Have you heard of tiger nuts before? Phew I wasn’t alone then! They are also known as Nigerian tiger nut, a nut grass, chufa or yellow nuts edge.
I came about these little guys while researching a different blog idea. I had never heard of tiger nuts before and was automatically intrigued by them and curious to find out more. They are not even really a nut, in fact they are a small tuber which are native to the Northern Hemisphere. I began examining these and found they are really good for your health! One of the best things about these ‘nuts’ are that people with nut allergies can eat them. Tiger nuts are not related to the nut family at all and are safe to consume for people with nut allergies.
Tiger nuts are a good source of protein, carbohydrate and fibre. They also contain vitamins and minerals like magnesium, iron and zinc and what’s not to like about a crunchy snack which contains all this goodness? It beats me!
Tiger nuts are great for:
- Boosting the immune system
- Relieving stress
- Solving insomnia
- As a milk substitute
- Preventing anaemia
- Fighting malnutrition
Above are only a sample of the great health benefits of tiger nuts. I feel these selected few are beneficial but I won’t go into all of them because I think I will lose an audience or put an audience to sleep if I went on and talked about all 25 benefits of them….
So firstly, because Ireland is Ireland and we get all sorts of weather be it Spring, Summer, Winter or Autumn, we need to keep our immune systems in tip top order. Research has found that consuming tiger nuts helps boost our immune system by fighting destructive bacteria and helping the good bacteria thrive. This is done through the work of antioxidants which are molecules fighting off a process called oxidative1.
Secondly, we live in a life where technology is everywhere and shutting off at night is difficult, especially when you have been on the go all day and know you are going to be busy tomorrow. Your brain sometimes does not shut off and as soon as your head touches the pillow to go to sleep the thoughts go flying around. We have all been there, don’t worry! However, you may be relieved to know that consuming these nuts in a Spanish dish called Horchata or as a milk alternative, gives you a full list of nutrients and helps relax us. It contains vitamin B1 (thiamine), which aids in balancing the nervous system and allows the body to adapt to stress making it easier to shut off at night and get the zzz we need2.
You may have noticed I have mentioned using tiger nuts as a milk alternative throughout this blog. Well its true, which is great news for individuals who are trying to limit their dairy or lactose intake. This tiger nut milk contains high quantities of calcium (900mg/Kg) and low levels of lactose and fat. A perfect alternative. This milk can be another option instead of the regular nut milks and is great as another alternative for vegetarians and vegans.
These nuts could help the world meet the global 2025 targets for tackling anaemia and malnutrition. Many people in the world are both anaemic and malnourished, which is leading to many people developing other illnesses and premature death3. Eating tiger nuts relieves anaemia as they contain iron, a vital component to improving haemoglobin level. A low haemoglobin level results in developing anaemia. These nuts are also a great source of nutrients for individuals who are malnourished. Tiger nuts can provide individuals with both great macronutrients (carbohydrates, fibre, fat) and micronutrients (calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and sodium).
Tiger nuts are great, they really are but don’t start shovelling them in and consuming a high quantity of them. It is recommended that you start with consuming 10-20 nuts a day to try them out, see if they agree with you. Even when your body is used to these tiger nuts, it is best if you do not eat more than 100g of them a day. This is important because they do contain 40% of our daily dietary fibre recommendation and between 13-17% of our daily dose of magnesium. Eating too much will result in abdominal discomfort due to the fibre content which may result in bloating and/or diarrhoea – and nobody wants that!
So I’ll be back in a while, I’m off to find myself some tiger nuts!
- S, Jing., W, Ouyang., Z, Ren., H, Xiang., Z, Ma. (2013) The in vitro and in vivo antioxidant properties of Cyperus esculentus oil from Xinjiang, China. Journal of the Science of Food Agriculture. Vol.93(6).
- F,N, Oguwike., B,C, Eluke., R,I, Eze., C,M, Asika., P,N, Nwosu., C, Nwafor., C, Onumonu. (2017) The effects of Cyperus esculentus (Tiger nut) on Haematological and Biochemical Profile of Male Hypercholesteraemic Subjects in Uli, Anambra State Nigeria. DOI: http://doi.org/10.15580/GJMS.2017.4.061717075.
- World Health Organisation (2014) Global Nutrition Targets 2025 (WHO/NMH/NHD/14.2). Geneva: World Health Organisation. Geneva.