Tiger nuts, also commonly known as earth almonds, are packed with nutrients to improve health and wellbeing. These tubers have been around for years–in fact, they were one of the first plants to be cultivated in Europe. Tiger nuts are rich in fiber, vitamin E, and plant compounds that strengthen the immune system and improve digestion. This superfood has gained popularity in recent years, as companies like Califia are using it to make plant-based milk, flour, and granola. The tiger nut milk market is anticipated to reach sales of $900 million by 2030, according to emerging market research.

What Are Tiger Nuts?

Tiger nuts come from the cyperus esculentus crop and are grown underground in a humid climate. This superfood dates back to more than 4,000 years ago, where it was being harvested as a staple of many ancient diets. This is probably attributed to how tiger nuts are low in calories, but high in fiber – perfect for a paleo or keto diet. The name “tiger nuts” comes from the fact that these tubers have a wrinkled, tiger-striped exterior, similar to that of a nut. Packaged tiger nuts have a high shelf life and can be eaten roasted, boiled, or soaked.

Five Health Benefits Of Tiger Nuts

In an exclusive interview with The Beet, Kristen Carli, RD, registered dietitian and founder of Camelback Nutrition & Wellness explained the health benefits of tiger nuts and why it’s considered a nutritional powerhouse.

Here are five big benefits of this superfood that will boost your health:

1. Tiger Nuts May Improve Digestion

Tiger nuts are high in insoluble fiber, which helps food move through the digestive tract. “In one serving of tiger nuts, you receive about 7g of fiber, which is almost 30 percent of your daily value,” Carli says. Insoluble fiber also adds bulk to your stool and can help reduce the risk of constipation. They also are rich in prebiotics, which helps increase good bacteria in your gut.

2. Tiger Nuts May Boost Heart Health

Believe it or not, tiger nuts may be the secret weapon to a healthy heart. They are packed with healthy fats, which are linked with low “bad” LDL cholesterol and high “good” LDL cholesterol, according to the Mayo Clinic. Moreover, one serving of tiger nuts contains 3-5 percent of potassium, a mineral that is key for heart health. Potassium helps ease tension in the walls of our blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure, the American Heart Association says.

3. Tiger Nuts May Strengthen Your Immune System

Tiger nuts are filled with resistant starch, which feeds the “good bacteria” into our gut microbiome. Our gut is one of our first lines of defense, so a healthy gut is key to a healthy immune system. “Research shows that tiger nuts have antibacterial, immune-boosting properties,” Carli says. A 2013 study published in SpringerPlus found that tiger nuts acted as an antibiotic when in contact with microbial strains, suggesting that it could be used as a dietary treatment for bacterial infections. However, more research is needed to establish an association of how tiger nuts improve the immune system.

4. Tiger Nuts May Decrease Blood Sugar Levels

Tiger nuts are known for preventing blood sugar spikes, which means you won’t experience that midday energy slump. The high fiber content in this superfood slows the absorption of sugar, controlling blood sugar levels, the Mayo Clinic says. Tiger nuts are also high in the amino acid arginine. A 2014 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that tiger nuts may increase insulin sensitivity, which means the cells are using blood sugar more effectively.

5. Tiger Nuts May Act As An Aphrodisiac

Aphrodisiacs are substances that may increase libido. Although there is not enough research to establish how tiger nuts may act as an aphrodisiac, some animal studies have shown that it increases mating. A 2015 study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that the serum testosterone levels increased in male rats after the consumption of tiger nuts. However, more research is needed to identify their libido-boosting effects on humans.

How To Use Tiger Nuts And Where To Buy Them

Tiger nuts are usually sold in their dried, ready-to-eat form. They are also available as flour or milk. Nowadays, you can find them at your organic supermarket or local grocery store. This superfood is a great way to get your recommended fiber and potassium intake in addition to other vitamins and minerals.
“Tiger nuts can be eaten raw and mixed with nuts and dried fruit to make a homemade trail mix. They can also be eaten cooked by boiling them and roasting them with salt, pepper, garlic, and olive oil and served as a veggie side,” Carli says. Some of our favorite brands with tiger nut products include Organic Gemini, Pamela’s, and ROOTS.

More From The Beet