A lot of ancient grains, including quinoa, millet, farro, have been in the spotlight recently as excellent sources of plant-based protein, fibre, minerals, and slow-digesting carbs. But it’s one of the tiniest and most unsung of these grains that packs the mightiest nutritional punch: teff. Teff, the long-kept secret of Ethiopian runners and athletes, is now out for the world to embrace. Recently, there has been a growing interest in the superfood grain which is gaining global popularity for its outstanding nutritional properties. It is now cultivated in many parts of the world, including the USA, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.
Nutrition In Teff
Teff is one of the superfoods that’s attracting fitness enthusiasts around the world. Exceptionally high in protein and other minerals, it is slowly taking over the place quinoa has in our diets. Food products of teff are rich in crude fibre. Teff boasts a high protein content with an excellent balance and a complete set of essential amino acids, giving its status as an endurance building food. Teff grain is also high in iron content and other minerals such as calcium, copper, and zinc compared to other cereal grains consumed as whole grain flours, such as wheat, maize, barley, and sorghum. According to a recent study, teff is a significant source of bioactive compounds, including polyphenols, especially very rich in flavonoid derivatives which are rare in the other common grains.
Health Benefits Of Teff
The Indian diet is 60% grain/cereal-based, which is a major reason for India being protein and B12 deficient. Teff rightly fits into solving this problem. Further, as teff is naturally gluten-free; it has the potential to be utilised in a wide range of products, especially relevant to people with celiac disease. As for diabetics, teff helps regulate the blood sugar levels because of its relatively low glycaemic index and high fibre content. This also makes the grain a perfect companion of those who wish to lose some weight. Naturally low in sodium, it is the perfect addition to a healthy meal. Hence, whatever be your fitness goal, teff has something for you. Below are some more health benefits of teff:
- Gluten-free nature
- Rich in crude fibre
- High protein content with an excellent balance and a complete set of essential amino acids. A 100-gram serving of teff contains 13.3g protein.
- High in iron content and other minerals such as calcium, copper, and zinc compared to other cereal grains.
- A 100-gram serving of teff contains 7.6 mg of iron.
- A significant source of bioactive compounds including polyphenols, especially very rich in flavonoid derivatives
- A 100-gram serving of teff contains the same amount of calcium as half a cup of milk.
- Teff contains 28 percent of our daily value of copper in just one cup.
- Since teff is a high source of B vitamins and essential minerals, it boosts the immune system.
- Naturally low in salt
Also Read: 5 Superfoods You Can Add To Your Daily Diet
Interesting Ways To Include Teff In Your Diet:
Last but not the least, teff is simply delicious! Teff has a slightly grainy texture that adds a great crunch to any recipe. It has a unique nutty flavour and cooks faster than other grains. This versatile nature of the grain means that it can be added to anything, from chapattis’, dosas and breads to cookies and cakes. Hence the grain can be incorporated into any diet very easily. Basically, it’s everything a superfood should be!
Teff Lentil Salad (serves: 1 adult)
- 60 gm lentils of your choice, rinsed and drained
- 4 tablespoons of teff grain
- Chopped red onion
- Chopped capsicum
- Chopped carrots
- Chopped cucumber
- Chopped tomatoes
- Lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Black pepper to taste
- Cook Teff grain (3 parts water, 1 part teff to be cooked like rice) and cool to room temperature
- Boil the lentils
- Place the lentils in a bowl.
- Add the veggies (finely chopped) and the rest of the ingredients (lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper).
- Mix well and serve.
Nutrition Value: This recipe provides 24g protein and 25.3 g Vitamin C.
Teff Pancake (serves: 2 adults)
- Teff Flour (100 gm)
- Whole Wheat flour (100 gm)
- Medium eggs 2 (can be exchanged for 1 pinch baking powder for vegans)
- Milk 200 ml
- Fresh Date Syrup
- Fruits (Optional)
- In a large bowl sift the teff flour, whole wheat flour and baking powder.
- Make a well and pour in 2 eggs
- Whisk well while adding milk to have a smooth pancake batter.
- Preheat a large non-stick pan with a splash of oil on medium heat.
- Then place 1/4 cup of the pancake mixture in the hot pan and cook for about 30 seconds, then turn the other side until it is well cooked.
- Serve the pancakes with Date syrup and fresh fruit on top.
Nutrition Value: 2 pancakes provide 8g protein and 12g Vitamin C (vitamin c will be added if consumed with berries and other citrus fruits).
About Author: Pariksha Rao is a clinical nutritionist and a lifestyle activist with 14 years of experience across nutrition counselling, research, digital healthcare, patient support programs, pharmaceutical and public health sectors.
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