The title of this article is a little misleading as tiger nuts are neither new nor a nut! But with the popularization of the Paleo diet, they are having a moment. Don’t let that confuse you into thinking they are a fad. In fact, these tubers (i.e. a root vegetable), come from the Cyperus esculentus plant, which is said to be one of the earliest recorded plants used by the ancient Egyptians. Today, they are commonly used in Spain, the country known for being a big producer of the the crop. There they often make Horchata, a creamy, milk-like drink with these nutrient-dense tubers as its base. See below on how to make your own tiger nut milk!
First, let’s go over some of the health benefits of tiger nuts.
Tiger nuts are full of antioxidants. Why is this important? Humans are subject to oxidative stress, which occurs when free-flowing oxygen molecules create free radicals in the body. When there is an imbalance between their production and the body’s ability to fight and detoxify, this results in oxidative damage, which increases the likelihood of disease. However, having a diet full of antioxidant-rich foods works to fight this damage over time. Include tiger nuts into your repertoire as part of your disease prevention protocol. In addition to antioxidants, tiger nuts are a good source of plant-based protein and are full of vitamins and minerals, such as iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc, easily fitting them into the “superfood” category.
Not only are tiger nuts a good source of fiber, but they are a resistant starch prebiotic (not to be confused with a probiotic), making them great for gut health. A resistant starch is type of carbohydrate that your small intestine literally resists digesting, after which it helps to feed and support the good bacteria in your gut. Other sources of prebiotics include Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, green bananas, cooked and cooled potatoes (especially purple sweet potatoes), oats, and chicory root.
Blood Sugar Balance & Metabolism
In addition to being a prebiotic, tiger nuts contain insoluble fiber, making them a blood sugar friendly food. Carbohydrates with insoluble fiber not only help to manage insulin levels, but can prevent metabolic syndrome, which leads to issues such as Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. If blood sugar management is part of your health goals (and I encourage it should be), tiger nuts offer a great option for snacking or including in any meal.
Tiger nuts act as an antibacterial agent in the body. One research study showed that the extract of the Cyperus esculentus plant fought against human pathogens such as Salmonella and E. Coli (among others). Other studies report tiger nuts have been used throughout history – either eaten or consumed as drink – for its medicinal properties, making it another example of a healing food found in nature.
How to consume Tiger Nuts
They can be eaten raw, although we suggest soaking them in water beforehand to soften them and make them more easily digestible. They can also be found in flour form, to be baked with. Our suggestion however is to make your own tiger nut milk!
Tiger Nut Milk
- 1 cup raw tiger nuts, soaked in water for 4-6 hours or overnight
- 4 cups filtered water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- Place soaked tiger nuts and filtered water in a high-speed blender. Process on high for 1-2 minutes.
- Strain through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth.