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Move Over Quinoa, Teff’s The New Grain In Town

Submitted by Kim Allison
Posted on 28 Oct, 2015

Move Over Quinoa, Teff’s The New Grain In TownMove over quinoa, teff is the new grain that people can't stop talking about. Teff, which is grown in Ethiopia and used to make injera (the sourdough flatbread), is one of the smallest grains in the world (less than 1mm diameter – similar to a poppy seed). It’s so small it cannot be processed or refined. But don’t let its tiny size fool you – teff leads all grains in nutrient stakes and by a wide a margin. Here’s what you need to know:

It’s 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. Gluten, the protein found in wheat and other grains such as barley and rye is often associated with digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. Teff is easy to digest and anti-inflammatory; the opposite to many other highly refined grains.


It’s A Significant Source Of Fibre
If you’re diabetic, you might want to consider adding teff to your diet to control blood sugar levels. Teff is high in resistant starch, a newly discovered type of dietary fibre that can benefit blood-sugar management, weight control, and colon health. By helping to slow the release of insulin into the bloodstream, teff can help diabetics prevent the dangerous spikes and plunges that can occur if you aren’t careful.

Teff’s resistant starches also improve gut health by feeding good bacteria. It’s estimated that 20-40 per cent of the carbohydrates in teff are resistant starches.


Packed With Protein
While not a complete protein like quinoa, a 2-ounce serving of teff still has 7 grams of protein, equal to an extra large egg. It is considered to have an excellent amino acid composition (including all 8 essential amino acids for humans) and has lysine levels higher than wheat or barley. Lysine promotes elastin and collagen production, keeping skin smooth, supple, and youthful looking.

While animal proteins can be helpful, our bodies can more easily break down vegetable proteins into their constituent amino acids, which is why having something like teff in your diet is important for everyone, not just vegetarians and health food fans.

Crammed With Calcium
Teff is crammed full of calcium (One cup of cooked teff contains the same amount of calcium that’s in half a cup of cooked spinach and a glass of milk.) It’s a great calcium alternative for those going dairy free, helping to protect bones and lower the risk osteoporosis.

Bursting With Vitamin And Minerals
Teff contains vitamin C, a nutrient not commonly found in grains. It’s also rich in B vitamins thiamine (B1) and pyridoxine (B6), and minerals phosphorus, manganese, and copper. Teff was long believed to be high in iron, but more recent tests have shown that its iron content comes from soil mixed with the grain after it’s been threshed on the ground – the grain itself is not unusually high in iron.


How To Use Teff

It may be too early to find it in your local supermarket, but look for teff in your local organic and health food stores for now. You can also find it online here.

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. It has a sweet and nutty flavour and you can use it as you would any grain, it’s especially good eaten with fruit as a breakfast porridge. Teff flour can also be used as an alternative to wheat, barley or rice flours in pancakes, breads and other baked goods. Traditionally, it is used to make Ethiopian injera (sourdough bread).

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