We have had a few enquiries recently asking if tiger nuts can help boost iron levels. So we asked a lovely nutritionist Phoebe Liebling, from Natural Nourishment who is a huge fan of our tiger nuts to explain, and to create a delicious recipe to help boost your iron levels as the weather gets colder.
Iron is an exceptionally important mineral within our bodies, and not having enough can lead to unpleasant side effects such as fatigue, feeling cold, getting ill more frequently or being short of breath when exercising*. Many people around the world suffer with low Iron status, women in particular are more predisposed to this, but there are a great many things we can do through our diet which can help. *If you experience any of these symptoms it is extremely important that you seek advice from a qualified medical professional.
So firstly iron comes in two forms; heme and non-heme. Heme iron is only found in red meats, poultry and fish, whereas plant foods and dairy contain non-heme iron (just to be confusing those meats will also contain some non-heme iron too). The difference between the two is the ease with which we can use them; heme iron can be readily utilised by the body, whereas non-heme iron has a lower absorbency rate and needs to be converted for us to use, that doesn’t make it any less useful however, it just means if you are vegan or vegetarian you may have a slightly increased risk of low iron status.
Although the abundance of plant-based foods containing non-heme iron means that if you consume a lovely plant-based diet, full of colour and variety, with no medical reason for an excessive iron loss, you should be absolutely fine. See below for a few examples:
|★ Tiger Nuts & Tiger Nut Mylk
★ Whole grains, e.g brown rice
★ Green Leafy Vegetables, e.g. kale
★ Raw nuts e.g. almonds, cashews
★ Seeds e.g. pumpkin, sunflower
★ Pine nuts
★ Tofu & tempeh
There are also a couple of simple tricks to ensure that you are getting the maximum amount of iron from the foods you are eating. The first is to pair your iron rich foods with Vitamin C rich foods as this increases absorption, and the other is to avoid having tannin rich foods at the same time as these block absorption. Again see below for examples:
VITAMIN C RICH FOODS
★ Citrus fruits
|TANNIN RICH FOODS
★ Tea (black, green, matcha)
★ Red wine
★ Cacao & chocolate products
So where do tiger nuts fit into this picture?
Well, I’m so glad you asked!
Tiger nuts are a fabulous inclusion to ensure you’re keeping those plant-based levels of iron up. Not only do they contain that iron that we’re thinking about, but within that tasty little package they also have the Vitamin C to aid absorption, basically making it easier for you to absorb the iron! Additionally, they come with a host of other nutrients like potassium, calcium, magnesium and vitamin E, which help your body to function at it’s very best.
Is there a difference between tiger nuts and tiger nut milk in terms of iron content?
Not really.The iron content will be pretty much on a par, the consideration here is more about the quantity of both that you could consume. It’s far easier to drink quite a large quantity of milk but you can’t eat quite so many whole tiger nuts because of the fabulous fibre they are packed with that will make you feel full.
My advice would be to have a combination of the two; use the milk on it’s own, as a base for smoothies or for hot drinks, and then also add tiger nuts in to your diet as snacks, in granolas, cakes, sprinkled on top of smoothies, or use the ground meal for protein balls, that kind of thing.
And for a very simple way to start the day knowing you’re giving your levels a good old boost why not try out this amazing iron rich smoothie recipe.
Incredible Iron Smoothie
1 cup Swiss chard
1 cup collard greens
1/4 cup roasted butternut squash
3 broccoli florets
1/4 frozen avocado
1 frozen orange
1 heaped teaspoon cashew butter
1 cup tiger nut mylk
1 teaspoon camu camu, acerola or lucuma powder
To top: 1/4 cup soaked tiger nuts, 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds, 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Peel and chop the avocado and orange, placing in the freezer overnight.
Add to a high speed blender with the rest of the ingredients, pureeing until smooth.
Top with the textural bits and enjoy!
BSc (Hons) DipNT mBANT mNNA rCNHC rGNC