Fertility challenges have contributed to the sudden rise in the intake of tiger nuts (or aya as it is popularly called) especially in the southern part of Nigeria. So much so that it has given rise to many small and medium scale businesses that make products such as the tiger nut milk.
Fertility is a serious issue. However, this sudden fascination surely would sound a bit funny to those in Northern Nigeria who have had it as a mainstay in their diet for centuries. They coined the word kayan mata for drinks made primarily with tiger nuts. Kayan mata in Hausa loosely stands for “female stuff” implying that having their men ingest it regularly would boost their sex life and fertility.
What exactly is the tiger nut?
In direct contradiction to its name, it is actually a tuber not a nut, and is found mostly in the Northern part of Nigeria, Egypt, Togo, Ghana and some parts of Asia and Europe. A very nutritious snack; it can be eaten as is or processed into milk, flour, oil and ice cream flavoring.
Beyond boosting the sex drive though, it is also purported to be very vital in resolving low sperm count issues thereby also boosting fertility.
With low sperm count affecting approximately one in 25 men and new research revealing that 90% of male infertility problems are mostly caused by the failure to produce enough sperm; often times a change in diet is recommended where focus is placed on certain food types with the right amount of needed vitamins and nutrients. one of which is the tiger nut.
So, does tiger nut really work?
Well, it is highly fibrous and contains high levels of Vitamin E, C, proteins, carbohydrates, minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.
For some men suffering from infertility, making babies may be as simple as taking vitamin C or E
Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin and functions primarily as an antioxidant, protecting cell membranes from oxidative damage. A deficiency can lead to testicular damage, which can inhibit normal hormonal secretion necessary for reproduction. Vitamin E might also play a role in sperm quality and motility. An increase in vitamin E and selenium at the same time might also improve sperm quality and motility, according to a 2011 article published in the “International Journal of General Medicine.”
In another study, it has been shown that men who prepared with vitamin E prior to IVF treatment, with their partners, had an increase rate in fertilization from 19% to 29%. Men with low fertilization rates who took vitamin E supplements for three months showed a significant improvement in fertilization rate.
Vitamin C is one of the most abundant antioxidants in the semen of fertile men, and it contributes to the maintenance of healthy sperm by protecting the sperm’s DNA from free radical damage. Vitamin C has been shown to increase sperm count, motility, and morphology. It also functions to regenerate vitamin E; implying these vitamins may need to work together to improve sperm function.
With tigernut being rich in at least these 2 vitamins; adding it to your diet will certainly do you more good than harm…if any.
Always get your doctor to first of all verify your fertility status before self-diagnosing do not base it on assumptions, especially if that is your reason for ingesting tiger nut.