Tiger Nut Trail Mix
A seahorse isn’t actually a horse. A red panda is actually a raccoon, not a bear. And a honey badger is more marten than badger.
Like looks, names can be deceiving sometimes.
Such is the case with tiger nuts. They have nothing to do with tigers, nor are they actual nuts.
They are really small tubers, hailing from Africa — and a fantastic source of prebiotic fiber known as resistant starch.
So what is resistant starch?
Gut Health & Resistant Starch
We hear about the importance of fermented foods, probiotics, and bone broth to heal our guts and populate them with beneficial bacteria. And indeed, these foods ARE very important. Without them, our microbiomes aren’t healthy, leading to things like digestive issues, autoimmune diseases, weight gain, allergies, and weakened immune systems.
What we don’t hear about so much, though, is resistant starch/prebiotic fiber.
Resistant starch does not break down into glucose like other starches. (Think potatoes or white rice here.) Instead, it acts as “food” for the beneficial bacteria in the gut — hence “prebiotic” fiber.
It is starch, but it is resistant, meaning it resists digestion, traveling through the small intestine to the colon where it is turned into an energy and food source for the flora in our gut. Furthermore, there are 4 types of resistant starch: RS1, RS2, RS3, and RS4. (Source.)
- RS1 — found in grains, seeds, and legumes, it resists digestion because the fiber is bound up in cell walls.
- RS2 — found in starchy foods like unripe bananas, raw potatoes, and tiger nuts.
- RS3 — forms when certain foods, like white rice and potatoes, are cooked and then cooled. The cooling process transforms digestible starch into resistant starch — a process known as retrogradation.
- RS4 — a chemical, man-made resistant starch.
With a slightly sweet flavor and chewy texture, tiger nuts are of the RS2 variety of resistant starches.
Tigernuts For Resistant Starch
Whole, dried tiger nuts are actually raw, so they contain the most resistant starch. Tiger nuts can also be blended with water to make a resistant starch-filled tiger nut milk, which is also raw.
Additionally, tiger nut flour is gaining popularity as a grain-free, nut-free, Paleo baking medium. When cooked, however, tiger nuts lose much of their resistant starch benefit, so it’s best to eat tiger nut flour raw (like in these Resistant Starch Cookie Dough Bites).
Finally, some people say raw tiger nuts should be soaked prior to eating to soften them. You certainly can soak to soften, if you like. The soaking is more for texture preference than for any nutritional benefits. Tiger nuts are not like beans or nuts, which should be soaked to breakdown phytic acid.
I’m leaving the tiger nuts raw and dry in this trail mix recipe. The addition of dried fruit, nuts, and a bit of allergy-friendly chocolate makes this a tasty snack that’s full of resistant starch!
Tiger Nut Trail Mix
Here’s what you need:
- 1-1/2 cups tiger nuts
- 1 cup soaked & dehydrated Brazil nuts (Soak & dehydrate your own or buy them already soaked & dehydrated.)
- 1 cup soaked & dehydrated cashews (Soak & dehydrate your own or buy them already soaked & dehydrated.)
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chunks
- 1/2 cup raisins
Here’s how to do it:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir gently to combine.
Or, combine all ingredients in a bag or jar, and shake to combine.
Store in a cool, dry place.
With selenium-rich Brazil nuts, magnesium-rich cashews, and the resistant starch of tiger nuts, this Tiger Nut Trail Mix is a perfect on-the-go snack for the whole family! Pack it in lunches, throw a bag in your purse, or use it as a road trip snack!