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The Superfood Snack of 2015 for Gut Health

If you haven’t heard of Tiger Nuts yet, it’s sure to be all over Paleo blogs in no time.  These little gems have been rather quietly entering mainstream superfoods this year, and I recently got my hands on a bag. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised at how sweet they tasted.  With all the health benefits that come with eating them, Tiger Nuts may very well be the most convenient superfood on the market!

Here are the health benefits I’m talking about:

 1.  They are actually tubers (not nuts), which means allergen-free

Tiger Nuts are small root vegetables, part of the tuber family.  They originate from northern Africa and the Mediterranean, and actually comprised a major part of our Paleolithic ancestors’ diet around 2 million years ago. Not only are Tiger Nuts Paleo-Diet friendly, but also raw-vegan, nut-free and gluten-free.

 2.  Amazing for gut health

Tiger nuts are one of the best sources of resistant starch, which acts as a prebiotic in the gut. Amy Nett, MD of the California Center for Functional Medicine explains how resistant starch and prebiotics work in:

Resistant Starches

“Resistant starch is a type of starch that is not digested in the stomach or small intestine, reaching the colon intact.  Thus, it “resists” digestion.  This explains why we do not see spikes in either blood glucose or insulin after eating RS, and why we do not obtain significant calories from RS.”

Prebiotics

“Prebiotics are indigestible carbohydrates, or at least indigestible to us, that reach the colon intact and selectively feed many strains of beneficial bacteria.  Prebiotics are generally classified into three different types: non-starch polysaccharides (such as inulin and fructooligosaccharide), soluble fiber (including psyllium husk and acacia fibers), and resistant starch (RS).  Each of these types of prebiotics feeds different species of gut bacteria, but among these, RS is emerging as uniquely beneficial.”

 3.  Full of anti-inflammatory fat and high in fibre

Tiger nuts have a healthy lipid profile comparable to olive oil, at about 73% monounsaturated fat (Omega-9), 18% saturated fat and 9% polyunsaturated fat.  That, along with almost half a days worth of non-soluble fibre in one serving, makes this food excellent for people with high cholesterol and/or weight loss goals, and also diabetics, controlling blood sugar levels.  But before you start snacking on these too much, it’s important to consider a gradual increase in dietary fibre and prebiotics, since eating large amounts at once may cause bloating and flatulence. To prevent gastrointestinal upset, make sure to increase your fluid intake as you eat Tiger Nuts or any other fibre-rich foods.

 4.  Source of Vitamins C and E, and minerals such as Potassium, Iron, Phosphorus and Magnesium. VitaminC:

Helps boost your immune system. Vitamin E:  Fights harmful free-radicals, which helps prevent cancer and heart disease. Potassium:  Electrolyte that regulates muscle contraction.  25 Tiger nuts contain more potassium than a banana. Iron:  A serving of Tiger Nuts contains about 20% of your daily value. Phosphorus and Magnesium:  Both are found in equal parts (15%) for one serving, and contribute to bone health and, particularly Mg, is needed for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body.

If that’s not convincing enough for you, consider also that Tiger Nuts contain high amounts of arginine, an amino acid which aids in regulating blood pressure.

Now go get some of your own nuts and consider yourself an early-adopter of a food that’s about to make waves!

Thank you to Natacha Moussi and our friends at the Coconut for putting this piece together. For more well-written, and informed articles, on all things health & wellbeing check out their website at www.thecoconut.com

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