Tiger nut flour: A gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free and dairy-free alternative to highly processed all-purpose flour By Olivia Cook for Grocery
All-purpose flour, as its name suggests, is suitable for all types of baked goods. But it is highly refined and not a whole-grain flour.
Milled without most of the bran and germ and stripped of most of its nutrient content during processing, experts have reported that overconsumption of processed all-purpose flour can lead to weight gain and damaged liver and kidneys.
As such, many people have turned to more wholesome and healthier options for baking and cooking. These healthier options include coconut flour, almond flour, quinoa flour, buckwheat flour, whole wheat flour, yam flour and tiger nut flour.
Tiger nut is not actually a nut, but a tuber like sweet potatoes, though much smaller in size. Tiger nut gets its name from the stripes on its exterior that resemble a tiger’s stripes.
Researchers have found that tiger nut flour has health and nutrition benefits just like yam flour, which has been recommended as a great substitute for refined wheat flour as it is gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free and rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. (Related: Yam flour can be a great substitute for wheat flour in a variety of food products.)
Maya Feller Nutrition founder, Maya Feller, registered dietitian nutritionist, lauded tiger nuts as a superfood, especially with their nutrient profile almost mirroring that of human breast milk. The fact that they are dairy-free makes them a great dairy substitute for those who are lactose intolerant. Dried raw tiger nuts can be eaten as a crunchy, nutrient-rich snack. These healthy marble-sized tubers are chewy, milky and taste a little like almond and pecan.
Dubbed as a “super flour” by Forbes, the versatile tiger nut flour is the perfect substitute for wheat flour; ideal for gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, dairy-free, vegan, ketogenic and paleo diets; and can be cooked, baked or fried.
Science-backed health benefits of tiger nut flour
Ground from the tuber of the Cyperus esculentus plant (also called the yellow nutsedge), tiger nut flour has been scientifically found to:
Support healthy digestive function
Tiger nut flour is recognized for its high “resistant starch” content and its prebiotic capacity – improving gut health and weight loss, aiding digestion and preventing constipation. It serves as an energy source for positive gut bacteria that keep your entire digestive system running smoothly.
Support healthy cardiovascular function
Tiger nut flour has been found to have high antioxidant activity and is rich in phenolic acids and other polyphenols that help manage blood pressure levels and keep your blood vessels healthy, promoting good circulation. It also helps reduce chronic inflammation, another risk factor for heart disease.
Researchers of a study published in the journal Food & Function have found that these fiber-packed tubers can improve cardiovascular health by lowering LDL or bad cholesterol levels and balance cholesterol levels by absorbing it better due to their fiber content.
A study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Bio-allied Sciences has reported that the high insoluble fiber in tiger nut flour helps with blood sugar control because it is a type of carbohydrate that does not raise blood sugar.
Support healthy immune function
Tiger nuts are a great source of antioxidants, vitamins C and E and oleic acid, helping protect the body from diseases.
A study published in the International Journal for Innovative Research in Multidisciplinary Field cited a study published in Ancient Science of Life, which found extracts of Cyperus esculentus to actually have bacteria-fighting effects on several dangerous human pathogens, including Salmonella and Escherichia coli. Moreover, Cyperus esculentus is on a list of several dietary plants that can be used against common bacterial infections, especially for those who have developed antibiotic resistance.
Support sensible weight management goals
Tiger nuts are a good source of healthy fats and have a fatty acid composition similar to olive oil. One serving of tiger nuts has a whopping 10 grams of fiber, which is almost half your daily requirement and more fiber per serving than many other recommended high-fiber foods like quinoa or chia seeds.
This makes all goods baked using tiger nut flour excellent in supporting reasonable weight management goals, especially when accompanied by proper diet and regular exercise.