There’s no denying the fact that we’ve spent the last two years championing the gluten free super-grain, quinoa. We’ve slipped it into menus, shoved it into our mouths and scoffed at the sight of bread ever since we first found out it was good for us.
But now, just as the world was starting to pronounce it correctly, keen-wa may well be stepping out of the limelight to make way for the latest nutritional powerhouse, teff.
As the world’s smallest grain, Teff may well pack the biggest nutritional punch.
1 cup of teff contains around 26 grams of protein while one serving provides 12% of your recommended daily intake (RDI), similar to that of quinoa but extremely high for a grain.
While teff has a slightly higher carbohydrate content than quinoa, it is mainly resistant starch, a type of fibre that can help with blood sugar management, weight control and colon health, and which is now recognised as an important prebiotic, meaning it helps good microbes in the gut to flourish. Quinoa’s carbohydrate make-up is predominantly starch and insoluble fibre.
One serving of teff provides 15% of your RDI of dietary fibre, which helps to aid the digestive system.
Unlike the beloved super-grain, iron in teff is easily absorbed making it a great dietary source. It contains more iron than spinach and almost double that of quinoa, with one serving providing 20% of your recommended daily intake.
Teff leads the grains in calcium content, which not only strengthens bones and teeth, but plays a crucial role in other functions of the body; heart rhythm, nervous system, muscles and more. One serving of teff provides 7% of your RDI, making it a great dairy alternative for vegans.
Teff provides 8 of the 9 essential amino acids that our body is unable to produce but needs for growth, repair and healthy body function.
Teff is lower in fat than quinoa with only 2g per 100g, of which almost none is saturated fat.
Being naturally free from gluten, teff is a terrific option for people with coeliac disease, gluten intolerance and wheat sensitivities. Unlike some gluten-free flours that create oddly textured baked goods, teff works well as a non-wheat flour alternative with a delicious nutty profile.
Now we know what you’re thinking; something that healthy is never going to be tasty, right? But alas, it is. Teff is available as both a brown and white grain. Brown teff has a subtle hazelnut flavour while white teff is closer to chestnut but both are pleasantly nutty with an added crunchy texture. It is also overwhelmingly versatile. As a grain or flour, teff can be used in an extremely wide and varying manner – from breakfast to dinner and everything in between. In its whole, grain form, teff performs similarly to semolina or polenta, quickly becoming a thick gruel, which is perfect for soaking up sauces or eating as porridge. It can also be sprinkled on salads, raw or toasted, for an extra nutritional hit or used as flour in baking. Plus, due to its small size the milling process is not believed to remove any of the germ or bran meaning that all of the nutrients are retained.
Purchase your teff through Teff Tribe and this small grain could make a big difference with, two percent of all sales going towards supporting EthiopiAid; a non-profit charity organisation that assists Ethiopian women and children through a number of programs. Find out more here.