The Amazing Benefits Of Tiger nut “Hausa Groundnut”
Tiger nut is a perennial crop which is botanically known as Cyperus esculentus. It is an important ancient food crop that originate from Egypt.
It is not a nut but a small root vegetable crop found wide spread in Africa, Europe, Asia, and Madagascar.
It is cultivated for its edible tubers, called earth almonds or Chufa which is eaten as a snack food and also used for the preparation of beverages such as horchata de chufa– a sweet milk-like beverage in Spain and kunnu aya in Nigeria.
During ancient times Tiger nuts were eaten either raw, roasted, boiled, or sometimes baked. It can also be blended to obtain its juice for making tiger nut milk (kunnu aya) and oil.
Very little was known about this root nut until researchers discovered that tiger nut contains an enormous nutritional value with overwhelming health benefits.
In Nigeria, tiger nut is commonly referred to as Aya by the Hausa, Ofio by the Yoruba, and Imumu by the Igbos.
In southern Nigeria, it is popularly referred to as Hausa groundnut. The demand for tiger nut is on the increase especially in the western world – if you start tiger nut farming now, you have it all to gain.
Advantages of Tiger Nut Farm
- A single tiger nut plant can produce several hundred to several thousand tubers during a single growing season.
- When conditions are not favorable, the foliage, roots, rhizomes, and basal bulbs die, but the tubers survive and re-sprout following favorable season.
- They can re-sprout for several years.
- Tiger nut can self-propagate through the rhizome and basal bulb near the soil surface
- It is pollinated by wind
- Tuber initiation requires very low levels of nitrogen and photoperiods
- It can tolerate many adverse soil conditions such as long periods of drought, flooding, and unstable soil temperatures. However, they do not tolerate salinity
- It grows best on sandy soil. They can also be planted on containers
- Tiger nut does well without adequate care
Uses of Tiger Nut
- Tiger nuts can be used to produce various non-alcoholic milk beverages such as kunnu aya.
- Flour made from roasted tiger nut is sometimes used to make biscuits and other bakery products.
- It is used in the making of oil, butter, soap, and starch extracts. The oil can be used naturally with salads.
- It is also used for the production of nougat, jam, and beer as well as a flavoring agent in ice cream.
- Tiger nuts are prepared in a manner to be used as bait for fish especially carbs
- It has been suggested that tiger nut is a potential crop that can be used for the production of Biodiesel as it contains about 36% of oil.
The Nutritional Value And Health Benefits Of Tiger Nut
Though tiger nut is a root tuber, however, its chemical composition shares characteristics with tubers and nuts. Tiger nut is rich in protein and energy content such as starch, fat, and sugar. It is also a major source of minerals such as potassium and phosphorus. Tiger nut is an important food product that has enormous health benefits which include the following;
- It has a positive impact on the immune system- maintain proper nerve co-ordination and aid memory retention
- Tiger nut tea cleanse the body from toxins thus helps the liver to function properly
- Tiger nuts have high insoluble dietary fiber content. This helps to regulate blood sugar levels by reducing the frequency of eating (appetite suppressant). It also helps to reduce obesity and maintain good body shape. Its high fiber content helps to prevent constipation, indigestion, stomach upset, and other bowel troubles
- Tiger nut milk drink is a vital source of protein for people that are lactose intolerant as it does not contain lactose present in dairy milk and dairy products.
- It is also a vital source of protein for vegetarians
- Tiger nut milk drink is rich in calcium and good for children because it contributes to teeth and bone formation. It also helps to prevent the development of bone-related diseases such as osteomalacia and osteoporosis etc.
- High content of vitamin E and antioxidants which helps prevent cancer
- Tiger nut is very rich in magnesium which is very important for the normal functioning of the body. It is needed for proper nerve cell activity and muscle function. It also has a positive impact on bones and teeth formation
- Tiger nut is also rich in the amino acids- Arginine which helps to decrease the chances of clog in blood vessels thus maintain normal blood flow
- Tiger nuts just like other nuts generally helps in preventing and treating heart diseases, muscle cramps, clogged arteries, and headaches because of its rich source of unsaturated fat content
- The high content of potassium in tiger nut helps in the normal functioning of body organs and cells. It also helps to prevent and treat abnormal blood pressure and other health challenges
- A beverage produced from the mixture of tiger nuts, dates and coconut has been known to boost male libido thus improving sexual health and fertility.
- Tiger nuts contain a rich amount of vitamin E which helps fight against wrinkles thus keeping the skin healthy. It also helps to prevent premature aging.
- Tiger nut is an important food product that can be used to tackle malnutrition, especially in African. Its high amount of iron and vitamin c is paramount for the proper development of children – Vitamin C helps the absorption of calcium and prevention of a disease condition called Rickets. Iron contributes to the production of red blood cells thus preventing anemic conditions.
The nutritional and medical benefits of tiger nut is extensive and inexhaustible. It is a single tuber that happens to be a balance diet itself. No wonder its demand is ever increasing especially in the western world. It is unfortunate that despite the tuber is popularly known in African countries, its benefit is seldom known.
The Amazing Benefits Of Tiger nut “Hausa Groundnut”