9 Health Benefits of Tiger Nuts

They’re not really nuts, but they ARE good for you, helping with digestion and blood sugar.

They aren’t actually nuts. And the only thing they have in common with tigers is their stripes. But tiger nuts — and related products like tiger nut flour and milk — are finding their way into more kitchens.

Also known as chufa nuts, Earth almonds and earthnuts, tiger nuts have been around for centuries. Some ancient Egyptians had tiger nuts in their tombs, presumably so they could enjoy them in the afterlife.

Today, more Americans are putting tiger nuts on their grocery shopping lists — and for good reasons. Registered dietitian Gillian Culbertson, RD, LD, calls tiger nuts a superfood. “They’re low in calories and packed with nutrients,” she says. Here’s what else you need to know about this rising food star.


What are tiger nuts?

Tiger nuts are tubers, or the bulbous root of a stem. They grow underground and provide nutrients to a grass-like plant called yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus lativum), commonly found in Africa and Spain.

This ancient root has more in common with potatoes and yams than nuts. But tiger nuts are much smaller (about the size of a marble or, dare we say, a nut?) with stripes on the outside.

“Tiger nuts are extremely versatile. You can eat them raw, dried or cooked,” says Culbertson. “They have a sweet, nutty flavor similar to almonds.”

The tubers can be ground into flour, roasted for a snack or boiled and turned into milk or juice. Tiger nuts are the key ingredient in traditional Spanish horchata de chufa, a sweetened nut milk (although the more familiar Mexican horchata is made with rice).

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