Despite what the name may imply, tiger nuts are actually small tubers, not nuts. They are an ancient ‘superfood’ and were first recognised as having incredible nutritional and health benefits some 4000 years ago. Tiger nuts have been used by the ancient Egyptians who recognised their healing properties, in Ayurvedic medicine and in Africa as medicine and food. Not forgetting that they are best known today for their use in making tiger nut milk, or “horchata“, which has been consumed for hundreds of years in Spain. If these don’t sound like enough reasons to try them already then read on for our Top 5 Health Benefits of Tiger Nuts!
1. High fibre
Tiger nuts contain over 30% fibre, exceeding that of oats and most fruits and vegetables. We need sufficient fibre to keep our digestive system working efficiently and to help rid our bodies of toxins and waste. A fibre rich diet can also aid weight loss because it helps us feel fuller for longer. Fibre is also associated with major disease prevention including heart disease, cancer etc.
2. Good source of magnesium
Research has found that 100g of tiger nut flour provides between 13-17% of our daily magnesium requirements. Magnesium is vital for several important functions and biochemical reactions in the body, such as nerve and muscle function, regulation of blood sugar, maintenance of normal blood pressure levels, strengthening bones, processing protein and maintaining a healthy immune system.
3. Excellent source of non-animal protein
Tiger Nuts may be the answer for vegans and vegetarians alike who all too often hear the tiresome question “but where do you get your protein?”. Protein plays an essential role in building and repairing bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. With an impressive protein content which is 8% higher than that of wholemeal wheat as well as being packed with amino acids, tiger nuts can sufficiently meet our protein needs.
4. Healthy non-dairy milk substitute
Tiger nut milk, otherwise known as “horchata”, is a great alternative to dairy milk and is ideal for those who are lactose or gluten intolerant, or have a nut allergy. It has a high content of minerals, phosphor, calcium, magnesium, iron and vitamins and has the highest nutritional value among all the non-dairy milks. Who said we need dairy milk for calcium?
5. Packed with resistant starch
Resistant starch is a prebiotic fibre that acts as food for the good bacteria in the digestive tract. It helps optimise digestive health, reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, which is helpful for diabetics. This fermentable insoluble fibre also reduces hunger and cravings because it takes a while to be digested.
There are numerous other benefits of tiger nuts so it comes as no surprise that they are considered nutritionally powerful, as well as being used to fight malnutrition in places like Africa. If you are looking for a superfood that covers a wide range of nutritional bases then tiger nuts may well be your answer!