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Teff Benefits: 8 Healthy Reasons To Add Teff To Your Diet

It’s the super tiny grain with the not-so-tiny power.

Teff, which is grown in Ethiopia and used to make injera (the sourdough flatbread), is a small grain with a long list of health benefits.

“Teff packs a nutritional punch to your diet if you are looking for a super food that gives you excellent combination benefits,” says Rosanna Lee, a nutrition educator based in Toronto.

Along with being gluten-free, high in iron and super tasty, teff is also known to reduce PMS symptoms and help you lose weight, and Lee says it’s ideal for vegetarians looking for sources of protein.

But the one thing this super grain doesn’t have is a cheap price tag. Teff can cost up to $8 per pound and one site that ships teff across North America starts at $25 for four pounds.

If you don’t mind spending the money, though, this superfood could just be worth it. Here are Lee’s eight reasons why you need more teff in your life.

The Health Benefits Of Teff

High Nutritional Value

Teff is high in protein with a great combination of eight essential amino acids needed for the body’s growth and repair. It has high amounts of calcium (1 cup of cooked teff offers about 1/2 cup of calcium found in cooked spinach), manganese, phosphorous, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, thiamin, and vitamin C (which is not normally found in grains). The iron from teff is easily absorbed and is also recommended for people with low blood iron levels.

High Nutritional Value

Teff is high in protein with a great combination of eight essential amino acids needed for the body’s growth and repair. It has high amounts of calcium (1 cup of cooked teff offers about 1/2 cup of calcium found in cooked spinach), manganese, phosphorous, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, thiamin, and vitamin C (which is not normally found in grains). The iron from teff is easily absorbed and is also recommended for people with low blood iron levels.

teff

Gluten-Free

Teff is a gluten-free grain so it can be a great alternative for those living with celiac disease, having gluten intolerance or choosing a gluten-free lifestyle.

Better Manage Blood Sugars

If you’re diabetic, you might want to consider adding teff to your diet to control blood sugar levels. Teff contains approximately 20 to 40 per cent resistant starches and has a relatively low glycemic index (GI) that can help diabetics better regulate their sugar levels.

It Will Make You Go

Teff is also great for helping you go. The fibre content in this tiny little grain can help you regulate your bowel movements and keep you feeling fuller longer.

Low In Sodium

Teff is also great for those seeking to lower their blood pressure and maintain a heart healthy diet. Unprocessed teff is a better alternative compared with pre-processed, cooked teff which often comes with preservatives or additives that are high in sodium. If you’re worried, always double check nutritional labels.

Low In Fat

Naturally, this grain is very low in saturated fat.

You Can Do A Lot With It

Part of eating a nutritionally adequate diet is being able to incorporate superfoods like teff into all of your meals. Teff is a versatile grain and can be eaten whole, steamed, boiled or baked. Today, teff is found in a variety of products like pancakes, breads, cereals, snack bars and many other foods. Traditionally, it is used to make Ethiopian injera (sourdough bread).

It Tastes Great

Looking very much like poppy seeds, teff has a nutty, grainy taste and texture that can add dimension to your recipes and cooking. Most Ethiopian platters are served on injera bread.

By Arti Patel        02/06/2014


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Whole Grains: Teff (Eragrostis)

by Karen Railey

Teff is an intriguing grain, ancient, minute in size, and packed with nutrition. Teff is believed to have originated in Ethiopia between 4000 and 1000 BC. Teff seeds were discovered in a pyramid thought to date back to 3359 BC.

The grain has been widely cultivated and used in the countries of Ethiopia, India and it’s colonies, and Australia. Teff is grown primarily as a cereal crop in Ethiopia where it is ground into flour, fermented for three days then made into enjera, a sourdough type flat bread. It is also eaten as porridge and used as an ingredient of home-brewed alcoholic drinks. The grass is grown as forage for cattle and is also used as a component in adobe construction in Ethiopia. At this time it is not widely known or used in the U.S., though it is cultivated in South Dakota and Idaho and is available in many health food stores.

The word teff is thought to have been derived from the Amharic word teffa which means “lost,” due to small size of the grain and how easily it is lost if dropped. It is the smallest grain in the world, measuring only about 1/32 of an inch in diameter and taking 150 grains to weigh as much as one grain of wheat. The common English names for teff are teff, lovegrass, and annual bunch grass.

Because the grains of teff are so small, the bulk of the grain consists of the bran and germ. This makes teff nutrient dense as the bran and germ are the most nutritious parts of any grain. This grain has a very high calcium content, and contains high levels of phosphorous, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, and thiamin. It is considered to have an excellent amino acid composition, with lysine levels higher than wheat or barley. Teff is high in protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. It contains no gluten so it is appropriate for those with gluten intolerance.


The color of the Teff grains can be ivory, light tan to deep brown or dark reddish brown purple, depending on the variety. Teff has a mild, nutty, and a slight molasses like sweetness. The white teff has a chestnut-like flavor and the darker varieties are earthier and taste more like hazelnuts. The grain is somewhat mucilaginous. It is interesting that documents dated in the late 1800’s indicate the upper class consumed the lighter grains, the dark grain was the food of soldiers and servants, and cattle consumed hay made from teff.

Teff is a fine stemmed, tufted annual grass characterized by a large crown, many shoots, and a shallow diverse root system. The plants germinate quickly and are adapted to environments ranging from drought stress to water logged soil conditions. It is a reliable low risk crop. There are 250 known species of Eragrostis, or love grasses, but only a few are of significant agricultural value.

Teff is a very versatile grain. Teff flour can be used as a substitute for part of the flour in baked goods, or the grains added uncooked or substituted for part of the seeds, nuts, or other small grains. Due to it’s small size, only 1/2 Cup of teff is needed to replace 1 cup of sesame seeds. It is a good thickener for soups, stews, gravies, and puddings and can also be used in stir-fry dishes, and casseroles. Teff may be added to soups or stews in either of two ways: 1) Add them, uncooked to the pot a half-hour before serving time. 2) Add them cooked to the pot 10 minutes before serving. Cooked teff can be mixed with herbs, seeds, beans or tofu, garlic, and onions to make grain burgers. The seeds can also be sprouted and the sprouts used in salads and on sandwiches.

To cook teff place 2 cups purified water, 1/2 cup teff, and 1/4 tsp. sea salt (optional) in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 to 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes.

Teff should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place in tightly covered containers such as glass jars. Cooked Teff can be kept in the refrigerator, but should be used within a few days.

This grain would be a worthy and healthful addition to your diet. Be creative, use your imagination, and enjoy this wonderful nutritious grain.

source: ChetDay.com