Cyperus esculentus, also called water grass, tiger nutsedge, nut grass or yellow nutsedge, is a plant characterized by an edible rhizome called tiger nuts or sweet almond, chufa in Spanish.
Tiger nuts, properties
Tiger nuts, characterized by a natural sweet taste, provide carbohydrates and therefore energy, are rich in proteins, fibers, antioxidants such as terpenoids and saponins, mineral salts such as phosphorus, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron and zinc, vitamins such as E and C, and fatty acids, mainly unsaturated, especially oleic and linoleic, in a composition very similar to that of olive oil and therefore protective for the heart (Rosello Soto et al, Fermentation, 2018 - Bado et al, Journal of Analytical Methods in Chemistry, 2015 - Kontogianni et al, Clin Cardiol, 2007). These characteristics make tiger nuts an anti-inflammatory remedy, able to stimulate the immune defenses and useful to protect the health of the cardiovascular system. Not only that, the fibers of the tiger nuts make it a food able to counteract constipation, to reduce the risk of developing colon cancer and to keep hunger under control (Onuoha et al, J Intercult Ethnopharmacol, 2017 - Badejo et al, Prev Nutr Food Ski, 2014 ).
Tiger nuts, how can be assumed
The rhizomes, which are commercially found in dried form, can be eaten after a period of soaking. Alternatively, it is possible to find different products based on tiger nuts, such as flour, which can be added to cereals or yogurt, particularly recommended for breakfast because in this way you can get more energy and keep under control the hunger thanks to the fiber of the tiger nuts. But this flour can also be used in the preparation of puddings or soups. Do not forget the horchata, a type of vegetable milk based on tiger nut and typical of the city of Valencia, Spain, but that, nowadays, thanks to online commerce, can be purchased everywhere. Horchata is much appreciated for its mineral salt content and because it can be drunk hot or cold, in summer it is very refreshing. Finally, a consideration regarding the choice of tiger nuts based products. In this case it would be better to choose products prepared with tiger nuts subjected to working processes such as germination, fermentation or roasting as in this way the food loses many of the substances considered to be anti-nutrients, which in fact prevents the absorption of other nutrients (Okoye et al, Journal of Food technology and food chemistry, 2018).