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Health benefits of tiger nuts

6 evidence-based health benefits of tiger nuts

Tiger nuts have traditionally been used as food and medicine. Here are 6 emerging health benefits of tiger nuts.

Health Benefits
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6 evidence-based health benefits of tiger nuts
Last updated on November 6, 2023, and last reviewed by an expert on June 5, 2023.

Tiger nuts — chufa, yellow nutsedge, or earth almonds — are not nuts but edible tubers.

6 evidence-based health benefits of tiger nuts

They’re the size of a chickpea but wrinkly with a chewy texture and sweet, nutty flavor similar to coconut.

Tiger nuts were one of the first plants cultivated in Egypt and are traditionally used as food and medicine.

They’re rich in various nutrients and have been linked to several health benefits — from better digestion to a reduced risk of heart disease.

Here are 6 emerging health benefits of tiger nuts.

1. Tiger nuts are rich in nutrients

Tiger nuts contain a variety of nutrients and beneficial plant compounds.

Their specific nutrient content depends on the type. There are three main varieties of tiger nuts:

On average, 1 ounce (28 grams) provides:

Tiger nuts are also a rich source of antioxidants, beneficial compounds that protect your body against aging and diseases like cancer and heart disease.

Research shows that germinating tiger nuts before eating them increases their antioxidant content.

That said, tiger nuts also contain antinutrients, such as phytates, oxalates, saponins, and tannins, which can reduce nutrient absorption in your gut.

Germinating or roasting the tubers before eating reduces their antinutrient levels, making it easier for your body to absorb and use their many nutrients.

Summary: Tiger nuts are tubers rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial plant compounds. Germinating or roasting tiger nuts before eating them can boost their antioxidant levels and improve your body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

2. Tiger nuts may improve digestion

Tiger nuts may promote healthy digestion in various ways.

They’re high in insoluble fiber, which passes through your gut without being digested. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stools and helps food move through your gut easily, reducing the likelihood of constipation.

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Tiger nuts are also presumed to contain resistant starch, a type of fiber that can feed the friendly bacteria in your gut, helping your digestion run smoothly.

Moreover, tiger nuts may contain enzymes, such as catalases, lipases, and amylases, which help break down foods in your gut, relieving gas, indigestion, and diarrhea.

Remember that the high fiber content of tiger nuts may initially cause unpleasant gas or bloating. Those interested in trying them should increase their portions gradually.

Summary: Tiger nuts are a good source of insoluble fiber, which can prevent constipation and help your digestion run smoothly. Add them to your diet gradually to avoid unpleasant gas or bloating.

3. Tiger nuts may reduce blood sugar levels

Tiger nuts may help keep your blood sugar levels in check.

Animal studies show that tiger nut extract may help reduce blood sugar levels. This may, in large part, be due to the high fiber content of the tubers, which may slow down the absorption of sugar in the gut.

The protein in tiger nuts also contains a high proportion of the amino acid arginine, which may increase insulin production and sensitivity, which are important for blood sugar management.

It should be noted, however, that the amount of arginine used in the cited human study (9 grams) is much higher than the amount you’ll find in a single serving of tiger nuts, which contains 1 gram of protein.

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Moreover, test-tube studies show that tiger nut extract may inhibit the action of carb-digesting enzymes in your gut.

As a result, less sugar may be absorbed from your gut, similar to the action of some blood-sugar-lowering diabetic medications. This is thought to potentially lower blood sugar levels, though more research in humans is needed.

Summary: Tiger nuts are rich in fiber and arginine, which can contribute to lower blood sugar levels. They also contain compounds that may reduce how much sugar your gut absorbs after a carb-rich meal.

4. Tiger nuts may improve heart health

Tiger nuts may also be good for the health of your heart.

That’s partly because of their high amount of monounsaturated fats, which give them a fat profile similar to that of heart-healthy olive oil.

Diets rich in monounsaturated fats are linked to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and higher HDL (good) cholesterol levels. They are also associated with a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from heart disease.

Research also links tiger nuts to better blood circulation and a lower likelihood of blood clots, which can reduce your risk of heart disease.

Summary: Tiger nuts are rich in heart-healthy fats. They may improve vein and artery flexibility and blood circulation, reducing your risk of heart disease.

5. Tiger nuts may boost your immune system and help fight infections

Tiger nuts may contribute to a stronger immune system.

In one test-tube study, tiger nut extracts were tested against several bacteria that can cause an infection in humans. The extract was effective against E. coli, Staphylococcus, and Salmonella bacteria.

Another cell study found similar results. The researchers added that tiger nut extracts might also effectively fight antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.

However, more studies are needed before strong conclusions can be drawn.

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Summary: Tiger nuts may contribute to the body building a stronger immune response against infections, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Yet, more research is needed.

6. Tiger nuts may act as an aphrodisiac

Tiger nuts have a history of being used to boost libido.

They’re used as aphrodisiacs in Ayurvedic medicine. In addition, men in Nigeria have used tiger nuts for generations to treat erectile dysfunction, increase sperm count, and boost libido.

That said, few studies have investigated these supposed aphrodisiac properties.

One mouse study showed that tiger nuts helped preserve testicular weight and sperm production following heavy metal poisoning.

In a rat study, eating a large number of tiger nuts for 30 days increased testosterone levels, boosted sexual activity, and reduced intromission time between mating sessions.

However, there are no studies on using tiger nuts as an aphrodisiac in humans, so more research is needed before any conclusions can be made.

Summary: Tiger nuts are used as a natural aphrodisiac in some parts of the world. However, human research is needed to confirm their libido-boosting effects.

How to add tiger nuts to your diet

Tiger nuts are versatile and can be added to your diet in various ways.

They can be eaten raw or roasted and tend to be softer and easier to chew when soaked or boiled in water.

They make for a tasty snack but can also be used as toppings for various dishes, such as breakfast cereal, smoothies, salads, and yogurts.

Additionally, tiger nuts can be mixed with nuts and dried fruit for an alternative take on trail mix. They may also be ground and used in bread or other baked goods. Ground tiger nuts are a great gluten-free replacement for flour or binder in veggie burgers.

In Spain, tiger nuts make a popular plant milk known as horchata de chufa. They can also be turned into dairy-free yogurts and ice cream.

Suggested read: Top 20 foods high in soluble fiber

Summary: Tiger nuts can be added to your diet in many ways. They can be consumed raw or cooked, eaten on their own, or used as part of meals, dairy-free products, or baked goods.


Although not technically a nut, tiger nuts are an interesting addition to a health-promoting diet.

They’re rich in nutrients, contribute to good digestion, and may protect against infections and health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

Remember that these tubers are fiber-rich, so those interested in adding them to their diet should do so gradually to avoid any potential unpleasant bloating or gas.

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