Tiger nuts, one of the hottest superfoods on the market, are not, in fact, nuts. These wrinkled, marble-sized orbs are small, tuberous rhizomes of a sedge grass (cyperus esculentus lativum) that’s been cultivated for millennia around the world.
With a flavor reminiscent of both coconut and almond, they earn their name from a tiger-striped exterior. They can be eaten freshly dug out of the ground, or roasted, boiled, or juiced.
What we do know: Tiger nuts are super high in resistant starch fiber, which has been getting a lot of buzz for its weight loss benefits, says Gina Consalvo, RD. Resistant starch passes through the stomach and small intestine without being digested, and may even help you lose weight by reducing blood sugar spikes and keeping you fuller longer than other foods with the same number of calories, she says. It also benefits your gut by acting as a prebiotic, stimulating the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract.
Tiger nuts and their contribution of natural vitamins and minerals
Tiger nuts are a great source of natural minerals. They mainly provide calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus and zinc. Calcium helps to keep teeth and bones healthy, intervenes in blood coagulation and in the transmission of nerve impulses. Magnesium is also involved in the formation of teeth and bones, and also helps maintain the activity of muscles and nerves, promoting a healthy immune system.
Potassium and sodium help in the correct functioning of nerves and muscles, they are essential for the correct growth of the organism. Phosphorus also participates in the storage and correct use of energy and zinc intervenes in the development and growth of the reproductive organs and in the function of the senses of taste and smell.
“Tiger nuts are a considered a superfood as they provide a great number of nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus and zinc and vitamins E, C and folic acid.”
Tiger nuts are also a source of vitamins E and C. While VItamin E which helps prevent haemolysis, vitamin C, promotes the formation of collagen and the absorption of iron for the protection of bones and teeth. Both vitamins have an antioxidant function, helping in the production of red blood cells and the protection of cell membranes.
The folic acid provided by the tuber (also known as Vitamin B9) helps the formation of red and white blood cells and the content in Vitamin B6 intervenes in the functioning of nerve cells and in the formation of antibodies and red blood cells. Moreover, thiamine (B1) and riboflavin (B2) are vitamins, which are also present in tiger nuts, and are involved in energy metabolism. Finally, we can mention tiger nuts also contain niacin, which helps generate sexual hormones. This makes tiger nuts some kind of a nutrient cocktail and why they have been highly regarded along history for their health healing properties.
Medicinal values of tiger nut:
In addition to a large number of minerals and vitamins provided by tiger nuts, they are a source of natural energy thanks to its content of starch and sucrose, necessary to carry out the vital functions and promote growth. Their high fibre content, similar to whole grains, nuts and fruits, helps to keep the gut happy, improving constipation symptoms, reduce cholesterol and enhance glycemic control.
Tiger nuts are a good source of vegetable proteins since they contain a large number of essential amino acids. For example, they contain both lysine, that participates in the formation of collagen; and glycine, that is a neurotransmitter.
Oleic acid helps to decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol, increase HDL (good cholesterol) and at the same time, helps to control triglycerides. The most abundant amino acid in tiger nuts is arginine, which is needed in the synthesis of urea.
In addition, tiger nuts also contain a significant amount of polyphenols, which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antihypertensive properties. It has been demonstrated that the consumption of a small daily serving of tiger nuts is beneficial for our health.
Benefits of tiger nuts during pregnancy and lactation:
Pregnancy and lactation are processes in which the mother must take special consideration on her nutrition and diet, with the aim of taking care of the health and growth of the baby.
The possible benefits of tiger nuts in pregnancy are given by the varied contribution of essential amino acids, which provide a large number of vegetable origin proteins. Tiger nuts are a natural source of calcium, that helps to build strong and healthy bones and teeth. Finally, tiger nuts provide glycine that contributes to the formation of neurotransmitters and to strengthen cell membranes.
Tiger nuts are ideal to complement a balanced and healthy diet during the gestation process, which can be done for example by introducing horchata as medical studies point it out that it favours the growth of the fetus. The fact that tiger nut milk lacks caffeine, taurine, gas or other stimulating substances, results in a natural energy drink, healthy and refreshing for the mother.
If you want to know more about the advantages of including this tuber in your daily diet, this post will provide all the information you need