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Chufa Helps Us Prevent and Recover Strokes

By Rabbi Joseph Shapiro

It’s 5:30 in the morning. Time to shower and get ready for work. But I feel dizzy and weak; I can hardly get up from my bed. I need to go to the kitchen . . . take a migraine pill. I am now struggling to walk a few yards . . . falling . . . crashing to the floor, and I cannot move. I feel my head is about to “explode.”ffffff

Thank G-d that my wife, Esther, heard my weird crying. When she realized that I collapsed, she immediately called an ambulance. Within ten minutes they arrived and grabbed me. Another ten minutes more to rush me to the emergency room. But the room was backed up with other casualties, a crisis. Another ten minutes more and the doctors told the ambulance to take me to another hospital.

Almost an hour more I was fully stroked out in “semi-coma” and by the end of the day I re-emerged in the intensive ward. Unable to speak. Unable to eat. Unable to drink. Unable to move. I had a gastrostomy tube placed in my stomach for nutrition. And I was hospitalized for a month.

Before the stroke I battled to fix my heart from atrial fibrillation, possibly resulting from consuming too many daily Cuban expressos when I was young. For dental treatment, my heart and blood doctors let me come off the blood thinner Eliquis for two days. But after two teeth were extracted and the gum bleeding stopped, I received clots that ended up in my brain . . . and I completely stroked out.

For the next 18 months I struggled to speak, read, write, and exercise. I lost two out of three languages I knew but was able to remember few words from the English I learned as a child. Even a year after the stroke I could not remember countries, towns, and cities I group up with . . . but only one I recalled was Jerusalem. And words like “dog,” “cat,” and “mouse” took a long-time to emerge. I recalled them in my mind, but I could not transmit to my lips, memories that connect parts of the brain and the mouth and lips. Now, four years later, I have recovered 98% of my brain since the stroke. And, just in case you ask about this article, it was written by me with very little editing.

In 2015, Esther and I came upon the amazing tiny “miracle” tubers that grow in soil like potatoes: Jerusalem artichoke tubers and yam tubers. They are called chufa (Spanish) nuggets or tiger nuts, or Zulu nuts and many other names used in Africa. Some countries call them earth almonds. In 2021, we imported a huge shipment from Africa and Spain, and I started to consume its milk daily. And we started to produce a great variety of chufa products, especially milk, oil, and bread.

But why did I start with my stroke issue and end with chufa nuggets into the “equation.” Chufa is well known around the world for promoting optimal health. It consists of three types: black, brown, and yellow. Brown and yellow chufa are more cultivated. They are grown around the world, but not much in the United States. And the American crop is not organic and not grown for human consumption.

American farmers use it mostly for fishing and feeding turkey, goats, and deer. But chufa has been consumed by American Indians for thousands of years as its main food “line,” among almost all the tribes.

The first chufa farms started in ancient Egypt. In countries like Ghana and Nigeria, chufa is eaten everywhere, and consumed for many reasons. The hospitals use it to feed patients and as an infant formula. The governments tell people to eat as much chufa as you can, especially in villages and even cities, where people cannot use or reach western drugs like chemotherapy and other pharmacy-based medicines from the western world.

Chufa has biologically active compounds that include alkaloids, saponins, flavonoids, glycosides, phenols, steroids, phlobatannins, and terpenoids. It is also rich in vitamins A, C, D, E, and others. It is packed with minerals such as sodium, calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus, and amazing with healthy protein, starch, and fats (check our articles and products on

Hospitals in North and Central Africa report that chufa is helpful in preventing heart disease, thrombosis,  improving  blood circulation, as well as  preventing and treating urinary tract and bacterial infections. And they report that chufa reduces the risk of colon cancer, has anti-diabetic and weight-losing effects, and possesses anti-sickling property.

The January 2022 issue of Neural Regeneration Research showed that a flavonoid in chufa, known as orientin, has neuroprotective effects on stroke injuries. “Orientin has noticeable antiviral and antibacterial benefits, which point to a promising potential in future antibiotic creation. Orientin shows potential in boosting heart health and protecting individuals from risk factors for congestive heart failure. Besides that, orientin has been massively studied for its in vivo cardioprotective effect. Orientin was demonstrated to reduce myocardium apoptosis of rat heart with ischemia-reperfusion,” reports Wikipedia.

This means that chufa is helpful before and after a stroke. We can prevent strokes (drinking the milk or eating its chufa bread and chufa butter) and people who suffered from a stroke (like me) have a better chance of recovering (like me).

Research has shown that “orientin is a flavonoid monomer. In recent years, its importance as a source of pharmacological active substance is growing rapidly due to its properties such as anti-myocardial ischemia, anti-apoptosis, anti-radiation, anti-tumor, and anti-ageing.”

And, finally, chufa milk, ice-cream, bread, cake, puddings and more, are just delicious. They have virtually no negative effects, such as gluten and lactose intolerance, nor problems associated with ingestion of peanuts and almonds. Chufa nuggets have been a G-d given gift for my recovery, and a gift ever since our creation and our survival.

Tamar Alazrachi Perez

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