TIGER nuts, also known as chufa, yellow nuts edge or earth almonds are not actually nuts, but rather edible tubers. They’re the size of a chickpea, but wrinkly with a chewy texture and sweet nutty flavour similar to coconut and it is difficult to consume them in their raw form, as they are hard on the teeth, so people soak them in water or even make milk out of them.
It is one of the first plants cultivated in Egypt and traditionally used as both food and medicine. They’re rich in a variety of nutrients and have been linked to several health benefits ranging from better digestion to reduction of the risk of heart disease.
Tiger nuts are a hypoallergenic super food, which means that they are not very likely to cause allergies and they are very nutritious. It’s a source of sugar, dietary fibre, carbohydrates, phosphorus, zinc, potassium, protein, fat, calcium, magnesium, sodium, as well as vitamins C and E. All of these elements are great for maintaining a healthy body, including bones, muscles and blood circulation.
Grace Johnson, a doctor and nutritionist in an interview with NAN advised that the consumption of tiger nuts is essential to the body and its numerous nutritional and health benefits is “an amazing food for anyone”.
She said that the nut helps in curing stomach upset and irritable bowel among other digestive issues. “It has been used in folk medicine as a remedy for many ailments, including flatulence and diarrhea.
“The methanol extract of tiger nuts has a very positive effect on reproductive hormones, sperm motility, and sperm count. It increases fertility parameters in females, rich in zinc and helps the body to produce testosterone,” she said.
According to Johnson, health benefits contained in tiger nut include a high content of soluble glucose and oleic acid, along with high energy content.
“The high non-soluble fibre contents of the tiger nut helps the diabetics to regulate their sugar levels in the blood. “The tiger nut milk is a perfect substitute of animal milk because it’s very easy to make your own milk using the nuts with cooking equipment that can be found in every kitchen.
“Tiger nut oil is used in the cosmetic industry as an anti-oxidant and it helps slow down the ageing of the body cells. “It favours the elasticity of the skin and reduces skin wrinkles,” she explained.
She further explained that tiger nut gives body more potassium than banana, saying that consumption of 25 tiger nuts gives the body 139 milligrams of potassium. “Being the same level as a potato or an avocado and exceeding the potassium levels of a banana,” she said.
She stressed the need for people contending with digestive issues to consume less tiger nuts because they might experience some gas, bloating, cramping, or
diarrhea. Jennifer Ani, a nutritionist said that tiger nuts are even more essential in female hormones than that of men in a new research published in 2018. “For the longest time, tiger nuts and a special tiger nut drink (which includes dates and coconut) have been used to boost the libido and stimulate arousal in many African and Middle Eastern countries.
“However, it has only recently come to light that there are benefits of tiger nuts for both female and male fertility. There are a lot of reasons why you would want to add tiger nuts to your diet if you want to conceive”.
According to her, if you and your partner struggle with infertility and are undergoing treatment for it, you both should consume tiger nuts in one way or the other. They will significantly improve the success rate of the treatment.
“If you have problems with your menstrual cycle (because of either hormone imbalance or older age), tiger nuts can help you normalise your menstruations and avert ovulation decline.
“Vitamin E that is contained in tiger nuts is a perfect immune system booster. A healthy body is of utmost importance when one is trying for a baby, so tiger nuts can help in making the body stronger and keeping the diseases away,” Ani said.
Abuchi Ogbu, a tiger nuts consumer said that he takes them on daily basis because of what his doctor told him. “My doctor said that constant intake of tiger nuts boosts high in fibre and low in calories and fat, it helps in reducing appetite and promote weight loss and it contains vitamin C and E which is a powerful antioxidant that helps in slow down cellular ageing”.
Ogbu said that it controls blood pressure and promotes a healthy digestive system, improves fertility and affects sperm count and egg quality. “Regular consumption of it will increase sexuality much and also enhances ones libido.”