Make mine a tiger nut latte! It fills you up, is good for your gut - and it tastes grrrrreat!
We saw this article in the on line version of the Daily Mail Newspaper, and thought that it was one that is a particularly good read about Tiger Nuts. Hope you enjoy it. Oh by the way we Americanized the language as much as possible, so if you see a funny, let us know.
By VICTORIA WOODHALL FOR THE DAILY MAIL
PUBLISHED: 22:20 BST, 4 August 2019 | UPDATED: 22:33 BST, 4 August 2019
Does our love of plant milks — or mylks, as the dairy-free brigade like to call them — have no end?
Not according to the latest consumer survey of 2,000 UK adults by Mintel, which reports that nearly a quarter of Britons now drink rice, oat, almond and other plant-based milks, up from 19 per cent last year. There's even a World Plant Milk Day on August 22.
And just when you thought there couldn't be another nut to be 'mylked', along comes a new contender — the tiger nut, a nutritional winner when it comes to gut health.
Rest easy, no tigers are harmed in the harvesting of these shriveled little spheres, which thrive in Africa and Spain and get their name from their stripy coat.
The latest consumer survey of 2,000 UK adults by Mintel reports that nearly a quarter of Britons now drink rice, oat, almond and other plant-based milks, up from 19 per cent last year (stock image)
They are good news, too, for nut allergy sufferers, as they are not, in fact, nuts, but tubers (related to potatoes and artichokes).
Extremely high in fiber, tiger nuts support our good gut bacteria, help stabilize blood sugar and keep us fuller for longer.
They make a naturally sweet, malty-tasting drink that can be used for smoothies, on breakfast cereals and even froths up for a grrrrreat cappuccino.
In Spain, horchata de chufa, a sweetened milk, is a national institution, with 'horchateria' cafes and carts in every town square.
So what makes them the latest superfood? Nutritionally, tiger nuts share a type of healthy fat — oleic acid — found in extra- virgin olive oil.
'It's a monosaturated omega-9 fatty acid,' explains nutritional therapist Eve Kalinik, author of Be Good To Your Gut.
'Our diets tend to be higher on the omega-6 fatty acids, so it's important to have omega-3s [from oily fish] and omega-9s to help balance this out.'
Among them is a new contender — the tiger nut, a nutritional winner when it comes to gut health (stock image)
They're relatively low calorie, with around 120 calories per portion of 50 small nuts. They are also high in vitamins C and E and iron and a host of other minerals such as magnesium, potassium and calcium. But what really sets tiger nuts apart is the type of resistant starch fiber they contain.
'This is a prebiotic fiber which feeds our microbiome — the trillions of microbes in the gut,' explains Eve.
It can be hard to find in our diet, unless you are a fan of green bananas or eat a lot of lentils or cold pasta and potatoes. (The cooking/cooling process turns the starch into a substance that works like fiber, creating less of a blood sugar spike than in the un-cooled versions.)
This starch is 'resistant' to being broken down in the small intestine and starts to ferment in the large intestine. Despite their new-found popularity, tiger nuts have been around for millennia.
In ancient Egypt, tiger nut oil was a 'store cupboard' staple. And, more recently, they became an austerity snack after World War II and were for sale in sweet shops.
It's not recorded how many post-war children lost teeth to the nut, as it takes strong molars to chew through the rock-hard exterior to get to the sweet, fibrous center. Thankfully, you can buy them pre-shelled today.
For a long time, tiger nuts remained one of those 'good for you' nobbly things you'd buy in health food shops and then wonder why. But now they've undergone a revival of fortune, largely due to the plant-milk boom and the rise in veganism.
Sustainability is a big factor in the switch to plant milks, and here tiger nuts score well, as they thrive in hot, dry climates. By contrast, it is said that it takes a gallon of water to grow a single almond.
It's incredibly easy to make your own tiger nut milk. All you need is a high-speed blender and a muslin or nut bag. You soak the nuts overnight, blend up with five parts water and strain the liquid.
Many nut milks are bland and watery, but tiger nut milk has bags of flavor, like a sweet Weetabix. And you don't need to add dates to make it palatable or oil to make it creamy. I added a spoonful of raw cacao and, bingo, I had a filling mid-morning snack.
But how much of that all-important resistant starch am I getting if the husks are languishing in my nut bag? Eve tells me there won't be much fibre at all in the milk, but putting back some of the pulp will give it a boost.
Ani de la Prida, co-founder of The Tiger Nut Company, (UK) which sells unsweetened milk, DIY milk-making kits, flakes and flour, suggests: 'The leftover pulp is almost pure fiber. Mix it with coconut oil and a little dried fruit or cacao and turn into energy balls.'
There's one thing that Eve insists those new to tiger nuts should be wary of: plant milk is not a straight swap for dairy, which is rich in calcium and vitamins vital for bone health.
'Many sweetened plant milks (almond, soy and oat) are fortified, so if you are removing dairy from your diet, you need to get vitamins and minerals from other dietary sources,' she says.
Raspberry and Tiger Nut Smoothie
Serves 2 (Makes 480ml). Preparation time: 12 minutes, plus overnight soaking.
A nutritionally dense and delectable smoothie.
Depending on the sweetness of the fruits used, you could ditch the dates.
- 50g tiger nuts, soaked in 70ml water overnight
- 200ml water
- 10g chia seeds, soaked in 60ml water overnight
- 150g raspberries
- 2 dates, pitted
- ¼ tsp vanilla paste, powder or the vanilla seeds from a pod
- 80ml water
Tiger Nuts can even be blended with fruit to make a smoothie
- Remove tiger nuts from the overnight water. Mix nuts with 200ml fresh water. Blend for two minutes, until the nuts are crushed.
- Strain the nut milk through a fine sieve.
- Add chia seeds, plus the water they’re soaked in; plus the raspberries, dates, vanilla and 80ml water. Blend smoothie and drink fresh.
Recipe adapted from Plant Milk Power, by Dr Aparna Prinja and Shital Shah (£15, Meze Publishing).
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