In Spain it has long been part of the menu, with us it is still almost unknown: the tiger nut. The tuber from Africa is a real fountain of health and is full of nutrients. You can find out more about the tiger nut and its application from us.
Interesting facts about the tiger nut
Although the name suggests otherwise, the tiger nut is in no way related to nuts. The plant, also known by its botanical name Cyperus escultentus, belongs to the sourgrass family. This makes them neither a walnut nor a stone fruit like the almond . Strictly speaking, the tigernut plant is a grass and is therefore even more closely related to papyrus than to its namesake. These tigernut grasses form small brownish tubers on their roots , which actually serve as nutrient storage for the plant. But thousands of years ago people recognized the valuable and health-promoting effects of the nutrient-loaded tubers.
The tigernut bears this name because of its taste and appearance. They taste nutty, almond-like, but also sweet at the same time . This makes the tiger nut, also known as tiger nut or chufa, a perfect alternative for allergy sufferers.
The tiger nut is said to have been used as a crop by the ancient Egyptians. It was discovered, among other things, as a burial object in the tombs of the pharaohs. However, scientists assume that the tigernut originally comes from Africa and has been used there for thousands of years. It was not until the eighth century AD that the Arabs brought the sweet tuber to Spain. The tiger nut is now part of everyday culinary life, and not only there – the fruit has also triggered a wave of enthusiasm in America, East India and Brazil.
Ingredients & nutritional values of the tiger nut
Although the tiger nut is in no way inferior to other superfoods , the tuber is still relatively unknown in Germany. It is full of vitamins, nutrients and healthy fiber.
100 grams of raw tiger nuts contain 25 grams of fat, 62 grams of carbohydrates (of which 33 grams are fiber) and a whopping 8 grams of protein . However, these are all rough values, because among the tigernuts you can distinguish between brown, black and yellow varieties. Depending on the colour, the tubers also have a different distribution of nutrients. The yellow tiger nut is particularly interesting for use in the kitchen . Not only is it larger than the other varieties, it also has a higher fiber content, less fat and valuable secondary plant substances.
100 grams of tiger nuts also contain:
- 700 mg potassium
The electrolyte potassium is responsible for the transmission of nerve impulses. This makes it an important part of heart and muscle functions. At the same time, potassium plays a major role in blood pressure regulation and cell growth.
- 150 g calcium
The mineral calcium is extremely important for teeth and bones, because these consist largely of this mineral. It also regulates the acid-base balance and performs important functions for the heart, kidneys and lungs.
- 150 mg phosphorus
Like calcium, phosphorus is responsible for healthy teeth and bones.
- 60 g Magnesium Magnesium
also performs vital functions in our body. Among other things, the mineral is involved in the normal functioning of muscles and nerves. Magnesium also ensures a functioning energy metabolism and a stable nervous system. This in turn has a positive effect on our brain power and our psychological well-being.
- 13 mg vitamin E
Vitamin E is one of the antioxidants and has a cell-protecting function. Vitamin E can thus slow down the natural aging process of the skin and prevent cardiovascular diseases. Since the vitamin is also a radical scavenger, it can have a positive effect on the course of cancer, if not inhibit it altogether.
- Secondary plant substance rutin
The secondary plant substance rutin is also one of the important radical scavengers. The flavonoid also protects the body from venous diseases.
- Healthy fatty acids
The fat content of tigernuts consists of 62% monounsaturated fatty acids. They are generally known as healthy fats, although a positive effect is now also being attributed to saturated fatty acids. The monounsaturated fatty acids have an enormous health-promoting effect on cholesterol levels . The monounsaturated fatty acids keep the blood balanced by reducing the bad LDL cholesterol and increasing the good HDL cholesterol. In this way, they reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis.
Effects of Tigernuts
How healthy the tiger nut actually is is shown again and again by new studies. The tuber is already considered by scientists to have an aphrodisiac, diuretic, blood-enhancing, stimulating and strengthening effect . That describes the healing powers of the superfruit quite well – but it can do even more. Because it not only helps with illnesses, but is also a great nutritional alternative for allergy sufferers.
The high proportion of fiber in particular makes the tigernut so valuable for us. Because these not only have a positive effect on the scales – the intestinal flora also benefits from the roughage. After consumption, these swell up in the large intestine and thus increase their own volume. This stimulates digestion, the blood sugar level remains constant and this in turn prevents cravings and keeps you full for longer .
However, the dietary fibers also have a health-promoting effect on our body: They act like a cleansing from the inside. They have the ability to bind fats and bile acids and excrete them through the intestines. This not only effectively flushes out toxins. The liver is also stimulated to produce new bile acids. The liver needs cholesterol for this and thus ensures that the cholesterol level in the blood decreases.
Suitable for vegans and vegetarians
There is a lot of valuable calcium in the tiger nut – a mineral that vegans and occasionally vegetarians often lack. The vital calcium is mainly found in animal products, especially milk and cheese. The tiger nut is one of the plant foods whose calcium the human body can absorb particularly well . Reason enough, then, to use tigernuts instead of milk.
Protects against intestinal diseases
Dietary fiber also plays a key role in gut health. They are the main food source for healthy gut bacteria that keep our gastrointestinal tract in balance. These bacteria convert the fiber fed to them into butyric acid. Butyric acid strengthens our immune system (which already depends heavily on the gut) and prevents allergic and inflammatory reactions . Butyric acid can do a lot more: It changes the PH balance and thus ensures a slightly acidic environment. Bacteria, germs and pathogens have a hard time in an acidic environment. Especially people with chronic intestinal diseases can permanently and sustainably strengthen and stabilize their intestines with tigernuts.
For a healthy cardiovascular system
The tiger nut manages to keep the intestines and the entire cardiovascular system healthy in a variety of ways. Sometimes it can lower the cholesterol level in the blood . And with less cholesterol in the vessels, the risk of cardiovascular disease also decreases. Not only that, but also the vitamin E and the secondary plant substances of the tuber act as radical scavengers . They protect the cells from changes and thus not only inhibit cancer, but also protect the body from other diseases.
For nut allergy sufferers
Nut allergy sufferers in particular should be happy about the tiger nuts. The tuber, which is botanically unrelated to nuts, can therefore not cause or trigger any allergies . But it tastes like the normal almond and can also be used in the same way. You can either enjoy them roasted and sweetened as a snack or use tiger nut flour for baking. Incidentally, the tiger nut is also gluten-free and has an anti-inflammatory effect – a real asset for anyone suffering from allergies.
Improves brain performance
Whether athletes, pupils or students: everyone who is dependent on their ability to think in everyday life should support their brain functions with the right nutrition. The tiger nut not only promotes concentration , it also ensures better sleep and has an antidepressant effect . The reason for this is the potassium and magnesium contained in it in abundance .
The electrolyte potassium plays an important role in the functioning of the nervous system . If the nervous system is functioning optimally, stimuli are transmitted quickly via the nerve tracts. This allows our brain to process new information quickly and enable performance . Magnesium also plays a key role in the transmission of nerve signals to the muscles , which is particularly beneficial for athletes. Magnesium also calms the nervous system and ensures proper metabolism of the cells .
Despite their health-promoting benefits, the tigernut is still very rarely found in German supermarkets. Instead, you should look for the superfood in health food stores or online shops . Especially online, the range is relatively large and you can choose between whole tubers, tigernut butter, milk and flour. The products are often offered in organic quality and imported from distant countries. That’s why most tigernut products are not necessarily a bargain – it’s still worth buying.
Recipes with tigernuts
Tigernuts can be used in a variety of ways. First of all, how you prepare them depends on their condition. Just like normal nuts, they are suitable for refining vegetable pans, for roasting, deep-frying and frying .
Whole tubers as a snack
Raw tigernuts are great as a snack between meals. To do this, they must first be soaked for a few hours , because the tiger nut has a firm consistency. Of course, you can also eat the tubers raw, but you need a firm bite to do so. If you choose the soaking method, you can eat them as whole nuts once they have swelled. The tiger nuts also taste particularly delicious when you fry or roast them . In winter, roasted tigernuts are a delicious and harmless alternative for nut allergy sufferers.
Tigernut chips are very healthy and still full of nutrients. Some of these are already available in conventional supermarkets, but you can also easily make them yourself. To do this, first wash the tigernuts thoroughly and then let them soak for at least three hours until they swell and become soft. Then you let them dry in the oven at around 40° Celsius , before that you can drizzle them with a little oil and season them, depending on your preference. Once the tubers have dried, all you have to do is cut them into thin slices.
Tigernut flour is both gluten-free and safe for nut allergy sufferers. Therefore, a flour mixture made from tigernuts is a great alternative to grain and suitable for all kinds of pastries. However, it is advisable to mix the tiger nut flour with other mixtures, for example amaranth flour. This will help the dough stick together better.
tiger nut oil
Tigernut oil is very healthy and easily digestible because of the highly concentrated ingredients . It can be used to refine salads, stir-fry vegetables and for marinating . The oil is so valuable because it consists almost exclusively of monounsaturated – and therefore particularly rich – fatty acids. By the way, you can use the oil for frying and frying.
Make your own tiger nut milk
In Spain you can find the drink “Horchata de Chufa” on almost every corner, here you only need a few ingredients to reproduce it true to the original. “Horchata de Chufa” means something like soft drink made from tiger nuts, but has a milky consistency. To make the drink yourself, you first have to soak the tigernuts well. This works best overnight. When the tigernuts are soft, all you have to do is puree them finely in a blender with about 100 ml of water . Now press the milky mixture through a nut milk bag or alternatively through a simple tea towel. The viscous residue that remains in the bag is called pomace . Don’t throw it away – it’s great for muesli or pastries.
In the next step, put the sweet tiger nut milk back into a blender and add about 400 ml of water . Now only one tablespoon of sugar is missing. A healthier way to sweeten the milk is to add about 6 dates, a pinch of cinnamon , and some lemon juice. After you have pureed all the ingredients again, you can enjoy the milk in the classic way with an ice cube.
This milk alternative is not only delicious for vegans, people with nut allergies and people with lactose intolerance . It is also healthier than regular milk. You can conjure up a delicious shake from the tiger nut milk by adding berries, bananas and other fruit. However, since the mixture does not keep for long, you should use it up quickly or freeze it carefully .
There are many different variations of tigernut flakes. Depending on what you want to use them for, you can buy them coarsely or finely ground. There are also natural tigernut flakes and roasted ones. These taste a bit crispier, although the roasted aroma can hardly be tasted. The flakes taste particularly delicious in homemade muesli bars, yoghurt or quark . You can use them as an alternative to oatmeal or use them in addition to baking. No matter how, tigernut flakes enrich a healthy breakfast.