Tiger nuts ( Cyperus esculentus )are among the crops grown in ancient Eygpt and were basically used for food and medicine. They are commonly called Aya in Hausa, Ofio in Yoruba, Aki ausa in Igbo and Hausa groundnut in pidgin English. Tiger nuts are not true nuts but are edible tuber vegetables. The stripes on their outer parts like the ones on tiger made them to be referred to as Tiger nuts. Though they are underutilized locally in Nigeria, below are their amazing benefits that have been discovered by research.
1. Good source of Fiber
Tiger nuts are good sources of insoluble fiber which help in better digestion.They contain digestive enzymes which breaks down food in the digestive tract. Tiger nuts promotes the growth of good bacteria in the intestines since they are not digestible, so it can be used for stomach upset,irritable bowel disease and other problems associated with digestion. They relieve constipation by adding bulk to stool and promoting bowel evacuation.
Due to their high content of fiber, it is of great benefits to people who are over weight and would want to lose weight. It gives a pleasant feeling of satisfaction and reducing cravings for food.
2. Good replacement for cow milk
Tiger nuts milk is an excellent replacement for people who have lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance is a condition that is associated with inability to digest fully sugar (lactose) that is usually found in diary products. Tiger nut milk is plant based and does not contain lactose.
3. High source of vitamin C and E
About 28g of tiger nuts provides the body with 28% of the daily value(DV) of vitamin E and 2-8% DV of vitamin C. These vitamins increases the body immunity to fight infections, improves eye sights, aids in fertility and they help in protecting the body against free radicals that are harmful to the body.
4. Rich source of Non animal protein
Tiger nuts have been found to be one of the richest source of non animal protein. Animal protein is associated with higher incidence of fats and bad cholesterol. Tiger nuts contains monounsaturated fatty acids that helps to increase the amount of good cholesterol in the body.
5. Good for heart health
Tiger nuts contains arginine,an amino acid that is converted in the body to nitric acid. Nitric acid dilates blood vessels thereby aiding good flow of blood. They also contain potassium 3-4% DV. Potassium is important in controlling the activities of the heart,movement of muscles and filtration of blood by the kidney.
6. They are used as libido boosters
Tiger nuts is of great benefit to people with decreased sexual urge because it increases sexual urge. They have also been used to treat impotence in men and also to increase sperm count.
7. They may be used to lower blood sugar levels
Diabetes have affected millions of people in the world and is usually associated with that serious complications that affects the nerves,kidney and eyes when not properly managed. Regulation of the sugar level is of primary importance. Tiger nuts have high content of indigestible fibre which helps in delaying absorption in the gut leading to reduced sugar levels. Also, tiger nuts are rich in amino acids that increase insulin production and sensitivity.
8. High source of Magnesium
100g of tiger nuts provides the body with about 13-17% of the daily value of magnesium needed by the body. Magnesium is very essential in the body because it is involved in many biochemical reactions in the body. magnesium aids the effectiveness of calcium which is necessary for strong bones and teeth. Magnesium can be used to elevates mood hence it is a good tool to combat depression. Also research has shown that magnesium can be used to prevent and treat migraine headaches.
From the above listed benefits of tiger nuts, it would not be bad for you to include them to your diet. They can be included by eating them raw or after roasting. It is advisable to soak them in water to make them softer and easier to chew. Tiger nuts milk are available in the market or you can prepare it easily at home. Give it a trial today!