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Chufa sedge (Lat.: cyperus esculantus) was first mentioned in ancient Egypt where its nourishing and regenerative properties were highly valued. Chufa fruits are sweet almond taste but are not nuts. They do not sensitize. They perfectly prove their value for those who are on a diet: people suffering from diabetes and fructose intolerance, applying gluten-free, lactose-free, vegan or paleo diets. Chufas can be eaten raw, roasted, boiled or as an addition to cocktails. Before the consumption it is worth washing and soaking them in water for 24 hours, thanks to which they gain exceptional crunchiness, and their taste becomes even more distinct and juicy. They contain high quantities of resistant starch, which has a positive effect on the digestive system. They are a source of vitamins E, C and B6, folic acid; they contain magnesium, potassium, phosphor, calcium and iron. They are rich in amino acids, including arginine – a nearly perfect supplement. Chufas are a natural source of dietary fiber and substantial unsaturated acids.
The following description was prepared by Monika Czarnopińska, cosmetologist and chemist biotechnologist, who gave us her permission to place it here, for which we are really grateful. That is why we are allowed to place it in its original and unchanged version.
Almonds are rich in antioxidants, bioflavonoids, good fatty acids, phytosterols, starch and amino acids.
- 30% of fiber,
- up to 20-25% of fat*,
- 30% of carbohydrates: mainly resistant starch,
- 7-8% of protein,
- amino acids, foremost arginine,
- minerals: phosphorus, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese,
- vitamins: E, C, H (biotine) and P (bioflavonoid rutin),
- tigernuts, even dried, contain fewer calories than other nuts – 100 grams of fresh chufa provides c. 270 kcal, whereas dried c. 430 kcal.
The 20-25% of fat is made by mainly unsaturated fatty acids, and the lipid profile resembles with its composition olive oil.
The distribution of fatty acids is as follows:
- 8% unsaturated fatty acids,
- 78% monounsaturated,
- 9% polyunsaturated.
Valuable components of tigernuts are phytosterols, the high concentration of which raises their health benefits, mainly for the circulatory system. The main phytosterols occurring in this plant are:
- beta-Sitosterol (c. 50%)
- stigmasterol (c.20%)
- campesterol (c. 15%)
Phytosterols along with vitamins E and C (they both can be found in chufa!) impede the aggregation of platelets, which is also connected with lowering the concentration of total cholesterol and LDL fraction. Additionally, phytosterols have an antioxidant effect, which, in turn, is considerably connected with cancer prevention.
Especially all Ladies will enjoy the fact that phytosterols help to synthesize collagen, at the same time reducing the disintegration of elastin, which, in brief, has an antiaging effect! In addition, they improve the skin structure, help in its proper hydration and moistening. They also have an nutritious and anti-inflammatory effect.
- Earth almonds contain a great deal of resistant starch, a component of insoluble fiber, which is digested in the small intestine, reaches the large intestine and acts in the intestine of a healthy human as prebiotic, encouraging the development of the bacteria flora of the intestines. This is very good!
- However, in people diagnosed with SIBO it may be a serious problem, because resistant starch, as well as other forms of fiber, promotes the intensification of intestine ailments. There are also people who simply respond badly to certain carbohydrates, including starch. I have recently read a few articles denying the messages on SIBO vs starch; there are studies demonstrating that, however, it may promote the colonization of small bacteria, being no food for those bad… In my opinion, it will depend on the type of the pathogenic flora, so, as usual, it is important to approach it individually.
- And, of course, the problem of IBS. As classified many years ago as the one with the “Irritable Bowel Syndrome”, I can firmly say that after many years of fight, examinations, hundreds of read meta-analyses and books referring to this ailment, I know that everyone has their own individual IBS. Thus, also in the case of a product such as earth almonds, cautions is recommendable. In the case of IBS every product should be introduced into the diet slowly, observing the body’s response. Sometimes the issue of the quantity is important, sometimes that of particular components of the product. However, chufa is recommendable in many diseases of the digestive system, and a drink popular in Spain, “horchata de chufa”, makes a remedy for diarrheas; in turn, considerable quantities of fiber may help to eliminate constipations.
- On the other hand, people forced to be on an easily digestible diet (in the case of IBS, as well as liver diseases and intestine inflammations) may feel a slight discomfort having consumed such a considerable dose of fiber. However, even here the quantity matters! For everybody it is individual. Even an easily digestible diet cannot be devoid of fiber. Certainly, soluble fiber, for example, pectin, is something different from that insoluble, which is present in chufa. However, everyone responds differently to different fiber fractions. Here it is obvious that you must observe your body. In addition, a great number of digestive system diseases are accompanied by dysbiosis, and a natural prebiotic is always better for our body than that artificially packed in the capsules with probiotic.
- Resistant starch, due to its low glycemic index, is recommended for diabetics. Moreover, earth almonds help to lower the level of glucose in blood, which was demonstrated in the research on diabetic mice. Additionally, biotin and tocopherol contribute to the protection of body cells in the combat against free radicals, and rutin strengthens blood vessels and tissues, which is extremely important in the case of diabetes. In turn, MUFA (Monounsaturated Fatty Acids) enhance glucose tolerance.