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Health Benefits of Tiger Nuts (Chufa)

Tiger nut

Tiger nuts, also known as chufa nuts or earth almonds, are small tubers of yellow nutsedge, or Cyperus esculentus. A popular snack among Paleo enthusiasts and raw foodists, dried tiger nuts are packed with nutrients like fiber, oleic acid, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins C and E (1). Because of their nutrient profile, tiger nuts have been researched for their potential health benefits, which include: promoting weight loss, lowering cholesterol levels, supporting a healthy digestive system, fighting inflammatory diseases, boosting fertility and promoting heart health. Read on for the details.

1. Tiger Nuts Have Weight Loss Promoting Properties

Tiger nuts – along with avocados, olive oil, and a few other foods – are rich in oleic acid, a type of monounsaturated fatty acid that converts into oleoylethanolamide (OEA) when it reaches the small intestine. OEA has been shown to suppress appetite by activating a brain area that increases the feeling of satiety (2).

In addition, there have been a couple of studies that have directly investigated the weight loss promoting properties of tiger nuts. In one such study, defatted tiger nut was found to reduce body weight gain in mice fed a high-fat diet (3). In another study, eating tiger nuts was found to contribute to effective weight loss and improvement of metabolic disorders among obese diabetic women (4).

2. Eating Tiger Nuts May Have Benefits for People with High Cholesterol Levels

Do you suffer from high cholesterol levels? Then, get some tiger nuts and start snacking!

A study published in the April 2012 issue of the journal Food Science and Biotechnology found that mice on a high-fat diet supplemented with defatted tiger nut showed lower levels of total cholesterol and triglyceride levels than mice in the control group. The animals in the control group consumed a high-fat diet without the tiger nut supplement. (3)

Another study, published in International Journal of Academic Research, found that a low-calorie diet supplemented with tiger nut pudding resulted in reductions in the levels of triglycerides, total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol (the so-called "bad cholesterol") levels, as well as an increase in HDL-cholesterol (the "good cholesterol") levels in obese women. When the tiger nut supplement was removed from the women's diet and replaced with other foods providing the same amount calories, the beneficial effects of the diet began to subside. (5)

3. They May Be Good for Your Digestive System, Too

Tiger nuts are an excellent source of fiber: a 100-gram serving of tiger nuts contains 9 grams of fiber (1), which corresponds to about one third of your daily requirement for this important macro-nutrient. Tiger nuts and tiger nut milk presumably also contain digestive enzymes such as lipase, which helps your body digest fats, and amylase helps your body break down starch (6).

In addition, tiger nuts have been shown to possess prebiotic properties, meaning that they can promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the intestines (7).

Given all that, it is not surprising that in some countries tiger nuts have been used as a natural remedy for digestive complaint such as indigestion and diarrhea (6).

4. Tiger Nuts Also Have Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Early research suggests that olive oil is good for people with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation of the joints. As the fatty acid profiles of tiger nut oil and olive oil are very similar, also tiger nut oil has garnered interest from scientists looking for new, natural remedies for arthritis and chronic inflammation.

In one study, the anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic effects of tiger not oil were evaluated in rats with carrageenan-induced paw inflammation and formaldehyde-induced arthritis. The researchers found that tiger nut oil both reduced inflammation and alleviated arthritis in the rats in a dose-dependent manner. (8)

5. They May Act as a Natural Fertility Booster

In India, South America and the Middle East, tiger nuts have been used traditionally to stimulate sexual arousal. Intrigued by the purported aphrodisiac properties of tiger nuts, a group of researchers set to investigate how ingestion of tiger nut extract affects sex drive and performance in male rats.

Compared with rats in the control group, those treated with tiger nut extract showed increased serum testosterone levels, reduced mount and intromission latencies, and an increased intromission frequency and ratio. The researchers concluded that tiger nuts can improve sex motivation and performance in rats. (9) In another study, administration of tiger nut extract to male rats was found to increase the rats' sperm count, sperm quality and testosterone levels, which led the researchers concluded that tiger nut extract could possibly be used as a fertility booster. (10)

6. They Contain Heart Health-Protecting Nutrients

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of death in the U.S., taking hundreds of thousands of lives each year. The good news is that, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 200,000 of deaths from cardiovascular diseases could be prevented each year.

In addition to engaging in regular exercise, adopting healthier eating habits are one of the best ways to keep your cardiovascular system healthy. In essence, a cardioprotective diet is low in salt and "bad" fats and rich in plant-based whole foods, particularly vegetables and fruits that are rich in antioxidants and fiber. As tiger nuts contain plenty of fiber, antioxidants and the same fatty acids that are believed to be responsible for the heart health protecting properties of olive oil, these nutty tubers could make a good addition to cardioprotective diets.

Can't wait to add tiger nuts to your diet to reap their health benefits?

You can buy tiger nuts online from retailers like Amazon or Amazon UK, or you can look for them in well-stocked health food stores. Either way, there's a good chance you'll end up checking out with a bag of Organic Gemini's tiger nuts. Based in New York, Organic Gemini is of the largest and most successful tiger nut dedicated companies in the northern hemisphere. All their tiger nuts are certified organic and non-gmo. They are also free from common allergens such as gluten and nut proteins, so they are a great choice for people with food allergies or sensitivities. If you're looking for the perfect on-the-go snack, try their peeled tiger nuts which are soft enough to chew without soaking.


1. E. Sanchez-Zapata et al (2012). Tiger Nut (Cyperus esculentus) Commercialization: Health Aspects, Composition, Properties, and Food Applications. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 11(4), 366-377.
2. S. Obici et al (2002). Central administration of oleic acid inhibits glucose production and food intake. Diabetes, 51(2): 271-5.
3. M. Kyung Moon et al (2012). Anti-obesity and hypolipidemic effects of chufa (Cyperus esculentus L.) in mice fed a high-fat diet. Food Science and Biotechnology, 21(2), 317-322.
4. S. El-Shebini et al (2010). Effect of Regular Consumpton of Tiger Nut (Cyperus Esculentus) on Insulin Resistance and Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha in Obese Type 2 Diabetic Egyptian Women. The Medical Journal of Cairo University, 78(2).
5. S. El-Shebini et et (2011). Short Term Effect of Cyperus Esculentus Supplement on Body Weight, Insulin Sensitivity and Serum Lipoproteins in Egyptian Obese Patients. International Journal of Academic Research, 3(3), 539-544.
6. M. Bixquert-Jimenez M et al (2003). Horchata y salud. Propiedades saludables y de prevencion de enfermedades digestivas. Jornada Chufa y Horchata, tradicion y salud. Fundacion valenciana de estudios avanzados (ed), Valencia, Spain, pp 73-85.
7. S. Kheoane et al (2017). Antioxidant and Prebiotic Activity of Selected Edible Wild Plant Extracts. Journal of Food Research, 6(1).
8. S. Biradar et al (2010). Antiinflammatory, antiarthritic, analgesic and anticonvulsant activity of cyperus essential oils. International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2(4).
9. M. Allouh et al (2015). Influence of Cyperus esculentus tubers (Tiger Nut) on male rat copulatory behavior. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 15: 331.
10. U. Ekaluo et al (2015). Effect of Aqueous Extract of Tigernut (Cyperus esculentus L.) on Sperm Parameters and Testosterone Level of Male Albino Rats. Asian Journal of Biotechnology, 7, (1): 39-45.

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