Health Benefits of Tigernuts + Baby Tigernut Turtles (AIP, GAPS, Paleo, GF, DF)
Ok, so I’ve got an awesome AIP dessert recipe for you, but before you go and grab it I want you to understand just how awesome they are!
These Baby Tigernut Turtles use a couple of awesome ingredients, including dates and collagen, but today I’m gonna spread the love for tigernuts!
As you may or may not know, those of us following the autoimmune protocol (AIP) omit nuts & seeds during the elimination phase. This can be a tough one because that means no almond flour, nut milk or nut butter of any kind! So what do we have to save the day?
“But it says nut right in the name, Megan… pretty sure you can have them.”
Yea, it’s a funny thing, but even though they’re called tigerNUTS they’re actually not nuts at all. They’re TUBERS (basically just tiny little roots!). This means that they don’t contain the phytic acid or digestive enzyme inhibitors that make nuts a no-go on the AIP elimination.
Not only do they NOT have things we don’t want, but they have boat loads of stuff we DO want, including high levels of fibre, magnesium, potassium, protein, calcium, vitamin E, iron and vitamin C! Yea, that’s a lot of good stuff!
Let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of tigernuts and what this nutrient-dense superfood can do for YOU (AIP or not)!
HEALTH BENEFITS OF TIGERNUTS
DIGESTION & GUT HEALTH
Well waddaya know? One of the biggest things we’re trying to achieve in the autoimmune protocol is a top benefit of these little tubers… sweet!
Tigernuts contain around 7g of fibre per QUARTER CUP! That’s a LOT of fibre.
Fibre is essential for stimulating digestion and peristaltic motion, reducing symptoms of both constipation and diarrhea.
The biggest benefits are going to come from a certain type of fibre called resistant starch, a highly beneficial pre-biotic, meaning that it feeds the good bacteria in your digestive tract!
When the good bacteria in your gut feed on resistant starch they produce short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Of the SCFAs created, the most important is called butyrate, which acts as an energy source of the cells lining the colon (which may help decrease intestinal permeability aka. leaky gut!), increases metabolism, decreases inflammation and improves stress resistance.
Keep in mind the good bacteria themselves not only improve digestion but they also help prevent against leaky gut, improve the efficacy of your immune system, aid in detoxification and create a large portion of your neurotransmitters!
So that’s really a whole lot of benefits you’re getting just by feeding the good bacteria.
The resistant starch comes into play here too. I noted the increase in metabolism due to the production of butyrate, but there’s MORE!
Resistant starch actually has several benefits that may contribute to weight loss, including balancing blood sugar, decreasing appetite, and decreasing fat storage in fat cells.
Studies also suggest that certain beneficial bacteria are associated with lean individuals, while certain bad bacteria are associated with obesity and difficulty losing weight. Theoretically, if we actively feed the good bacteria we are more likely to create a microbiome that would facilitate weight loss. However, not all studies confirm his hypothesis. Additional studies are required.
As mentioned, resistant starch causes an increased production of butyrate in the gut. Butyrate acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent for the cells of the colon. Any butyrate not used by the colon will enter the bloodstream, travel to the liver and spread throughout the body, providing it’s anti-inflammatory benefits systemically.
Along with the healthy starches, tigernuts also deliver a significant dose of beneficial fats! In fact, their fatty acid composition is similar to olive oil: about 73% monounsaturated fats, 18% saturated fat and 9% polyunsaturated fat. Just like olive oil, this particularly high concentration of monounsaturated fats provides an anti-inflammatory effect, lowers cholesterol and protects the cardiovascular system.
Additionally, tigernuts contain high amounts of potassium, which is a natural vasodilator. This effect may help to lower blood pressure and protect cardiovascular health. In doing so, it may also improve circulation, increase fertility and relieve pain from headaches and arthritis.
Tigernuts are an excellent source of vitamin E, vitamin C, as well as polyphenols. Together, they provide strong antioxidant protection, which can prevent premature aging, wrinkles, blemishes and age spots.
The antioxidant capabilities may also help to heal the gut, protect cardiovascular health and reduce your risk of cancer.
Ok, are you ready to load up on tigernuts yet?
“Well, what do they even taste like?”
Oh my goodness they are delicious! They are like a sweeter crunchier almond!
They are difficult to chew unless you soak them, but I kind of like that because it slows you down and prevents you from overeating.
When you’re introducing resistant starch, you want to take it slow as you may make some significant shifts to the gut flora. Doing so too quickly may cause digestive symptoms.
“So how do you eat them?”
I snack on them whole, soak and blend into a nut milk and use tigernut flour as a fantastic AIP baking ingredient!
Here is an example of how to use tigernuts as part of a delicious and nutritious snack!
Baby Tigernut Turtles
TIME: 5 minutes
SERVINGS: 12 - 15 turtles
1/2 cup tigernut flour
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tbsp collagen powder
1 1/2 cups pitted medjool dates (soaked)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1) Place all ingredients in a food processor or high-powered blender. Process until well combined, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. You should end up with a loose dough.
2) Scoop out 1 tbsp at a time, packing the dough in and then placing each turtle down individually on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
3) Once you’ve used all the dough, place the baking sheet in the freezer for about 10 minutes to set.
4) Store in a sealed container in the fridge for best flavour and maintenance of texture.
I hope you enjoy snacking on your new favourite superfood!
If you make this recipe, please feel free to take a pic and tag me on instagram @realistic.holistic and use #realisticholistic :) I’ll be sure to share your culinary adventure!
COMMENT below if you have any questions or comments about the recipe! I’m always here to help & I love hearing what your experience was with the recipe!
SHARE this with a friend who wants to keep their morning porridge but should really be avoiding grains! <3 I feel that!
As always, thanks for stopping by!