Recipe for Holistic Health: Tiger Nut Banana Bars
Posted by Andrea Nakayama
I’ve got a question for you today… If, you are equal parts bacteria and human, just who (or what) are you feeding when you sit down to your morning meal? Honestly, it’s not a trick question. And, if you think about it with that ratio in mind (equal parts bacteria and human) I believe you’ll know the answer. Even with plenty more to learn about those microbes and how they influence our states of health and illness, from gut to brain and immunity to pain, it’s time to take the tiger by the tail… with tiger nuts!
First, to be clear, tiger nuts aren’t actually nuts (which is good news for all among us who are allergic or sensitive or intolerant to those edible kernels). Instead, tiger nuts are a small root vegetable tuber that originates from Northern Africa and the Mediterranean.
Health benefits of tiger nuts
Tiger nuts are a rich source of resistant starch and that makes them one of my favorite digestive superfoods. Resistant starch is like nutrition for the probiotic (i.e., good guy) bacteria in your colon. There are a number of foods that contain resistant starch and even a number of types of resistant starch, but they all have one thing in common: This type of starch resists digestion.
What this means is that it travels through the gastrointestinal tract—from mouth to colon—without breaking down and becoming fuel for the cells throughout your system, like other foods do. Once resistant starches reach the colon they’re ready to do their job. In the colon or large intestine, resistant starch is converted to short-chain fatty acids, one of which is called butyrate.
Butyrate not only supports the colon to rebuild, repair and replenish, but it helps to lower cancer risk and increase the population of good colon bacteria that serve to ward off disease. Butyrate is like a superfood for your colon and resistant starch is how you deliver that superfood to your system!
While I adore tiger nuts in their whole form, in flour form, they lend a nutty taste to baked goods that will tickle your tastebuds and feed your microbiome! Whether or not tiger nuts are new to you, I’ve got just the recipe for you to try.
Tiger Nut Banana Bars
- 2 bananas (not too ripe, as they’ll make your bars too soft)
- 1/2 cup roasted sweet potato (fresh or canned)
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup coconut nectar
- 1 TBSP vanilla extract
- 1 cup tiger nut flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1.5 TBSP cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- Optional: raw pumpkin seeds
- Preheat oven to 350℉ and line an 8×8 glass baking dish with parchment paper or grease it with coconut oil.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the bananas (mashing them as you go), the roasted sweet potato, coconut oil, coconut nectar, and vanilla until well combined.
- Add the tiger nut flour, coconut flour, cinnamon, ginger, sea salt, and baking soda and mix well until combined.
The batter will be thick!
- Scoop the batter into the prepared baking dish and spread it out evenly in the dish. Top with pumpkin seeds.
- Bake for 35 – 45 minutes until a fork inserted comes out clean. (Start checking it at 35 minutes and add 5 more minutes of bake time as needed).
- Allow the bars to cool before cutting them. Depending on the ripeness of your bananas, the bars may be soft but they’ll firm up after a few hours (and even soft, they’re still delicious!)
3 more ways to enjoy the holistic health benefits of tiger nuts!
1) Eat whole, raw tiger nuts right from the bag, but be warned, these little nuts can be tough on your teeth. Soaking them overnight softens them up a bit and brings out their naturally sweet and nutty flavor. Soak for 12-48 hours, drain,and enjoy.
2) Try tiger nut flour in baked goods or add it to smoothies. Companies that make the flour claim you can sub it 1:1 for white flour but your recipe will likely take a bit of tweaking. I find the flour has a slightly crunchy texture which might surprise you.
3) Make (or buy) tiger nut milk or horchata. Just as with “real” nuts, you can make a simple milk using tiger nuts. Soak them for 12 – 48 hours, drain them and blend them up in a high speed blender with water to make a creamy and delicious milk (strain as desired). Or pick up a bottle of tiger nut horchata.
Quick Health Advisory:
If you have gas or bloating, watch how you feel when adding foods that contain resistant starch to your diet. You may have to “start low and go slow.” Build your way up. Your body should adjust over time.
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