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Teff – sources, health benefits, nutrients, uses and constituents at

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 by

Teff (Eragrostis tef) is an annual grass native to the Ethiopian highlands where it’s believed to have first been cultivated thousands of years ago. These hardy plants are grown for their small edible seeds, which come in a wide array of colors. Because they can thrive in even the harshest climates, teff continues to be a staple grain of the cuisines of Ethiopia and Eritrea until this day. Teff even serves as the primary ingredient of injera, a spongy flatbread that is the national dish of the two nations.

Outside of its native land, teff is slowly growing on popularity thanks to the abundance of essential nutrients found in every poppy seed-sized fine grain.

List of known nutrients

Teff is loaded with important vitamins and minerals that all contribute towards better overall health. These include:

  • Calcium
  • Copper
  • Fiber
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Protein
  • Silica
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate)
  • Vitamin C
  • Zinc

Teff has been described as “nutritionally complex” due to being rich in fiber, high in protein, and containing varying but largely moderate amounts of energy- and metabolism-boosting minerals. One other significant benefit of teff is that it’s naturally gluten-free, and therefore safe for individuals struggling with gluten sensitivities like Celiac disease.

Medicinal uses for teff

The impressive fiber content in teff makes it ideal for preventing gastrointestinal issues like constipation, abdominal cramping, and bloating. Not only does fiber add bulk to stool and promote bowel movement regularity, but it stimulates peristaltic motion too, all of which are necessary for the lowered risk of constipation. In addition, this ensures that hemorrhoids are less likely to develop since they’re often the result of straining during bowel movements.

Teff can stall the onset of osteoporosis thanks to the presence of calcium and manganese, both of which are minerals necessary for the maintenance of bone mass. A cup of cooked teff has 123 mg of calcium, which is well over 10 percent of the recommended daily intake for adult women.

The phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium found in teff means that it help reduce the cramping and pains of premenstrual syndrome. Moreover, the copper and manganese can boost energy levels among women who feel exhausted during their menstrual cycle.

Body systems supported by teff

Regularly consuming teff can be good for many of the body’s systems and organs, particularly:

  • Cardiovascular system
  • Digestive system, including stomach
  • Immune system, including spleen and pancreas
  • Kidneys
  • Skeletal system

Teff has fiber and vitamins B6 and B9, three nutrients that keep the heart healthy. Fiber cleans up cholesterol, and vitamins B6 and B9 work together to regulate homocysteine, an amino acid that’s been linked to the increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Ways to use teff

Teff is small enough to be used in all sorts of dishes, and has a mild enough flavor that it won’t overpower them. Some recipes that can benefit from the inclusion of this nutty wholegrain include porridge, burgers, cookies, and brownies.

Teff can be ground up to create teff flour, a gluten-free replacement for conventional flours. When used in combination with other healthy flours, teff flour can be used for muffins, pancakes, and breads.

While can be safely consumed by individuals with gluten sensitivities, diabetic patients can enjoy teff without issue as well. Teff is composed of resistant starch content, meaning it’s slowly digested and absorbed by the body, ensuring that blood sugar levels don’t spike suddenly.

Where to learn more


Teff is a highly nutritious grain that can deliver a wealth of benefits to anyone who consumes them frequently. This is because teff can support the health of the heart, digestive system, and bones, as well as relieve the symptoms and/or prevent such conditions as constipation, premenstrual syndrome, osteoporosis, and abdominal cramping. Moreover, teff is a gluten-free resistant starch and ideal for people with gluten sensitivities or diabetes.

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