11 Surprising Benefits Of Teff Grain

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11 Surprising Benefits Of Teff Grain
KayaWell Expert

Benefits of Teff Grain

I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of this grain called teff grain, especially if you’ve never visited southern Africa or enjoyed Ethiopian cuisine. However, this protein-rich staple food of that African nation has received a great deal of attention lately, as its high nutrient content, rapid cooking time, and versatile applications make it an ideal “superfood” that people from Hollywood to the Horn of Africa are clamoring for. Scientifically known as Eragrostis tef, this tiny grain is widely used in Africa but is beginning to gain popularity in the United States. It is used in a similar way as millet or quinoa, also popular for health food aficionados, but the grain’s small size means that it cooks very rapidly, thus using less fuel and being more viable as a dietary staple for countries with limited resources. It’s amazing how many nutrients are packaged in such a small grain, but the mineral, vitamin, fiber, and organic compounds found in teff grain make it an ideal nutritional source for millions of people already. In fact, teff makes up 1/4 of all cereals grown in Ethiopia.

The most common use of teff is making flour and bread, but it can basically be used in the same way as any other cereal grain. In Ethiopian cuisine, injera bread (made from teff) is what the majority of large dishes are served on, and as Ethiopian cuisine has spread around the world, so too has knowledge and interest in teff. But why is it so important? What secret nutrients does it hold?

Health Benefits Of Teff Grain

1. Anemia

Helps regenerate iron in blood, offering about 30% of your daily value of iron.

2. Digestion

Thanks to the fiber, this will help with supporting regular bowel movements. This is especially useful for hemorrhoids. Eating fiber and drinking plenty of foods is very good for your digestion and every organ system.

3. Weight

One serving of teff provides about 30% of your daily value of copper, a nutrient that supports healthy weight and energy production. Thanks to the fiber and modest calories, teff can help you feel full and satisfied with fewer calories.

4. Energy 

Copper also increases energy levels, being involved in the synthesis of ATP (your body’s energy molecule that is produced in your mitochondria). Copper also helps liberate iron from protein. This helps with fatigue, especially if you are anemic. Teff is loaded with manganese. What is manganese? It is a mineral that helps with producing digestive enzymes responsible for a process called gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis supports energy, breaking down protein into amino acids, and then into sugar for fuel. This process supports balanced blood sugars and stable energy. Studies have shown that mice who consume enough manganese display better mitochondrial health.

5. Fitness 

Teff is a great source of protein, which supports lean muscle mass. Copper, found in teff, also helps relieve muscle and joint pain while also minimizing inflammation.

6. Heart health

In the process of digesting teff’s insoluble fiber, you will eliminate more cholesterol particles and fats before they are re-absorbed from your intestines. Additionally, teff is rich in vitamin B6, which maintains healthy blood vessels. Vitamin B6 reduces the risk of heart disease by regulating an amino acid called homocysteine. Homocysteine is produced from protein intake, and promotes inflammation. It is a significant risk factor for heart disease. Vitamin B6, as well as folate, is a defender that prevents homocysteine from accumulating and damaging your blood vessels. Without ample B6 (and folate) to defend you, homocysteine increases dangerous plaque buildup and puts you at risk for heart attack or stroke. Additionally, Vitamin B6 helps manage blood pressure and cholesterol.

7. Blood sugar control

Teff slows insulin release in your bloodstream. One serving of teff provides you with 100% of the manganese you need for health.  Manganese can prevent high blood sugar levels, and is essential in diabetes management.

8. Bone health

Teff is a great source of manganese and calcium, minerals that help maintain bone mass. Manganese helps form hormones and enzymes involved in bone metabolism.

9. Detoxifies

Insoluble fiber isn’t absorbed, and thus passes through our digestive tract, taking with it toxins, metabolic waste, damaged fats and cholesterol particles.

10. Pre-Menstrual Syndrome

Helps reduce PMS symptoms. Minerals such as phosphorus and magnesium play a big role in reducing cramping and pain during PMS and menses. Additionally, so it helps women who feel sluggish around menstruation may find that teff helps with their energy, for reasons listed above.

11. Gluten-free 

Teff is a wonderful choice on the gluten-free meal plan!