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What are the Health Benefits of Tiger Nuts?

Tiger nuts are small brown nut shaped crops. Interestingly, Tiger nuts are not nuts at all. They are root tubers of the sage family and native to Southern Europe, Africa, Asia and Madagascar. Dried Tiger nuts are sweet and nutty and commonly eaten raw, roasted, dried and baked. Tiger nut drink is also a creamy delicious extract from dried Tiger nuts.

In West Africa, Tiger nuts are popular snacks. They are called ncɔkɔn in Mali and in Nigeria they have a host of names: Dyula, Aya, Hausa Groundnut, Ofio, Keegun, Isip Osong, Aya or Aki Awusa.

Apart from their creamy nutty flavor, Tiger nuts have a host of health benefits.

Tiger Nuts

Improves Digestion

Tiger nuts are rich in fiber with an estimated 33% fiber content. They are also rich in insoluble fiber that helps to improve digestibility and relieve constipation. Tiger nut also has a higher fiber content when compared to other fiber sources like oats, rice bran, carrots, cabbages and apples.

Rich Source of Magnesium

Tiger nuts are rich in magnesium, an essential mineral useful in maintaining normal muscle and nerve function, blood pressure, protein synthesis and blood sugar regulation. Tiger nuts contain about 13-17% magnesium.

Rich in Vitamins C and E

Tiger nuts are rich in vitamins C and E, powerful antioxidants that block the destructive actions of free radicals. These antioxidants also boost the immune system, promote rapid wound healing and prevent cancer. Vitamin C prevents scurvy, a connective tissue disease affecting the gums.

Rich in Protein

For a tuber crop, Tiger nuts are surprisingly rich in protein, particularly arginine. Arginine is a potent vasodilator and useful in providing relief from medical conditions like coronary artery disease, erectile dysfunction, muscle cramps and headaches.

Rich in Potassium

Tiger nuts are superb sources of potassium. Potassium is an essential mineral useful in maintaining membrane of cells. Potassium is also useful in maintaining normal muscle contractions, blood pressure and digestive functions.

Nutritious Substitute for Lactose Intolerance

Tiger nut milk is a nutritious milk substitute for those with lactose intolerance. Tiger nut is rich in calcium which is necessary for healthy bone development. Fortunately, Tiger nut doesn’t contain lactose.

Improves Cardiovascular Function

Tiger nut is rich in arginine, potassium and vitamin E. These nutrients are necessary in maintaining and improving normal heart function.

Improves Erectile Dysfunction

Tiger nut is rich in arginine, a potential vasodilator which improves erectile dysfunction. Although there is no medical evidence, tiger nut is also believed to be a potent aphrodisiac. This explains why Tiger nut milk is a popular drink for most men in Nigeria and Ghana.

Increases Good Cholesterol

Tiger nut has a good amount of oleic acid, a mono unsaturated fatty acid that increases high density lipoprotein. High density lipoprotein, commonly called good cholesterol is important in maintaining the integrity of cellular membrane. Tiger nut oil is a good substitute for saturated fatty acids like palm oil and coconut oil.

Controls Blood Sugar

The high content of insoluble fiber in Tiger nuts makes it an excellent anti glycemic agent. Also, Tiger nuts is rich in mono unsaturated fatty acids which maintains good glycemic control.

Vegan Source of Protein

Tiger nuts are excellent vegan substitutes for protein. Like soya bean, Tiger nuts contain the right mix of essential and non essential protein needed for cellular repair and formation.

Weight Loss

Because of its high fiber content, Tiger nuts are eaten as snacks to increase satiety. Tiger nuts also improve glycemic control, increase excretion of cholesterol and formation of good cholesterol HDL cholesterol.

Prevent Colon Cancer

The high fiber content in Tiger nuts makes it an excellent laxative and cleanser of the colon. Tiger nut improves digestibility and bowel motility, thereby reducing contact time for harmful toxins and free radicals. Tiger nuts are also rich in anti oxidants that prevent development of cancerous cells.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

Because of its rich content of mono unsaturated fatty acids, Tiger nuts have anti inflammatory properties that protect important organs like the heart, liver and kidneys.

Rich in Calcium

Tiger nuts are high in calcium. This health benefit makes them an ideal snack for children and adolescents who have higher dietary needs for calcium. Calcium is necessary in the growth and development of healthy and strong bones.

There is so much goodness packed in a small brown nut. Tiger nuts are crunchy, creamy, nutty and tasty. Talk about tasty nutrition! You can treat yourself to these health benefits by sharing a plate or two of Tiger nuts with family and friends. Better still, you can treat yourself to a cold, creamy glass of Tiger nut milk. Enjoy!