Teff is not a grain that you get to see on your supermarket shelves. That’s a little unfortunate as Teff grain has some impressive nutrients and many of the health benefits of both quinoa and buckwheat. The added benefit is that it’s gluten free and contains all the essential amino acids.
So let’s take a closer look at this grain and why consider adding it to your superfood list.
What is Teff?
Teff is a small, gluten-free grain that is a traditional food in Africa, more specifically Ethopia.
It has a very mild, nutty flavor and can vary in colour from white to dark brown depending on the variety. It lends itself well to being used in many dishes and because it’s so small, it also cooks quickly.
In Ethopia, teff is used to make a traditional bread call injera which is a flat, fermented bread much like a pancake. It can also, for example, be used in baking as a healthy non-GMO flour alternative or eaten like rice or quinoa.
So why all the interest?
Teff is a nutritionally very healthy. It has an excellent balance of amino acids, and it is also high in protein and in particular lysine.
100g of uncooked teff has about 367 kJ, 13.3g of protein, 73.13g of carbohydrates, 8.0g of fiber, and 2.38g of fat.
It’s also a great source of phytochemicals (notable for their antioxidant activity) and minerals including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus.
Protein is essential to keep the body healthy and to regenerate.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound.
This amounts to about 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man and 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman.
100g of teff will provide about 26% of the daily amount.
More interestingly, teff’s amino acid profile is well-balanced and its higher lysine content sets it apart from other cereals.
Teff contains no gluten and is therefore an excellent food for celiac patients or anyone following a strict gluten-free diet. And because it’s so healthy and nutrient dense, it is a sensible alternative to other gluten-free grains.
Teff is a good source of dietary fiber and has comparatively more fiber than wheat, sorghum, rice and maize.
This high fiber content helps to manage blood sugar, weight and digestive health.
Carbohydrates are foods that get converted into glucose, or sugar, in our bodies during digestion which is what fuels the body.
But, controlling blood glucose is important for weight management as well as diabetes control.
From a health standpoint, slowly digesting carbohydrates are seen to be healthier than rapidly digesting ones. In the case of teff, it has a lower GI-index (74) than for example, white wheat (100) and was on a par with oats (71).
The implications are that teff may be a suitable alternative for those with type 2 diabetes than other carbohydrate options.
How to use:
Teff can be eaten as a whole grain after steaming, boiling or baking.
It can be used to make breads, pancakes, wraps, porridge, cereal and other baked goods that use flour.
Teff is high in fiber and excessive consumption fiber might cause the problem of bloating and gas.
There are a few reasons why teff could be a great inclusion into your diet. If you are looking for:
1. A food with a good all-round protein profile with all the essential amino acids.
3. A low GI food
4. A food packed with essential minerals and vitamins
5. Can be cooked, steamed, made into bread or baked into your favourite biscuits.
If you’re wanting to add teff grain to your diet, you can check out Synerchi Organics teff grain.