14. Boosting potassium in the body
Tiger nuts have high potassium content in them and the University Of Maryland Medical Center states that it is an essential mineral which helps in the proper functioning of the cell and other body organs, particularly the heart. Potassium is quite essential for the body to maintain the regulation of muscle contraction, digestive functions and controlling blood pressure levels.
15. Rival to the ‘Heart Healthy’ oils
Most people know that avocados and olive oil are good fats but you might not know that tiger nuts also come in the same category. They have good fats which comes from vegetables and not animal fats which are high in cholesterol. The oil from tiger nuts has only 18% saturated fat and 82% unsaturated fat which is close to olive oil with 14% saturated fat and 86% unsaturated fat.
16. Controlling diabetes
The highly insoluble dietary fiber in tiger nuts helps in regulating the blood sugar levels which in turn helps the diabetic patients to remain healthy.