Nutrition and Health Benefits of Tiger Nuts (Yellow nutgrass, Chufa, Cyperus esculentus)

Tiger nuts tubers are daily diets for many people in North Africa and Spain. In North Africa, the tubers are consumed in their natural form or after being soaked in water for some hours. In Spain, tigernut tubers are consumed mainly as a drink locally called “horchata de chufa” (chufa milk).

Tiger nuts are often referred to as nature’s richest source of fiber.

Tiger nuts have long been recognized for their nutritional benefits as they have a high content of soluble glucose and oleic acid, along with high energy content (starch, fats, sugars and proteins), they are rich in minerals such as phosphorous and potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron necessary for bones, tissue repair, muscles, the blood stream and for body growth and development and rich in vitamins E and C. Tiger nuts have tons of health benefits; InformAfrica hereby brings you some vital information about Tiger nuts below.

Tiger Nuts health benefits, nutrition of tigernuts, chufa

Tiger nuts have long been recognised for their health benefits as they are high in fibre, proteins, and natural sugars. (Photo source: Carphauler/webs.com)

Sugar-free tiger nut milk is suitable for diabetic people and also helps in weight control, due to its content of carbohydrates with a base of sucrose and starch (without glucose), and its high content of Arginine, which liberates the hormone that produces insulin.

It is recommended for those who suffer from indigestion, flatulence and diarrhoea because it provides digestive enzymes like the catalase, lipase and amylase. The high content of oleic acid has positive effect on cholesterol, thereby preventing heart attacks, thrombosis and activates blood content of soluble glucose. Tiger nut reduces the risk of colon cancer. It prevents constipation.

Tiger nut contains a good quantity of vitamin B1, which assists in balancing the central nervous system and helps to encourage the body to adapt to stress.

The milk supplies the body with enough quantity of Vitamin E, essential for fertility in both men and women. Vitamin E also delays cell aging, improves elasticity of skin and helps to clear the appearance of wrinkles, acne and other skin alterations.

In Nigeria, the Hausas call Tigernuts “Aya”, the Igbos “ofio”, and Yorubas “imumu” . Meanwhile, Hausas in southern Nigeria call it “aki”.

In China, tiger nut milk is used as a liver tonic, heart stimulant, drank to heal serious stomach pain, to promote normal menstruation, to heal mouth and gum ulcers, used in Ayurvedic medicines and is a powerful aphrodisiac (sexual stimulant). The black species of the tiger nut is an excellent medicine for breast lumps and cancer. The tubers have a relatively high total antioxidant capacity, because they contain considerable amounts of water-soluble flavonoid glycosides.

Consumption of antioxidants could protect the immune system of malnourished populations. The intake of antioxidant-containing foods may delay the progression of HIV infection to AIDS.

For many years, the tiger nut tubers have been considered to have adequate properties to fight respiratory infections, and some stomach illnesses. To this date, the Horchata de chufa is considered an effective remedy for diarrhea, according to popular tradition in Valencia, Spain. It promotes the production of urine and this is why it is a preventive measure for cyst, prostrate, hernia, rectum deformation and prolapsed (anal feature-small painful flesh at the tip of the anus) and to prevent endometriosis or fibrosis as well as blockage of the tip of the fallopian tube.

The oil reduces low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) and increases high density lipoproteincholesterol (HDL-C), reduces levels of triglycerides in blood and the risk of forming bloody clots, thereby preventing arteriosclerosis. It also stimulates the absorption of calcium in bones and the production of new bony material, due to short and medium chain fatty acids, oleic acid and essential fatty acids. It is also recommended for infants and the elderly because of its high content in Vitamin E and its antioxidant benefits in the cell membrane.

In the United States, the primary use of tiger nut as a crop is to attract and feed game, particularly wild turkeys. Turkeys love tiger nut tubers; as natural scratchers, once discovering a plot of chufa, they will return again and again, all winter long, or until spring arrives and other food is readily available. Tiger nut tubers have been planted so that pigs could be attracted to the fields to fatten and improve the taste of pork. The tubers have been used as hog feed, pastured in the field in states such as Florida, Georgia, and Alabama.

Tubers of tiger nut have also been identified as valuable food for waterfowl and cranes. Ducks dive for them when wetland fields are flooded. It is also used in seed mixes for wetland restoration, mitigation, and erosion control. The caramel from malted tubers of Cyperus esculentus may be used to add body, flavor, or color to certain baked products, non-alcoholic malt beverages and dark beers, and in the production of condiments.

The starches obtained from tiger nut and rice showed similar properties; the solutions of the starch exhibited a good paste stability, clarity, and adhesive strength. The starch can be used in many starch-based foods as well as in the cosmetic industry, and for laundry, glazing and stiffening. The waste residue after oil extraction could be further modified to produce syrups, flours, or livestock feeds.

Tigernuts called Chufa in Spain, good source of energy

Tigernuts are small tubers and not actual nuts. The ancient Egyptians knew that the fruit of Tigernuts’ grass (Cyperus esculentes) was highly beneficial, both as medicine and nutrition. Its root tubers are distinguished by an unusually high proportion of fibre and a delicious taste.

Medicinal Benefits of Tiger Nuts (Chufa, Yellow Nutsedge, Cyperus esculentus)

  • Tiger nuts prevent constipation.

  • Tiger nuts has necessary essential minerals; calcium, magnesium and iron necessary for bones, tissues repairs, muscles and the blood stream.

  • Tiger nuts, called Chufa in Spain, is high in protein and carbohydrates.

  • Chufa contains a good quantity of vitamin B1 which assists in balancing the central nervous system and helps to encourage the body to adapt to stress.

  • It supplies the body with enough quantity of Vitamin E, very essential for fertility in both men and women.

  • It is excellent for colitis and assists proper digestion. In China, chufa juice is used as a liver tonic, heart stimulant, drank to heal serious stomach pain, to promote normal menstruation, to heal mouth and gum ulcers, use in Ayurvedic medicines and is a powerful aphrodisiac (sexual stimulant).

  • The black specie of the tiger nut is an excellent medicine for breast lumps and cancer (any type of internal canceration and inflammations). It can be used as eye compress and to bandage wounds.

  • Tiger nuts give a heating and drying action to the digestive system in general and this gives it the potency to alleviate flatulence.

  • Chufa promotes the production of urine, this is why it is a preventive measure for cyst, prostrate, hernia, rectum deformation and prolapsed (anal feature-small painful flesh and the tip of the anus) and to prevent endometriosis or fibrosis as well as blockage of the tip of the fallopian tube.

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Credit Eunice Bamishaiye, AJOL & PeaceFM

One Response to Nutrition and Health Benefits of Tiger Nuts (Yellow nutgrass, Chufa, Cyperus esculentus)

  1. olivia akey August 29, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Tiger nut is very good for body both men and women

    Reply

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