Am I the only one who needs a little more excitement when it comes to grain choices?! I’m guessing the answer is probably not. That’s why I’m super excited to bring the focus back on this gluten free, nutrient dense grain: Teff. Sorry quinoa, we’re going on a break. It’s not you, it’s not me… it’s teff.
Teff is a tiny yet versatile grain that packs a serious punch when it comes to nutrients. It’s is a high-fiber food and a strong source of protein, manganese, iron and calcium. The array of vitamins and minerals found in teff contribute to its role for naturally balancing hormone levels, boosting immunity, stimulating digestion, strengthening bones, promoting cardiovascular health and aiding weight loss.
Native to Ethiopia, this ancient grain has been a staple there for thousands of years. It’s known for being hardy in rough growing conditions and takes up far less space and water than crops like wheat, making it more ideal environmentally.
- Considered to be highest in calcium of all the grains, it’s also a worthy investment in your daily micronutrient intake. Teff has been credited with giving Ethiopian runners a nutrient edge, due to its mineral and protein content. In fact, many American runners have begun to adopt a teff-rich diet in order to support endurance training. Don’t worry though, you don’t have to be training for an ultra-marathon to get the same benefits.
- The cool thing about finding your calcium and minerals from whole food sources is that they tend to come with all the necessary cofactors for proper absorption. Nature has a way of knowing what it’s doing. Teff has high levels of zinc, iron, thiamin and vitamin K giving it a diverse nutrient profile.
- Though it has a little more carbs than protein, the carbs found in teff actually help to improve your body’s metabolism. Teff contains high amounts of resistant starch which a specific type of carbohydrate that can help manage blood sugar and control weight. These resistant starches also act as prebiotics, feeding our gut bacteria and improving the health of our digestive system, specifically the colon. You know what’s even more exciting than colon health?! (Well, let’s be real, many things I’m sure!) Seriously though, my favorite thing about Teff is that it’s SO incredibly quick and easy to prepare.
- The ratio is 3:1 parts liquid to teff and it takes about 20 minutes in a covered pot. It takes little to no supervision while cooking, making it an ideal player in the quick yet healthy meal game.
- When it comes to flavors, you really can’t mess this one up. It can handle whatever you throw at it, sweet or savory, so don’t be afraid to get creative. I’m loving Molly Sims’ recipes from her blog post on teff. She has a super easy warm breakfast cereal replacement that you could dress up whichever way suits your taste. I imagine it with cinnamon, coconut milk and little honey as a mid-morning treat on a cold rainy day.
- Teff has been the most recent star addition to my lunch bowl. Try it in a Glow Bowl or in my Warm Kale and Quinoa Salad. You can swap out quinoa for teff in any quinoa recipe…Sorry again quinoa! Teff can also be found as a ground flour to fulfil your wildest gluten free baking dreams. The flour lends itself to a more bready quality than many other gluten free options. I’m looking forward to experimenting with it further in some of my dessert recipes!
Be sure to check out my recent feature for more things Teff HERE.