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Teff The Gluten Free Super Grain

March 2017

By Garry Messick

Teff, a cereal grain grown mostly in Eritrea and Ethiopia, has been used for many centuries in African and Arabian countries, but has only begun gaining popularity in the US in recent years. As appreciation for Teff’s many nutritional benefits has grown, it has become widely available in health food stores and through various online sources. Teff, which thrives even in harsh climates, has a mild, nutty flavor.

Health benefits of teff include:

Gluten Sensitivity

Teff is gluten free, making it a good alternative grain for people who have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.1-3

Amino Acids

Teff is an excellent source of lysine, among other essential amino acids. (Most other grains are lacking in lysine, making Teff unusual in that respect.) Lysine is an important building block of protein, and it may help maintain nitrogen balance in the body and help prevent the detrimental process of glycation.1,4

Essential Minerals

Essential minerals such as potassium and calcium are much more abundant in teff compared with other grains. Teff also is rich in fiber, and its iron content is easily absorbed by the body.1,5

Blood Sugar Control

For those who are diabetic or prediabetic, teff added to your diet could help blood glucose levels because it’s roughly 20% to 40% made up of resistant starches and has a low glycemic index.1,6

Vitamin C

Grains in general aren’t known for their vitamin content, and tend to be particularly lacking in vitamin C. The opposite is true for teff, which contains significant amounts of vitamin C,7 which is crucial for the immune system amongst other functions.

References

  1. J Food Sci Technol. 2014;51(11):2881-95.
  2. N Engl J Med. 2005;353(16):1748-9.
  3. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2008;43(3):277-82.
  4. Nephron. 2001;87(2):148-54.
  5. Available at: http://ethnomed.org/clinical/nutrition/more-about-ethiopian-food-teff. Accessed November 30, 2016.
  6. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/02/06/teff-benefits-_n_4740219.html. Accessed November 30, 2016.
  7. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/teff-ethiopias-nutritious-grain/2014/04/08/0954563e-b9ab-11e3-9a05-c739f29ccb08_story.html. Accessed November 30, 2016.