Tiger nuts, popularly known as “aya” in Northern Nigeria. The Yorubas call it “Ofio”. Tiger nuts are one of nature’s super foods. They are high in fibre, nutritious, and are believed to contain ingredients that help prevent heart attacks and improve blood circulation in people. It is has high energy content (starch, fats, sugars, and protein). These small round tubers (either fresh or dried) are rich in minerals such as phosphorous, potassium, and vitamin E and C.
Benefits of Tiger Nuts include the following:
1. High Fibre: Tiger nuts are very rich in dietary fibre. Over 30% of a tiger nut is made of fibre and that is more than oats, bran and most vegetables and fruits. We all need to keep our digestive system in good working order with fibre. It could also be an aid to weight loss by making you feel fuller for longer.
2. High amin0 acids: Another wonderful health benefit of tiger nut is that the nut is high in amino acids, especially one called arginine, which is beneficial to those suffering with high blood pressure. Arginine has been clinically proven to reduce blood pressure.
3. Magnesium: They are a good source of magnesium. It is needed by the body to help the muscle and nerves function and for the proper function of the immune system. Magnesium also helps to regulate heart beat and maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
4. Rich in protein: Protein is a vital ingredient used in building of muscle, skin and bone, and tiger nuts are in fact one of the best, non-meat, source of protein that there is.
5. Regulates blood sugar: Another one great health benefit of tiger nuts is that they are helpful in regulating blood sugar levels. The insoluble fibre found in the tiger nut can be of great help to diabetics because, unlike other carbohydrates, it does not cause peaks and troughs in the blood sugar levels.
6. Tiger nut milk can be used as cow milk substitues: Tiger nut milk contains no lactose but plenty of calcium, so it makes a great alternative to cow’s milk, for people who are lactose intolerant.
7. Tiger nut is a good source of vitamin E: Tiger nuts are also a good source of the antioxidant, vitamin E, which helps to protect against the damage caused by free radicals in the body. Vitamin E can help prevent both cancer and coronary disease, as well as slow down the onset of the sign of ageing.
8. They contain healthy fats: Another health benefit of tiger nut is that it contains the healthy oils that are very similar to olive oil. The oil extracted from tiger nuts consist of around 80% unsaturated fats and only 18% of the cholesterol causing saturated fat.
9. Tiger nuts are a good source of vitamins: Recent studies revealed that tiger nuts are brimming with vitamins and minerals. They are a super source of vitamin C and E and minerals such as potassium and phosphorous. Some yoghurts now contain tiger nut milk to boost their nutritional content.
10. Tiger nuts help fight malnutrition: Tiger nuts are packed with nutritional goodness that they are being considered as an alternative staple food in some developing countries. A study in Egypt found that tiger nuts are more nutritious and less expensive than some other staple food.