Browsing your local organic supermarket or health food shop, you may have seen a new kid on the super food block. The Tiger Nut has come out of nowhere (for UK consumers) to now feature in a plethora of healthy recipes, as well as being ‘milked’ and sold as Tiger Nut Milk. So what are tiger nuts and why is the UK health community suddenly so into them?
Tiger Nuts are not actually a nut, nor do they have anything to do with tigers - let’s get that out of the way. They are actually tubers; which in biology are what some plant species use to store nutrients and energy to get through the winter, and in some cases, for reproduction. In the west, our most popular tubers are potatoes and sweet potatoes.
The name ‘tiger’ refers to their appearance, a rusty light brown with ‘stripes’ and although they’re relatively new to us, there’s evidence to suggest that early man was including tiger nuts in his diet. They were also part of the plates of ancient Egyptians and Native Americans.
Across the world, tiger nuts are used in different ways. In West Africa, they are a popular snack while the Valencia region of Spain has been using them to make a sweet milky drink for years – they call this horchata. Tiger nuts can also be used to make flour and tiger nut oil which is monounsaturated and so, coined a ‘healthy fat’.
So why are tiger nuts getting a good rep? Well, they’re full of fibre and we all know how important fibre is to stay regular! It’s also great at keeping you feeling fuller, for longer. They contain magnesium which helps fight osteoporosis and develop muscle, as well as vitamins C and E!