Tiger nuts popularly known as “Aya” in Nigeria is a popular nut eaten and loved by many. It has other names like earth almond, tiger nutsedge, and yellow nutsedge. They are popular worldwide and they have been used for centuries as foods and medicines.
In Nigeria, it is available in the dried and fresh form and can be taken as a drink called “kunu Aya” in the Hausa language. They are one of the superfoods on the planet. They have a flavor similar to that of almonds and coconuts.
They can be eaten raw when freshly dug out of the ground, they can also be juiced to get tiger nut milk, and they can be boiled, roasted or dried to prolong the shelf life. Tiger nut flour is also available in some countries.
The dried one is available all year round while the fresh one is nutritious. These nuts are packed with lots of energy, proteins, sugars, fats, and starch. It is also rich in minerals and vitamins like vitamins E and C, potassium and phosphorous.
These nuts are healthy and cut the risks of chronic diseases like heart diseases and they boost the circulation of blood. They also fight cancer because they contain soluble glucose, it has a high content of fiber than oat bran, chia seeds, cabbage, plums, and carrots.
It controls weight gain because it suppresses appetite and it boosts digestion and prevents digestive problems. Below are the wonderful health benefits of tiger nuts.
Health Benefits of Tiger Nuts
A Healthy Substitute for Milk
Tiger nut milk is a healthy substitute for milk and it is safe for consumption if you have lactose intolerance or allergic to milk and dairy products.
The milk of tiger nut does not contain lactose, so anyone can drink it. It is rich in calcium which is used in building healthy bones and teeth. It aids the development of healthy bones and teeth in little children.
It has a high content of vital nutrients and fats among all other substitutes of milk.
Prevents Cardiovascular Disease
The high content of vitamin E in these nuts protects the heart and prevents cardiovascular disease. They also contain a rich amount of potassium which is essential for the heart, it helps the contractions of the heart muscles and other functions of this vital organs.
It also maintains proper blood pressure and prevents hypertension which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and heart attacks and other chronic diseases. They boost the levels of good cholesterol because they are rich in the monounsaturated fatty acids, oleic acid which boosts the levels of healthy cholesterol.
Rich in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are powerful compounds that fight diseases, premature aging and inflammation, tiger nuts are loaded in these. They also fight free radicals which cause oxidative damage and other chronic diseases.
High in Fiber and Serves as Prebiotics
It is estimated that a serving of tiger nuts has ten grams of fiber, this provides half of your daily requirement of fiber. Fiber is an important nutrient, it aids proper digestion of foods and even helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases by reducing high levels of cholesterol.
It detoxifies the body of wastes, cholesterol, fats, toxin and foreign bodies. It controls weight gain by reducing appetite and hunger because it makes you feel full consistently. They also serve as foods for the healthy bacteria in the gut, they act as “resistant starch” also known as Prebiotics which is what the friendly bacteria feed on.
They also fight indigestion and prevent digestive problems like gas, flatulence, bloating and constipation.
They have Antibacterial Properties
These nuts have strong antibacterial properties, when ingested, they can fight harmful bacteria present in the body thereby decreasing the risk of a bacterial infection. Their effectiveness has been proven on the harmful species of E. coli and Salmonella.
It is on the list of various plants used by naturopaths to treat bacterial infections in the body; it is used in the developing parts of the world to treat bacterial infections resistant to antibiotics. It also boosts the immune system and its effects on viruses are being studied.
When having any microbial infections, remember to eat lots of tiger nuts.
Boost Sexual Health
These nuts increase sexual urge and boost sexual performance. It boosts the levels of testosterone thereby treating low levels of testosterone and erectile dysfunction and impotence.
Native healers in Ghana have used these nuts for decades to treat sexual problems, erectile dysfunction and infertility because of its ability to balance the levels of hormones.
Relieve Headaches, Stress, and Insomnia
The rich content of minerals in these nuts like potassium and magnesium boosts the circulation of blood and protects the blood vessels, this, in turn, relieves headaches caused by swollen blood vessels.
These nuts are rich in vitamin B1, this vitamin fights stress and relaxes the body. it controls the functions of the nervous system and relaxes the mind.
Tiger nut milk is given to people who find it difficult to sleep because of their rich nutrient content; it relaxes the body and helps them sleep well.
Strengthen Muscles, Cure Dry Eyes and Nourish the Skin
Tiger nuts are rich in vitamins E and C, this vitamins nourish the skin and promote youthfulness. It increases the elasticity of the skin, it maintains a healthy glow and keeps the skin moisturized.
These nuts are used as eye compress because they fight inflammation and relieve a dry eye. This is good for those who spend long hours working in front of a computer. The rich content of omega-3 fatty acids in these nuts maintains healthy eyes.
The rich content of magnesium in these nuts boosts the functions of the nerves and strengthens the muscles. They also contain a good amount of proteins which helps to build the muscles and repair damages.
Treat Anemia and Heal Wounds
These superfoods are loaded with iron, the body uses this vital mineral to make new red blood cells and hemoglobin thereby preventing and treating anemia.
They also treat wounds and ulcers due to their rich content of vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids and their anti-inflammatory properties hasten healing.