Health Benefits of Tiger Nuts

What-Are-Tiger-Nuts Struesli

Tiger nuts are not a nut, bean, or seed. Rather, they are a tuber, a type of root vegetable that grows under the ground. Known by many names around the world, tiger nuts are also referred to as chufa, ofio, aki hausa, earth almonds, ground almonds, yellow nutsedge, yellow nutgrass, and zulu nuts. 

What Are Tiger Nuts? 

Tiger nuts are in the same family as other nutrient-dense root vegetables, including cassava, ginger root, Jerusalem artichokes, and sweet potatoes. 

Tiger nuts are about the size of a chickpea, but they are wrinkly and have a slightly sweet natural flavor to them. Some people say that tiger nuts taste similar to almonds, even opting to call them "earth almonds." Others say that tiger nuts have a slightly sweet and nutty taste, similar to coconut. We say that they have a flavor that's all their own, and there's no better way to experience tiger nuts than by snagging a handful of Struesli as a snack. 

6 Health Benefits Of Tiger Nuts

Tiger nut plants were originally grown in Northern Africa and now grow in all warm parts of the world. In terms of health benefits, tiger nuts have been described as being a bridge between nuts and tubers, and containing some of the health benefits of both of those food groups, namely healthy fibers and fats. Here are some of the reasons tiger nuts are a good-for-you ingredient: 

  1. High in fiber: One ounce of tiger nuts provides 7 grams of fiber, and the type of fiber in tiger nuts is called resistant starch, which can help improve digestion, as well as feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut

  2. May help lower blood sugar: The high fiber content in tiger nuts is one reason they have been linked to having a low impact on blood sugar due to slowed digestion. Another reason is because tiger nuts contain an essential amino acid called arginine, which increases insulin production and sensitivity, and therefore reduces blood sugar spikes after eating

  3. Nutrients linked to heart health: Tiger nuts have a monounsaturated fat profile that is similar to that of olive oil. Eating more of these types of fats has been linked to lowered risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as improved cholesterol levels

  4. A good source of antioxidants: Tiger nuts are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin E, and flavonoids, which are antioxidant-rich nutrients and compounds that can prevent cell damage and have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body

  5. Contain immunity-boosting compounds: In a few small studies, tiger nuts were found to be effective at combatting certain types of bacteria that can cause infection in humans, including E. coliStaphylococcus, and Salmonella

  6. Could be a natural aphrodisiac: While there are no human studies of tiger nuts as an aphrodisiac (an ingredient that can boost libido), they have been used for years in Ayurvedic medicine and traditional African medicine to treat erectile dysfunction, increase sex drive, and boost sperm count.  

Tiger Nuts In Struesli 

The main ingredient in every batch of Struesli is tiger nuts. This little ingredient packs a big nutrition punch, crispy texture, and unique mildly sweet flavor, and they're one of several reasons why Struesli stands out among other granolas. Struesli is made from a mix of organic tiger nuts, organic nuts, organic coconut, and organic seeds. The tiger nuts in Struesli are very thinly sliced and then roasted, giving them a unique crispy texture that makes this grain-free granola so unique and appealing. By roasting the tiger nuts, we remove some of the natural tannins, which also makes them even better for you and easier to digest. 

Common Ways To Eat Tiger Nuts

Some common ways that you can enjoy tiger nuts are in the form of tiger nut milk and tiger nut flour. Like other types of plant-based milk, tiger nut milk (or horchata de chufa) is made by soaking tiger nuts until softened and then blending them at high speed into a creamy liquid. Tiger nut milk is a vegan and dairy-free milk with a natural mild sweetness.

And, while it's not an exact replacement for all-purpose flour, tiger nut flour is used in a fashion similar to almond flour. It is made by grinding roasted and blanched tiger nuts into a flour consistency. Tiger nut flour is a gluten free, high-fiber flour that can be use in some baking applications. 

Other ways that tiger nuts can be enjoyed are roasted or sliced and used as a snack or nut or grain replacement in recipes. In Struesli, the roasted and sliced tiger nuts take the place of the typical oats, resulting in a grain-free, low-carb, nutrient-rich version of granola.  

Written by Jessie Shafer, RD
Updated January 23, 2024

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