Tiger nut is one superfood in high demand in the market and a delight to many. Although this scrumptious treat is usually eaten as a snack, they are packed with a lot of nutritional benefits that can boost your immune system.
These wrinkled, marble-sized edible tubers are small, tuberous rhizomes of a sedge grass (cyperus esculentus lativum) and have been cultivated for thousands of years.
They are also called yellow nutsedge, chufa, earth almond, and nutgrass. Tiger nuts are available in three varieties: brown, black, and yellow.
This super-nutritious food, which has a blend of coconut and almond flavours, obtained its name from the tiger-striped appearance on its exterior.
Although tiger nuts are regarded as weeds in some parts of the world, they are rich in antioxidants and traditionally used as oral medicine and enemas. They are also used as animal feeds and serve as a form of biofuel, fishing bait, and anti-ageing beauty products.
They can be eaten fresh, boiled, roasted, dried, or juiced. Whichever form you prefer, tiger nuts have been shown to provide an interesting and tremendous impact on health and well-being.
- Reduction of blood glucose levels
Tiger nuts have relatively low carbohydrate content, implying that they are great for people with diabetes.
A 2010 Pakistan Journal of Nutrition showed that tiger nut extract might help reduce blood sugar levels due to the high amounts of fibre they contain, which slows the digestion of starch and stabilizes blood sugar levels.
Also, the protein in tiger nuts contains a high ratio of the amino acid called arginine which may boost insulin production and sensitivity, both of which are significant for blood sugar management.
- It enhances digestive health
Tiger nuts can help balance the digestive system and annihilates digestive-related problems like constipation, diarrhoea, acid reflux and indigestion.
They are abundant in fibre which aids in curbing constipation while speeding up digestion and nutrient absorption.
A 2012 Publication of Medicine on a meta-analysis of the effect of dietary fibre on constipation revealed that dietary fibre has a significant advantage over placebo in stool frequency, and it is potent to relieve constipation and other digestive related problems.
Also, tiger nuts contain resistant starch, a type of fibre that functions as a prebiotic that promotes the growth of good gut bacteria.
It is important to note that resistant starch may temporarily upset the stomach, causing gas and bloating. So, introduce them (tiger nuts) to your diet slowly as the stomach adjusts.
- It may act as an aphrodisiac
An aphrodisiac is a drug or food that boosts sexual desires, and tiger nuts have been used in Ayurvedic medicine for the same purpose. To confirm these claims, Several laboratory studies have been done.
In a 2013 International Journal of Drug Development and Research, 18 adult male rats were divided into three groups. The group which were given cyperus esculentus extract for over a month showed increased sperm count and regeneration effect on their destroyed testicular histology.
In some parts of Africa, tiger nuts have been used as a medication for erectile dysfunction, increasing libido, and boosting sperm count.
- They are abundant in antioxidants and nutrients
Antioxidants are natural compounds in plants that can prohibit or slow down cell damage induced by free radicals or unstable molecules in the body.
Also, tiger nuts are rich in antinutrients, such as oxalates, phytates, tannins, and saponins which may reduce nutrient absorption. Luckily, germinating or roasting them lowers their antinutrient levels, thus improving their nutrient absorption.
A 2012 Comprehensive Review in Food Science and Safety in The Institute of Food Technology in Chicago revealed that tiger nuts have a high fibre and protein content. They are also rich in oleic acid, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins C and E.
- They boost heart health
Tiger nuts help keep the heart in good condition. This may be because of the high amount of monounsaturated fats they contain.
Foods rich in monounsaturated fats are associated with lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. They are also linked with a reduced chance of heart attack, stroke, and death from heart disease.
- It may improve your immune system and aid in fighting infections
Tiger nuts contribute to a more robust immune system.
A 2009 research carried out at the Department of Biochemistry, College of Arts and Science, India, showed that tiger nut extracts were tested against different types of bacteria that can cause an infection in humans. The extract was effective against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus, and Salmonella bacteria.
Another 2013 study at the Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Dschang substantiates this claim. The researchers added that tiger nut extracts might also be effective in fighting antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.
You could help your immune system fight infections by adding tiger nuts to your diet.
Regardless of the name, tiger nuts are not actually nuts but tubers with a shape and taste similar to nuts. One serving of this fantastic small but mighty food could get you all set for the day. You should add this up to your diet and enjoy the numerous health benefits.