Glossary of Foods: Tigernuts

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Have you discovered tigernuts yet? This unusual food is gaining momentum in the world of nutrition as an incredibly healthy snack.

Tigernuts are erroneously referred to as nuts; they are in fact tubers, which grow under tall, grass-like plants. These plants can grow up to 3 feet tall and produce several hundred 1/8 inch to ½ inch tubers in a growing season. The tigernut plant grows most commonly in parts of Africa where the mild climate permits growing, as well as some places in Europe and Asia. The tigernut crop dates back thousands of years and is thought to have been a source of food for early settlers in the Archaic Period.

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Tigernuts are dried before packaging and are hard with wrinkly skin, almost resembling a peanut shell. The drying process gives them a longer shelf life and locks in nutrition. They can be eaten dried and roasted. They are also often rehydrated and made into nut milk called horchata in a similar process to almond milk.


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Tigernuts are high in vitamins B, C and E, plus phosphorus, potassium, calcium and iron. The tubers are also a great source of low-glycemic carbohydrates. The nut milk is suitable for diabetics and those requiring a gluten-free, lactose-free milk option. Protein content in tigernuts is similar to that found in red meat and very high considering its high carbohydrate level! Tigernuts are also a good source of healthy, unsaturated fats. High fiber in addition to healthy digestive enzymes in tigernuts may help relieve some digestive problems.

Because tigernuts are technically not a nut, they are suitable for people with nut allergies. Tigernuts are also gluten free and have appropriate carbohydrates for diabetics. High protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats make them a great balanced snack food.

>> Read more: Best Gluten-Free Meal Options