Health benefits of Tigernut

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Tigernut Quick Facts
Name: Tigernut
Scientific Name: Cyperus esculentus
Origin It is native to most of the Western Hemisphere as well as southern Europe, Africa, Madagascar, the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent.
Colors Yellowish brown or tan to brown
Shapes Oblong to obovoid achene, 1.3 to 2 mm long
Taste Smooth tender, sweet and nutty
Health benefits Maintains body shape, Magnesium source, Helps to control blood pressure, Great source of protein, Control diabetes
Tiger nut, botanically known as Cyperus esculentus, has several other names such as Rush nut, Yellow Nutsedge, Tiger Nut, Chufa, Chufa sedge, Nut grass, Tiger nut sedge, Earth almond, Chufa flatsedge, Earth nut, Edible cyperus, Nut flatsedge, Yellow Nut Sedge, Yellow Nut-Sedge, Yellow nutgrass, Weedy Yellow Nutsedge, Weedy Nutgrass and Weedy Nutsedge. It was domesticated in White Nile region of present day Sudan. It dates back to fifth millennium BC in the Neolithic age and is considered as the third most ancient domesticated foodstuff after Emmer Wheat and Barley of ancient Egypt. The remains of the plant have been found in Egyptian tombs which date back to 2400 to 2200 BC. In the Middle Ages, it spread across North Africa and across Southern Europe. Today, it is cultivated around the world in small scale including North and South America, China, Australia and Spain. It is well known in West Africa where it is consumed as a side dish and sweet meat with nuts being roasted or consumed raw. It is cultivated in Southeastern United States as livestock feed, hog pasture and a winter food source for waterfowl and Wild Turkeys. It is used as an ingredient in many countries as an ingredient in drink known as horchata which is a soft drink in Spain which is made from the milky extract of Chufa tubers sweetened with sugar.

Tiger nut is regarded as a serious weed across much of the world especially Africa, tropical and subtropical Asia and Central and South America. In recent decades, weedy Tigernut have become more widely established across northwestern Europe. It has become a serious weed problem in the Eastern and Central United States in past 50 years. Tigernut can be found wild as a crop or as a weed. Its habitats include prairie swales, sedge meadows, swales in open woodlands, sand flats, edges of ponds and mud flats in wetlands, lawns, gardens, poorly drained areas of fields, ditches and waste areas.

Tiger nuts are mainly seen in West Africa. In Europe, this particular food has been available since 4,000 BC, when it was grown in Egypt. As time passes tiger nuts have been known as numerous names —the scientific name “cyperus esculentus”, Zulu nut, aya, yellow grass nut, ground almond, edible rush, rush nut and, obviously, tiger nut. The nut become popular in Spain, recognized there as “chufa”.There’s two types of tiger nuts — yellow as well as brown — and both could be consumed raw, dried and ground into flour, pressed to create a juice, squeezed because of its heart healthy oils as well as utilized as food for hogs. Tiger nuts are usually considered to be a sweet, nutty flavor which is often used to flavor sweets and also ice cream!However, not well-known in several nations, tiger nuts have got a historical existence in certain cultures. In Egypt, tiger nuts were an essential crop, even represented in hieroglyphics and found in tombs dating back to 4000 BC. The tuber was supposedly utilized to make sweets, roasted or even boiled in beer.

Tiger nuts were also utilized medicinally and as an air freshener or even perfume to make homes and clothes smell nice. In Spain, tiger nuts are still utilized in a drink referred to as “horchata de chufa”. Food historians believe that tiger nuts might have arrived to the Valencia region in Spain through the Arab or North African invasion.

Nowadays, tiger nuts may also been present in Chile, Brazil, USA, Ghana, Sierra Leon, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Northern Cameroon and Mali. In some of those countries it really is utilized only like a simple side dish and hogs feed. In others it is really an integral part of the culture. In Ghana it really is made into a well-known drink known as “atadwe milk”. Ghanaians also make in a paste and then use it to flavor ice cream as well as in place of almonds for baking.

In China the juice obtained from tiger nuts is utilized like a liver strengthening medication, a heart stimulant, to prevent stomach pains, medication to manage menstruation in females, a cure for mouth as well as gum sores and also just as one aphrodisiac to enhance sexual function!

Plant

Cyperus esculentus is an annual or perennial plant which grows to 90 cm (3 feet) tall having solitary stems growing from a tuber. The reproduction takes place by seeds, tubers and creeping rhizomes. Stems are triangular section and bears slender leave which measures 3 to 10 mm (1/8 to 1/2 inches) wide. The plant has distinctive spikelets with a cluster of flat and oval seeds which are surrounded by four hanging leaf-like bracts. They measures 5 to 30 mm long and linear to narrowly elliptic with pointed tips and contains 8 to 35 florets. The color differs from straw colored to gold brown. Each plant could produce up to 2420 seeds. The foliage is fibrous and very tough. Roots are an extensive and complex system of fine, fibrous roots as well as scaly rhizomes with small hard and spherical tubers and basal bulbs. Tubers are 0.3 to 1.9 cm in diameter and its color varies from yellow, brown and black. During a single growing season, each plant produce several hundred to several thousand tubers.

History

The traces of Cyperus esculentus tuber starch granules have been found from the early archaic period in North America at the Sandy Hill excavation site at the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Connecticut about 9,000 years ago. The tubers are believed to have been a food source for those Paleo-Indians.

Noting that Tiger nut is an important food element during dynastic times in ancient Egypt, its cultivation seemed to have remained an Egyptian specialty. The dry tubers have been found in tombs from predynastic times which are about 6000 years ago. Cyperus esculentus tubers were consumed either roasted, boiled in beer or as sweets made of ground tubers with honey. Tubers were used medicinally, and used in fumigants to sweeten clothing or the smell of homes.

Besides Egypt, Cyperus esculentus at present is cultivated mostly in Spain in mild climate areas for common commercial purposes. The plant was introduced first in the Valencia region by the Arabs. Cyperus esculentus is also cultivated in Guatemala, Chile, Mexico, Brasil, Lebanon, USA, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Oman, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, India, Morocco, Sudan, Ivory Coast, South Sudan, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Niger, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Togo, Northern Cameroon, Benin and Mali.

Health Benefits of Tigernut

Let’s take a closer look on the health benefits provided by Tigernut:

  1. Maintains body shape

Tiger nut have large content of fiber which is beneficial for maintaining digestive system. The ingestion of fiber helps to eliminate constipation problems since fiber is a natural stimulant that helps to evacuate regularly. Fiber helps to lose weight and is found widely in foods such as chia seeds, prunes and whole grains. The level of fiber found in tiger nuts. The increase in intake of Tigernut flour.

  1. Magnesium source

Magnesium is responsible for over 300 biochemical interactions in the body. The control of level of magnesium provides benefit and 100 grams of Tigernut contributes between 13 and 17% of daily requirement. To comply the calcium with the bones and counteract osteoporosis and tooth decay, tiger nuts provide part of the needed magnesium. Magnesium is essential with proteins for the development of muscles. Magnesium is also associated with kidney care and prevention of menstrual problems and maintains body pH stable to avoid the appearance of fungal infections and dermatitis. The consumption of tigernut helps to maintain adequate amount of potassium and calcium.

  1. Helps to control blood pressure

Blood pressure control is one of the vital function of potassium. Due to the high content of potassium in this chemical, it helps to control the heart activity. An intake of potassium rich foods is commonly associated with proper functioning of the cells of the human body and vital organs health. Potassium being one of the essential minerals helps to regulate amount of acid base and distributes water in the body. It assists the body to process carbohydrates. The deficiency of potassium in the body causes various amounts of dysfunctions such as muscle weakness, arrhythmia, low blood pressure, fatigue and constipation. It helps to nourish the body with this mineral.

  1. Great source of protein

Tigernuts have high content of nutrients. The daily intake of tigernuts provides an antioxidant for cleansing diets and also eliminates toxins from the body. The vegetable protein is coordinated with the benefits described above. It regulates cardiovascular system and proper functioning of cellular activity which prevents the chances of cancer development.

  1. Control diabetes

Tigernut contains healthy balanced fiber which doesnot raise the level of blood glucose and these foods are beneficial for preventing diabetic condition. Millions of people in world suffer from type 2 diabetes which could trigger fatal health consequences. Tigernuts plays a vital role in healthy lifestyle due to its high nutritional value. Additionally, the high level of sucrose and contained fiber has made Tigernuts a great substitute for carbohydrates that raises the blood sugar level.

  1. Skin health

Tigernut oil has high content of oleic acid which helps to nourish skin and also assist to counteract external aggressions. Moreover, Tigernut oil possess adequate amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids that helps to meet the daily requirement of human body. Tigernut oil is essential to cure skin lesions or eczemas which is caused by dermatophytes and stimulates the absorption of calcium, regeneration of bone tissue or atherosclerosis. Tiger nut oil offers therapeutic properties so is used as a food and also by advanced cosmetic companies for manufacturing the products for different types due to the high content of Vitamin E that helps to prevent aging.

  1. Source of antioxidants

In the human body, the free flow of oxygen molecules forms free radicals which are known as oxidative damage. This damage could lead to diseases such as cancer and heart diseases. It is essential to have diet which is rich in antioxidant in order to protect oneself from oxidative damage. Tigernuts are a great source of antioxidants. The high content of Vitamin E as well as oleic acid helps the nut to protect the body from diseases. The preparation styles might change antioxidant properties of Tigernuts.

  1. Dietary fiber

One serving of Tigernuts provides 10 grams of dietary fiber which provides almost half of the daily requirement. Fiber helps the one to be full, lose weight, prevent heart disease, maintain digestive health and also prevent diabetes. In addition, Tigernut contains high content of fiber per serving than in comparison to high fiber foods such as chia seeds or quinoa.

  1. Prevention of bacteria

Tigernut is able to counteract bacteria in the human body. The study shows that extracts of Cyperus esculentus contains bacteria fighting effects on various harmful human pathogens such as E-coli and salmonella. Tigernut is used against common bacterial infections especially for those people who have antibiotic resistance in third world countries. It is essential to complete the diet with immune system boosters. Bacteria fighting foods helps to counteract viruses and infections.

  1. Improves sex life

The study have shown that intake of Tiger nuts has affected the male copulatory behavior in rats. The study results have shown that Tigernuts enhanced sex performance of rats concluding the possible benefit to human male sexual performance. The rat have shown briefer intermission times and also heightened testosterone levels.

Different Uses of Tigernuts

Dried tiger nut features a smooth sensitive, sweet as well as nutty taste. It may be consumed raw, roasted, dried, baked or as tiger nut milk or oil.

1. Use as food

The tubers are edible, with a somewhat sweet, nutty flavor, when compared to more bitter-tasting tuber of the related Cyperus rotundus (purple nutsedge). They are really hard and are usually soaked in water just before they may be eaten, therefore causing them to be considerably softer and providing them a much better texture.

They have numerous uses; particularly, they are utilised in Spain to help make horchata. “Horchata” is actually a nonalcoholic beverage of milky appearance created from the tubers of the tiger nut plant combined with sugar and water. It features a excellent economic impact within the Valencian region of Spain.

Flour of roasted tiger nut is oftentimes included with biscuits along with other bakery products along with making oil, soap, and starch extracts. It’s also utilized for the creation of nougat, jam, beer, and also as a flavoring agent in ice cream as well as in the preparation of kunnu (a local beverage in Nigeria).Kunnu is actually a nonalcoholic drink prepared mainly from cereals (like millet or sorghum) by heating as well as mixing along with spices (dandelion, alligator pepper, ginger, licorice) and sugar. To help make up for the poor nutritional value of kunnu prepared from cereals, tiger nut was discovered to be a great replacement for cereal grains. Tiger nut oil may be used naturally along with salads or even for deep frying. It is regarded as a top quality oil. Tiger nut “milk” have been tried as a substitute source of milk in fermented products, like yogurt production, along with other fermented products common in some African countries and may therefore be appropriate replacing milk within the diet of people intolerant to lactose to a certain extent.

Tiger nuts ought to be consumed in just average quantities at any one time. Consumption of 300 gms of the fibrous dehydrated nuts, chewed without being rehydrated, is known to result in rectal impaction.

2. Use as oil

There is a global search for substitute sources of fuel that could be cheaper, safer and most importantly, eco-friendly in comparison to traditionally used burning fuels. Since the tubers of C. esculentus contain 20-36% oil, it’s been recommended as potential oil crop for the manufacture of biodiesel. One study discovered that chufa produced 1.5 metric tonnes of oil per hectare (174 gallons/acre) based on a tuber yield of 5.67 t/ha as well as an oil content of 26.4%. A similar 6-year study found tuber yields which range from 4.02 to 6.75 t/ha, with the average oil content of 26.5% and an average oil yield of 1.47 t/ha.

3. Use in medicine and cosmetic industry

As a source of oils, the tubers were utilized in pharmacy under the Latin name bulbuli thrasi beginning no later than the end of Eighteenth century. In ayurvedic medicine tiger nuts are utilized within the management of flatulence, diarrhoea, dysentery, debility and indigestion. Tiger nut oil may be used within the cosmetic industry. Since it is antidioxide (due to its high-content in vitamin E) it will help reduce the ageing of the body cells. It favors the elasticity of the skin as well as decreases skin wrinkles.

4. Use as fishing bait

The boiled nuts are utilized in the UK like a bait for carp. The nuts have to be prepared in the prescribed manner to avoid harm to the fish. The nuts are soaked in water for 24 hours after which boiled for 20 minutes or longer till completely expanded. Several anglers then leave the boiled nuts to ferment for 24-48 hours, which could boost their effectiveness. In case the nuts usually are not effectively prepared, however, they may be extremely toxic to the carp. It was originally considered to have been the main cause of death of Benson, an extremely large and incredibly famous carp. The 54-lb. fish was discovered floating dead in the fishing lake, with a bag of unprepared tiger nuts lying close by, empty, on the shore. An examination of the fish by the taxidermist determined tiger nut poisoning was not, in the end, the main cause of death.

Traditional uses

  • Tiger nuts are used in Ayurvedic medicine for treating diarrhea, flatulence, debility, dysentery, excessive thirst and indigestion.
  • It is used as a digestive tonic, alleviates flatulence and has heating and drying effect on digestive system.
  • It promotes menstruation and urine production.
  • It is used for treating atherosclerosis.
  • Apply the paste externally to wounds and skin rashes.
  • For headache, apply paste directly to temples.
  • It helps to prevent thrombosis, heart attacks and colon cancer.
  • Tiger nut milk is used in China as a heart stimulant, liver tonic, promote normal menstruation, heal serious stomach pain and heal gum and mouth ulcers.
  • Tubers are used to counteract respiratory infections and stomach illnesses.

How to Eat         

  • Nuts are consumed raw or roasted.
  • It is used as an ingredient in the drink horchata.
  • Flour of roasted tigernut is used for making biscuits, bakery products and making oil.
  • It is also used for producing jam, nougat, beer and flavor ice cream.
  • The oil is used for making salads or deep frying.
  • The milk of Tiger nut is used as an alternative source of milk in fermented products.
  • Tiger nut are roasted or boiled in beer or is served with honey.
  • It is also used for beverages and ice creams.

Recipes of Tigernut

  1. Tiger Nut Milk

Ingredients:

Directions:

Step 1: In a bowl of water soak tiger nuts and cover the bowl with a cloth.

Step 2: Let it remain for 1-2 days.

Step 3: Then remove the cloth and add nuts to a blender.

Step 4: Also add spices and sweetener of your choice to it.

Step 5: Blend the nuts well till the mixture becomes smooth and thick.

Step 6: Now with the use of strainer, strain milk into a serving glass.

  1. Tiger Nuts Trail Mix Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8-ounce) package of tiger nuts
  • ½ cup of dried cranberries
  • ½ cup of golden raisins
  • ½ teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of tiger nut oil
  • 1 teaspoon of coarse sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds

Directions:

Step 1:  Toss cranberries, tiger nuts and raisins into a bowl. Drizzle it with tiger nut oil. Then sprinkle with cayenne pepper, sesame seeds, paprika and sea salt.

Step 2:  Toss to coat and serve it immediately. Or it could be stores in an airtight container for two weeks at room temperature.

  1. Tiger Nuts Trail Mix Granola Recipe

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup of almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons of pure honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of tiger nuts
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • ½ cup of rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
  • ½ cup of tiger nut flour

Directions:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400°F.

Step 2: Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix till it is combined.

Step 3: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the oat mixture over the baking sheet. Bake it for nine minutes and for crunchier, bake it for more five minutes.

Step 4: Consume it as a snack on its own or in a cereal.

  1. Tiger Nuts Milk Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of tiger nuts
  • 4 cups of filtered water
  • 4 seedless medjool dates, or 1 to 2 tablespoons of pure raw honey or maple syrup

Directions:

Step 1: In a high speed blender, put all the ingredients and mix till desired consistency is achieved. Strain the mixture.

Step 2:  Place it to Mason jars and shake well before drinking.

Precautions                                                                                                 

  • Excessive intake results in digestive problems such as diarrhea and bloating.
  • Limit its intake.
  • People with health problems should consult the doctor before consumption.

References:

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=39888#null

https://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/31765/

https://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Cyperus+esculentus

https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/17496

http://www.encyclopedia.com/sports-and-everyday-life/food-and-drink/food-and-cooking/cyperus

https://www.doctorshealthpress.com/food-and-nutrition-articles/tiger-nuts-nutrition-benefits-recipes/

http://www.bioline.org.br/request?nd11060

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