Health Benefits of Tiger Nuts

Nrs Oke Ololade

Tigernut (cyperus esculentus) is a perennial grass-like plant with edible tubers and pale yellow cream kernel surrounded with fibrous sheath. It is also known as earth almonds, yellow nut sedge, tigernut sedge. The extracted milk is called ‘ataadwe’ in Ghana, ‘kunnu aya’ in Hausa, ’aki hausa’ in Igbo, ‘ofio’ in Yoruba.

Tigernut is one of the earliest recorded plant that was cultivated in the ancient Egypt and have been there for up to 4000 years. There are three different varieties of tigernuts, the black, brown and yellow varieties. Although the brown and yellow varieties are the most common in the market, most people prefer the yellow variety because of its texture, fleshy body, beautiful colour and bigger size. The yellow variety also yields more milk and it is lower in fat and higher in protein contents. 

Tigernut is a valuable food for nourishment, they are rich in vitamins and minerals such as, vitamin E, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium and phosphorus. Studies have shown that tigernut milk contain more of these nutrients than the normal cow milk, and can be used as substitute if you are lactose intolerance. It is mostly recommended for people who are allergic to cow milk. The high amount of insoluble fibre contained in tigernuts makes it a good ketogenic diet. This food work wonders in treating digestive problems and boosting the immune system.

One of the significant benefits of tigernuts is the ability to boost infertility in men and women. Most native Chinese practitioners use this food in treating menstrual disorders, mouth and gum ulcers and severe stomach pain. Tigernuts are also powerful sexual stimulant. They are considered an effective remedy for constipation, diarrhea, gas, arthritis and colitis. Tigernuts can be stored for about 2 years but they should be ventilated and protected from insects.


Treatment of Erectile Problems

Tigernuts are packed with vitamin E which is essential for fertility in both men and women. The treatment of erectile dysfunction is regarded as the major health benefit of this food, although there might not be any medical evidence to support this claim. Natives of Nigeria, Ghana, Spain and China have been using this nutritious food drink for decades as palliative for treating erectile dysfunction and menstrual problems.

Treatment of Digestive Disorders

Most native doctors recommend tigernuts for patients who suffer from indigestion, flatulence, diarrhoea and constipation, because of the digestive enzymes such as, catalase, lipase and amylase present in it. These enzymes helps to break down foods in the gut and relieve gas. They contain high amount of insoluble fibre which helps to promote healthy bowel movement, easy passage of food in the intestinal tract and preventing cancers of the digestive system. Tigernuts have been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Helps in Controlling Diabetes

Tigernut is a special food for people suffering from high blood sugar levels because they contain vast amount of insoluble fibre, which helps to reduce the intake of high glycaemic index (starchy) foods. They also contain compounds that helps to reduce the amount of sugar absorbed in the gut after a carb-rich meal.

Rich in Insoluble Fibre

Tigernuts contain about 33% of fibre which is an impressive amount. Studies shows that 100g of tigernut flour contain about 60g of dietary fibre which is much higher compared to other natural sources of fibre such as, apples, dates, pears, rice and oats. Insoluble fibre helps diabetic patients to remain healthy, it is considered a low-carb and keto diet.

Rich Source of Vitamin E and C

Vitamin E and vitamin C which are good antioxidants helps to protect against damages caused by free radicals in the body. Research shows that a recommended intake of vitamin C helps to lower bad LDL cholesterol, and boost immune system. Yogurts made with tigernut milk are normally preferred because of the abundance of these nutrients.

Natural Source of Magnesium

Magnesium is scientifically proved for maintaining a healthy functioning of the body. It is valuable for nervous system, muscle function, high blood pressure and strong bones. Tigernuts also contains potassium which helps to control high blood pressure and heart beat.

Highly Rich in Arginine

Arginine is a type of amino acid which maintains the width of the blood vessels to ensure normal flow of blood. It is highly valuable for treating chest pain, erectile dysfunction, heart failure, artery disease, muscle cramp and headaches.

Helps in boosting Infertility in Men and Women
Studies have shown that testosterone, which is a male sex hormone increased significantly after the administration of tigernuts. This is as a result of the high content of quercetin, vitamin E and zinc present in the food. An increased testosterone level promotes sexual urge and potency in men. Vitamin E also helps to increase sperm count, sperm motility and sperm quality.

In women, tigernut extracts have been found to increase the production of oestrogen which is a reproductive hormone found in female. This hormone is responsible for the development and regulation of the female sex characteristics.

OTHER HEALTH BENEFITS OF TIGER NUTS (MILK)

  • It has high oil content. It is a nutrient with ideal oil composition (high oleic acid, favourable omega-3 fatty acid content, high omega-9 fatty acid content).
  • They are very beneficial in fighting malnutrition especially in children since they are highly nutritive and as well affordable.
  • They are rich source of protein which is required for body building.
  • Nursing mothers are advised to drink tigernut milk for an increased production of breast milk to satisfy their baby.
  • Monounsaturated fatty acid (healthy fatty acid) contained in tigernuts helps to increase the body’s HDL cholesterol.
  • They prevent fibrosis and blockage of the tip of fallopian tube.
  • Tigernuts contain antioxidants which may delay the progression of HIV infection to AIDS.
  • Tigernuts are useful in fighting bacterial infections such as streptococcus.
  • The black variety of tigernuts is valuable in treating breasts lumps and cancers.
  • Phosphorus, calcium and magnesium contained in tigernuts is valuable for fighting against tooth decay and osteoporosis( for menopausal women)

Nutritional values of Tigernuts

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