Teff Benefits: 8 Healthy Reasons To Add Teff To Your Diet

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TEFF BENEFITS
Dozens of tiny grains of the Ethiopian crop known as teff are seen on Gary Alexander's fingertip as Alexander harvested a test plot on his farm near Nicodemus, Kan. Thursday, Nov. 17, 2005. Alexander and a handful of other farmers around the historical black settlement have been experimenting with the crop hoping to market it as an alternative to wheat for persons with gluten sensitivity. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

It's the super tiny grain with the not-so-tiny power.

Teff, which is grown in Ethiopia and used to make injera (the sourdough flatbread), is a small grain with a long list of health benefits.

"Teff packs a nutritional punch to your diet if you are looking for a super food that gives you excellent combination benefits," says Rosanna Lee, a nutrition educator based in Toronto.

Along with being gluten-free, high in iron and super tasty, teff has also recently been called out as being Hollywood's new superfood and the new quinoa. Gwyneth Palrow and Victoria Beckham are both fans of teff and the grain's multiple uses, according to the Daily Mail.

According to the Dr. Oz Show, teff is also known to reduce PMS symptoms and help you lose weight, and Lee says it's ideal for vegetarians looking for sources of protein.

But the one thing this super grain doesn't have is a cheap price tag. Teff can cost up to $8 per pound and one site that ships teff across North America starts at $25 for four pounds.

If you don't mind spending the money, though, this superfood could just be worth it. Here are Lee's eight reasons why you need more teff in your life.

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High Nutritional Value
Teff is high in protein with a great combination of eight essential amino acids needed for the body’s growth and repair. It has high amounts of calcium (1 cup of cooked teff offers about 1/2 cup of calcium found in cooked spinach), manganese, phosphorous, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, thiamin, and vitamin C (which is not normally found in grains). The iron from teff is easily absorbed and is also recommended for people with low blood iron levels.

Gluten-Free
Teff is a gluten-free grain so it can be a great alternative for those living with celiac disease, having gluten intolerance or choosing a gluten-free lifestyle.

Better Manage Blood Sugars
If you’re diabetic, you might want to consider adding teff to your diet to control blood sugar levels. Teff contains approximately 20 to 40 per cent resistant starches and has a relatively low glycemic index (GI) that can help diabetics better regulate their sugar levels.

It Will Make You Go
Teff is also great for helping you go. The fibre content in this tiny little grain can help you regulate your bowel movements and keep you feeling fuller longer.

Low In Sodium
Teff is also great for those seeking to lower their blood pressure and maintain a heart healthy diet. Unprocessed teff is a better alternative compared with pre-processed, cooked teff which often comes with preservatives or additives that are high in sodium. If you're worried, always double check nutritional labels.

Low In Fat
Naturally, this grain is very low in saturated fat.

You Can Do A Lot With It
Part of eating a nutritionally adequate diet is being able to incorporate superfoods like teff into all of your meals. Teff is a versatile grain and can be eaten whole, steamed, boiled or baked. Today, teff is found in a variety of products like pancakes, breads, cereals, snack bars and many other foods. Traditionally, it is used to make Ethiopian injera (sourdough bread).

It Tastes Great
Looking very much like poppy seeds, teff has a nutty, grainy taste and texture that can add dimension to your recipes and cooking. Most Ethiopian platters are served on injera bread.

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