Teff – Health Benefits, Uses and Important Facts

Teff – Health Benefits, Uses and Important Facts

In recent years, many whole cereals, such as quinoa, millet, farro, and buckwheat, have gained popularity due to their high levels of plant-based fibre, protein, minerals, and complex carbohydrates. Teff, however, is one among the smallest and lesser-known grains that packs a nutritional wallop. Eragrostis tef, also known as teff, Williams lovegrass, or annual bunch grass, is a type of lovegrass that is native to Africa and is cultivated primarily in Ethiopia. It is now cultivated in numerous countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.


What is teff?

Teff is a type of the superfood grains garnering worldwide popularity due to its extraordinary nutritional profile. It is a yearly cereal grass grown for its edible grains that can withstand hot and dry climates. It is one of the smallest grains familiar to man, measured as little as one millimetre in diameter and weighing an average of 0.26 grams per thousand kernels. Teff comes in both brown and white hues and has a moderate, nutty flavour. In India, this tiny grain the size of a poppy kernel is referred to as small millet, which is very similar to ragi due to their shared biological subfamily.



Cultivation of teff:

Ethiopian highlanders were among the earliest to cultivate plants and animals for sustenance, between 8000 and 5000 BCE. Teff became one of the first domesticated legumes. It's believed that teff evolved in Ethiopia between 4000 and 1000 BCE.


Genetic evidence indicates that E. pilosa is the most probable ancestor among wild species. A 19th-century detection of teff seeds done in an ancient Egyptian site as belonging to E. teff is now regarded as dubious. It is more probable that the seeds belong to E. aegyptiaca, a common wild grass in Egypt.



Nutritional profile of teff:

Teff has been the source of athletic endurance, stamina, and success due to its abundant lysine amino acid content, which is typically lacking in other cereals. It is a grain devoid of gluten that is rich in amino acids, crucial fatty acids, dietary fibre, and phytochemicals. Teff has a high protein content and an adequate amount of eight necessary amino acids, making it a favoured endurance-boosting food. It is primarily rich in lysine, an amino acid that is frequently lacking in other cereals, which promotes the production of hormones, enzymes, collagen, and elastin, as well as the generation of energy and immune function. Being naturally abundant in iron, copper, calcium, and zinc strengthens bones, controls diabetes, increases iron stores, and avoids cancer. This grain is ideal for those with celiac disease along with other digestive disorders. In addition, research indicates that teff is a rich source of compounds called polyphenol flavonoids, which are uncommon in other typical cereals.



Health benefits of teff: 

Gluten-free cereals

Gluten is a protein extracted from wheat along with other grains that lends dough its elastic quality. However, individuals with celiac disease are unable to consume gluten because the immune system attacks the intestinal lining. This may impair nutrient assimilation, resulting in anaemia, diarrhoea, weight loss, constipation, and bloating. Teff flour is inherently gluten-free and a fantastic substitute for wheat flour.


Superior In Dietary Fibre

Teff contains more crude nutritional fibre per 100 grams than most other cereals, which is 12.2 grams. It includes both soluble as well as insoluble fibre, with insoluble fibre adding substance to stool and preventing constipation by regulating bowel movements and regulating bowel movements. While soluble fibre softens stools, nourishes gut bacteria, and encourages carbohydrate and fat metabolism, it also feeds intestinal bacteria. A high-fibre diet is associated with a reduced incidence of diabetes,  hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and other digestive disorders.


Increase Iron Stocks

Teff contains enormous quantities of iron, a vital mineral that provides both nutrients and oxygen to all body cells. It is known that incorporating this grain into a diet reduces the risk of anaemia in expectant women and improves iron stores in those with iron-deficiency anaemia.


Increases Growth

Teff contains eight vital amino acids, including lysine, which has the potential to promote healthy growth and development. It plays an important function in cell regeneration, tissue repair, and muscle mass development. Vegetarians must consume this cereal in order to satisfy their protein needs.


Due to its low glycemic index and elevated fibre content, teff helps to manage diabetes by preventing blood sugar increases. It is laden with resistant starch, which delays gastric emptying, keeps you satiated, curbs unwanted hunger pangs, aids in weight loss, and regulates blood glucose levels effectively.



Ways to include teff in to our diet:

Teff has a grainy texture that lends a wonderful crunch to almost every dish and cooks significantly faster than other grains. This flour's versatility allows it to be used to make a variety of dishes, including roti, dosa, pancakes, biscuits, bread,  muffins, and cakes. It is simple to include grains in any diet. Teff truly is a superfood that must be incorporated into a healthy diet in order to obtain its health benefits.



Side-effects of teff:

Moderate consumption of teff is entirely risk-free. However, excessive teff consumption may have negative consequences.

  1. Teff is rich in fibre, and excessive consumption of fibre may lead to constipation and flatulence.
  2. Teff typically contains less thiamine compared to other cereal grains. When it is consumed as the primary staple food, thiamine supplementation is advised.
  3. Teff is rich in phytate, which prevents mineral assimilation. It is not recommended that individuals with calcium and zinc deficiencies consume teff in significant quantities.


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