A lot of whole grains such as quinoa, millet, farro, buckwheat have been prized largely in recent times owing to their excellent sources of plant-based protein, fibre, minerals and complex carbohydrates. However, one of the smallest and less known of these grains that boast a dense nutritional punch is teff. Eragrostis tef also called teff, Williams lovegrass or annual bunch grass is a species of lovegrass, an indigenous crop to Africa, mostly harvested in Ethiopia. It is now widely cultivated in many parts of the world, including the USA, Canada, Australia, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
Teff is one of the superfood grains that is gaining huge popularity across the globe for its stupendous nutritional profile. It is an annual cereal grass cultivated for its edible seeds that survive in hot and drought climatic condition. It is one of the tiniest grains known to man, measuring less than 1 mm in diameter and an average thousand kernel weight of about 0.26 grams. Teff is available in brown and white colours that delivers a nutty and mild flavour. This tiny poppy seed-sized grain is called small millet in India, which is quite similar to ragi, as both belong to the same biological subfamily.
Teff has been the secret of strength behind athletic endurance, stamina and successes owing to its dense amino acid content lysine which is mostly lacking in other cereals. It is a gluten-free grain packed with amino acids, essential fatty acids, dietary fibre and phytochemicals. Teff is bestowed with a high protein profile and well-balanced set of eight essential amino acids, which is valued as an endurance building food. It is mainly high in lysine, an amino acid that is often lacking in other grains, that supports hormones, enzymes, and collagen and elastin production and also promotes energy production and immune function. Being intrinsically rich in iron, copper, calcium and zinc fortifies bones, pump up iron stores, regulates diabetes, and prevents cancer. It is a perfect grain for those suffering from celiac disease and other digestive disorders. Furthermore, studies also reveal that teff is an abundant source of polyphenol compounds flavonoids, which are not found in other common cereals.
Potential Health Benefits Of Teff
Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat and other grains that gives an elastic texture to the dough. However, people with celiac disease cannot consume gluten, as the body’s immune system attack the lining of their intestine. This can lead to impairment of nutrient absorption leading to anaemia, weight loss, diarrhoea, constipation and bloating. Teff flour is naturally gluten-free and it’s an excellent alternative to wheat flour.
High On Dietary Fibre
Teff is high in crude dietary fibre than most other grains that packs 12.2 grams of dietary fibre per 100 grams. It contains both soluble and insoluble fibre, where insoluble fibre adds bulk to stool, regularise bowel movements and prevents constipation. While soluble fibre softens stools, feeds gut bacteria and promotes carbohydrate and fat metabolism. A diet high in fibre is linked with a lower risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and other digestive problems.
Boost Iron Stores
Teff is loaded with immense volumes of iron, an essential mineral that supplies oxygen and nutrients to all the cells in the body. Adding this grain as a part of a diet regimen is known to decreased rates of anaemia in pregnant women and also helps others with iron-deficiency anaemia to improve their iron stores.
Teff is blessed with eight essential amino acids, including lysine that can deliver potential support for normal growth and development. It holds a significant role in the regeneration of new cell, tissue repair, and development of muscle mass. It is a must-to-have cereal for vegetarians that helps to meet their protein demands.
Teff helps to control blood sugar spikes because of its low glycaemic index and high fibre content. It is loaded with resistant starch that delays the gastric emptying time, keep you satiated, control unwanted hunger pangs, shed extra kilos and effectively regulate blood glucose levels.
Ways To Add Teff To Your Diet
Teff with a grainy texture adds a great crunch to any dish and cooks much faster than most grains. This versatile nature of the flour can be used in making several dishes such as roti, dosa, bread, pancakes, cookies, muffins and cakes. It is easy to add grain to any diet. Teff is indeed a superfood that has to be included in a balanced diet regimen to reap its wellness incentives