Tigernut, also known as Cyperus esculentus, is a small tuber that belongs to the sedge family, Cyperaceae. Despite its name, tiger nut is not a nut but a root vegetable commonly referred to as chufa, earth almond, or yellow nutsedge.

Tigernuts have a long history of cultivation and consumption, dating back to ancient Egypt. They are native to the Mediterranean region but are currently grown in different parts of the world, which includes Africa, Asia, and America. Tigernuts are typically harvested in the fall when the tubers are matured.

These small, knobby tubers have a sweet, nutty flavor and a chewy texture. They can be consumed raw, dried, or roasted and are usually used in culinary applications such as:

  1. Tigernut Milk: Tigernuts can be blended with water and fruits of choice to make a dairy-free milk alternative that is naturally sweet and creamy.
  2. Snacks: Tigernuts can be enjoyed as a nutritious snack on their own or mixed with other ingredients like dried fruit and nuts.
  3. Baked Goods: Tigernut flour, made from ground tigernuts, can be used as a gluten-free flour substitute in baking recipes.
  4. Smoothies and Shakes: Tigernut milk or tigernut flour can be added to smoothies and shakes for added flavor and nutrition.

In addition to their culinary uses, tiger nuts are also valued for their nutritional benefits. They are rich in fiber, healthy fats, vitamins (such as vitamins E and C), minerals (which include iron, magnesium, and potassium), and antioxidants. Tigernuts are also gluten-free and are suitable for individuals with nut allergies.

 

Benefits of Tigernuts

  1. Nutritional Composition:
  • Tigernuts are rich in fiber, healthy fats, vitamins (such as vitamins E and C), minerals (including iron, magnesium, and potassium), and antioxidants.
  • They are also a good source of plant-based proteins and carbohydrates.

 

  1. Digestive Health:
  • The high fiber content of tiger nuts may promote digestive health by aiding regular bowel movements, preventing constipation, and promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
  • Some study suggests that tigernuts may have prebiotic effects, which can contribute to a healthy gut microbiome.
  1. Heart Health:
  • Tigernuts contain heart-healthy fats, such as oleic acid and linoleic acid, which may help reduce cholesterol levels and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • The potassium content in tigernuts may also help to regulate blood pressure and support heart health.
  1. Weight Management: The fiber and resistant starch content of tigernuts may help promote feelings of fullness and satiety, which can aid in weight management and appetite control.
  2. Blood Sugar Regulation: Tigernuts have a low glycemic index, which means they are beneficial in the management of blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  3. Hormonal Balance: Some nutritional components found in tigernuts, such as vitamin E and Zinc plays an important role in hormone production and its regulation, which are vital for reproductive health and sexual function.

 

 

References

  1. Marangoni, F., & Montorfano, G. (2017). A history of the Mediterranean diet pyramid. In Mediterranean Diet (pp. 25-39). Springer, Cham.
  2. Segura-Campos, M. R., Ciau-Solís, N., Rosado-Rubio, G., Chel-Guerrero, L., & Betancur-Ancona, D. (2014). Physicochemical characterization of a fibrous fraction from Cyperus esculentus (tiger nut) tuber oil extraction. Food science & nutrition, 2(6), 678-686.
  3. Yao, Y., & Sang, W. (2018). Tiger nut (Cyperus esculentus L.) oil: a review on its composition and properties. International Journal of Food Properties, 21(1), 1677-1687.
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By Helen

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