Move over quinoa and make way for Teff. Another superstar gluten free grain is about to burst into the nutritional spotlight.
An ancient grain originally grown in East Africa, Teff is traditionally ground into flour and fermented to produce sourdough bread called ‘Injera’. It has now taken off worldwide and has become a popular grain substitute in everything from porridge to risotto and even sushi.
How does Teff stack up nutritionally?
Teff is a powerhouse of nutrition and is a fantastic source of protein, vitamin c, iron and calcium, as well as, magnesium and zinc. It also contains all 8 essential amino acids which are critical to joint repair and growth, and digestive function.
Against other grains, Teff packs a massive nutritional punch with;
- 3 times the calcium and iron of quinoa
- 2 times the fibre of brown rice
- 3 times the essential minerals of chia
- A third of the fat of oats and
- 3 times more iron than buckwheat
What are the benefits of eating Teff?
A Prebiotic Resistant Starch
We’re told to fill up on probiotics such as yoghurt, fermented veg and kefir in order to keep our gut healthy, however, prebiotics found in foods, such as Teff, are needed to stimulate the growth and activity of the right type of bacteria in your gut. For healthy digestion, try to balance your intake of both prebiotic and probiotic food sources.
FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine, which can lead to bloating, especially for people with IBS. Teff is extremely low in FODMAPs which makes it a great alternative for people diagnosed with IBS or for those with sensitive digestion.
A Great Energy Source for Athletes and Fitness Enthusiasts
Teff was the traditional food of some the great African endurance athletes thanks to its rich source of minerals and quality carbohydrates. So, it’s no surprise that it is becoming popular with endurance athletes and those looking to improve their overall fitness. Teff is also rich in lysine, an essential amino acid for repairing and maintaining lean muscle mass, which makes it useful for those in training.
How can I use Teff in my daily diet?
Teff can be cooked like rice and so is great as an accompaniment to your favourite stew or curries. It can also be cooked slightly differently for a main course such as a risotto, paella or breakfast porridge.
For a drier, more rice like consistency:
- Fry 1 cup of Teff grain in 1 Tbs oil until fragrant.
- Add 1.5 cups of water and a pinch of salt and simmer for 8 minutes (with lid on). Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
For a thicker consistency (like porridge and risotto):
- Add 1 cup Teff grain and 3 cups of water to a large pot. Add a pinch of salt.
- Bring to the boil and simmer with lid on for 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.
Teff grain can be also be ground into flour or purchased as a ready to go flour substitute. It has a slightly nutty taste that produces a sweet, moist baked good. You can use Teff flour to replace other flours at a ratio of 1:1 but if you find that it’s too strong a flavour, try substituting half your usual flour for Teff to begin and work your way up.