Many health food advocates are calling teff a supergrain, but what most people don’t realize is that this grain has been around and used for its health benefits for a long time. African people have use did as a form of food for ages, and as some dieticians have pointed out, even though new superfoods are being touted all the time, many of them have been around for generations.
Teff is a grain that was being harvested as far back as 3300 BC. Ancient Egyptian culture though teff was so important that they buried with with the pharaoh for his final journey into the afterlife.
Teff contains no gluten, just like its counterparts quinoa and chia. It also has tons of nutrients and is very tough. It can survive in many different environments and under diverse conditions. We have found teff growing at sea level and as high up as 3000 metres. It may be new to the western world, but it has been around for a very long time. It’s the world’s smallest grain, and it is still very important to some African cultures. Ethiopia’s spongey bread, injera, comes from the teff grain.
The bread is usually consumed by tearing it and pairing it with some other food as part of a meal. It can be used in salads as well, or boiled or eaten on its own.
The name for teff is believed to come from an African word for “lost”. The name is supposedly in refence to how small it is and how easily it could be misplaced. The grain is ideal for the nomadic life of Ethiopians, since it can be carried from one place to another and grown in the new climate.
The small grain could easily be carried to sow bountiful fields, and most Ethiopians today get about two thirds of their protein from teff. That could be why why the country is famous for its long-distance runners.
Teff’s Health Benefits
Teff is a very healthy grain, and there are a lot of ways it can benefit the body. In fact, it is one of the best grains for people who are trying to eat healthy, and particularly for those who need to eat a gluten-free diet.
Teff is packed with iron, calcium and amino acids, as well as Vitamin B. It’s also very good for your digestion and makes you feel full so you don’t need to eat as much or as often. It can even regulate your blood sugar levels, and it has quite a bit of Vitamin K. This vitamin is essential for bone health and proper blood flow.
What’s great about feff’s small size is that it doesn’t get damaged when milled. The bran and the germ stay intact, which means that you get all the nutrients even after the milling process.
Making Teff a Part of Your Diet
This very versatile grain can be used in number of different recipes. It can be used the same way as semolina or polenta, and you can cook it up with other natural ingredients for a complementary taste. If you want to make teff part of your regular diet, we have a few suggestions to help you out:
- Teff grain can be added to burger patties to give them more flavour and added nutrients. This is something even your kids may enjoy.
- You can use the grain to make flatbread, Ethiopian style.
- It can also be sprinkled on your salad for some extra flavour and nutrients.
- Teff can be made into a porridge that is more nutritious than oats.
- Cooked like rice or cous cous, the teff grain makes an excellent side dish.
There are tons of other ways to incorporate teff into your diet and to many other recipes that will help you make great use of the grain in your everyday meals.
Teff demand is incredible right now, as more and more people are finding out about this supposed superfood. Teff flour and teff grain offers great alternatives to wheat flour, barley and rye. This versatile, gluten-free grain has been a part of a lot of people’s diets for a very long time, and it may be time to incorporate it into yours.
Chia seeds and quinoa can move out of the way now and make way for this “new” supergrain that is starting to take over.