Tiger nuts: are they really a super food?

Tiger nuts: are they really a super food?


Tiger Nuts , also known as chufa , yellow walnut or earth almonds , are not actually nuts, but edible tubers . They are the size of a small bean, wrinkled in appearance with a chewy texture and a sweetish nutty – coconut flavor . Tiger nuts were one of the first plants cultivated in Egypt and traditionally used both as food and for medicinal purposes. They are packed with a variety of nutrients and boast numerous health benefits, such asfacilitate digestion , absorption of sugars and support the immune system .

Tiger Nuts: Nutritional Properties

Tiger Nuts, or chufa , contain a number of beneficial plant compounds and nutrients. Their specific nutrient content depends on the type. There are three main varieties of tiger nuts: black, brown and yellow. They are a source of antioxidants , beneficial compounds that protect the body from aging and heart disease . Sprouting tiger nuts before eating them increases their antioxidant content. Tiger Nuts, however, also contain anti-nutrients, such as phytates , oxalates , saponins and tannins , which can reduce nutrient absorption in the intestines. Sprouting or roasting tubers before consuming them reduces their anti-nutrient levels, making it easier for the body to absorb and use the many nutrients they contain.

Nutritional values

Values ​​for a 30 g portion of Tiger Nuts (or chufa):

  • Calories :  103–121
  • Fiber:  2-7 grams
  • Carbohydrates:  9 grams
  • Protein :  1 gram
  • Fat :  7-9 grams
  • Vitamin E :  278% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Iron :  13–40% of DV
  • Phosphorus :  9–11% of the DV
  • Vitamin C :  2-8% of the DV
  • Magnesium :  7% of the DV
  • Zinc :  5-7% of the DV
  • Potassium :  3-5% of the DV
  • Calcium :  1% of DV

How to eat Tiger Nuts?

Tiger Nuts are very versatile and can be added to the diet in a variety of ways. They can be eaten raw or roasted, or boiled, as a savory snack , or as a topping for a variety of dishes, such as breakfast cereals , smoothies, salads , and yogurts . They can also be ground up and used in bread dough or other baked goods .

Ground tiger nuts are a great gluten-free substitute for flour . They can also be used as a binder in making veggie burgers . In Spain they are used to make a popular vegetable drink known as horchata de chufa .

Digestive properties of Tiger Nuts

Tiger Nuts or Chufa can promote proper digestion . Thanks to their supply of insoluble fibers , which pass through the intestines without being digested, they add volume to the stools and help food move easily in the intestines, counteracting episodes of constipation . It is also believed that tiger nuts contain resistant starch , a starchy molecule indigestible by humans and therefore classifiable among the prebioic factors. They contain enzymes , such as catalase, lipase and amylase , which are able to break down food in the intestine, avoiding the formation of gasand counteracting diarrhea .


They help in the absorption of sugars

TigerNuts can help keep  blood sugar levels in check. This may be largely due to the high fiber content of the tubers which can slow down the absorption of sugar in the intestines. They are also rich in arginine , an amino acid that can increase insulin production and sensitivity, both of which are important for blood sugar control . Additionally, test-tube studies show that tiger nut extract can inhibit the action of enzymes that digest carbohydrates in the intestine.

Tiger Nuts: Beneficial properties for the heart and the immune system

Tiger nuts may also be good for heart health . This is partly due to the high amount of monounsaturated fats they contain, which give them a lipid profile similar to that of olive oil . Diets high in monounsaturated fat are linked to lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol . They are also associated with a lower risk of heart attack , stroke and developing heart disease. Furthermore, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, tiger nuts are rich in the amino acid arginine, which is useful in the production of nitric oxide, a compound that helps arteries and veins dilate, thereby lowering blood pressure , contributing to better blood circulation and a lower likelihood of blood clots , factors that can reduce the risk of heart disease.

Tiger nuts can help boost the immune system. In a test-tube study, tiger nut extracts were tested against several types of bacteria that can infect humans. The extract was found to be effective against E. coli ,  Staphylococcus  and  Salmonella bacteria  . Another cell study found similar results. The researchers added that tiger nut extracts could also be effective at fighting antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections .



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