Health Benefits and Nutrition of Tiger Nuts (Yellow nutgrass, Chufa, Cyperus esculentus)
Tigernuts are small tubers and not actual nuts at all. They are tubers and they grow on the ground, much like a potato. They are nature’s way of delivering a natural, great tasting, nutritious, and Gluten FREE. The ancient Egyptians knew that the fruit of Tigernuts grass also called Chufa (Cyperus esculentes) was highly beneficial, both as medicine and nutrition. Its root tubers are distinguished by an unusually high proportion of fibre and a delicious taste.
Chufa is a grass-like plant of the Trans-Saharan Island. It has cylindrical tubers of several species of black, brown and gold of 20 inches in height, lance-shaped leaves small spikes of green flowers.
Sugar-free chufa milk is suitable for diabetic people and also helps in weight control, due to its content of carbohydrates with a base of sucrose and starch (without glucose), and its high content of Arginine, which liberates the hormone that produces insulin.
The milk supplies the body with enough quantity of Vitamin E, essential for fertility in both men and women. Vitamin E also delays cell aging, improves elasticity of skin and helps to clear the appearance of wrinkles, acne and other skin alterations.
Chufa milk is used as a liver tonic, heart stimulant, drank to heal serious stomach pain, to promote normal menstruation, to heal mouth and gum ulcers, used in Ayurvedic medicines and is a powerful aphrodisiac (sexual stimulant). The black species of the Chufa is an excellent medicine for breast lumps and cancer. The tubers have a relatively high total antioxidant capacity, because they contain considerable amounts of water-soluble flavonoid glycosides.
It is recommended for those who suffer from indigestion, flatulence and diarrhoea because it provides digestive enzymes like the catalase, lipase and amylase. The high content of oleic acid has positive effect on cholesterol, thereby preventing heart attacks, thrombosis and activates blood content of soluble glucose. Chufa reduces the risk of colon cancer. It prevents constipation.
Chufa contains a good quantity of vitamin B1, which assists in balancing the central nervous system and helps to encourage the body to adapt to stress.
Nutritious product with a high energy content (starch, fats, sugars and proteins), rich in minerals such as phosphorous, potassium and vitamins E and C:
Phosphorous, together with calcium, constitutes the bulk of the mineral substance of the bones and teeth. It plays a part in the formation of ATP, an energy compound indispensable for “activating” glucose, fatty acids, etc. It improves intellectual performance.
Potassium is the most important neural element in intracellular behaviour. It plays a part in numerous enzymatic reactions and in important physiological processes, such as cardiac rhythm, nervous conduction, muscle contraction.
Vitamin E plays a role in the formation and functioning of the red blood cells, muscles and other tissues. It is thought to have a preventive effect against cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Vitamin C its main functions are: Antioxidant; Encourages the absorption of iron; Helps maintain vitamin E levels; Indispensable for the inmunological system and for preserving the tissues.
Consumption of antioxidants could protect the immune system of malnourished populations. The intake of antioxidant-containing foods may delay the progression of HIV infection to AIDS.
For many years, the Chufa tubers have been considered to have adequate properties to fight respiratory infections, and some stomach illnesses. To this date, the Horchata de chufa is considered an effective remedy for diarrhea, according to popular tradition in Valencia, Spain. It promotes the production of urine and this is why it is a preventive measure for cyst, prostrate, hernia, rectum deformation and prolapsed (anal feature-small painful flesh at the tip of the anus) and to prevent endometriosis or fibrosis as well as blockage of the tip of the fallopian tube.
The oil reduces low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) and increases high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), reduces levels of triglycerides in blood and the risk of forming bloody clots, thereby preventing arteriosclerosis. It also stimulates the absorption of calcium in bones and the production of new bony material, due to short and medium chain fatty acids, oleic acid and essential fatty acids. It is also recommended for infants and the elderly because of its high content in Vitamin E and its antioxidant benefits in the cell membrane.
The starches obtained from Chufa and rice showed similar properties; the solutions of the starch exhibited a good paste stability, clarity, and adhesive strength. The starch can be used in many starch-based foods as well as in the cosmetic industry, and for laundry, glazing and stiffening. The waste residue after oil extraction could be further modified to produce syrups, flours, or livestock feeds.
Chufa is cholesterol free but contains 2.9 grams of sodium, so, it should be eaten in moderation by the blood group ‘O’s. nursing mothers should eat a lot of tiger nuts for enough production of their bosom milk to satisfy their babies.