Health benefits of teff for kids include reduced iron deficiency risk, is gluten free, is a good source of protein, has high amounts of essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium along with vitamin B3 and vitamin B5.
Teff is an annually cultivated plant which supposed to have originated in Ethiopian and Eritrean highlands. The regular names for teff include Williams lovegrass, annual bunch grass and taf. The scientific name of the plant is Eragrostis tef.
It is believed that ancient Ethiopians cultivated teff between 8000 to 5000 BC. It is believed that it is one of the oldest plants to have been cultivated. Teff has been widely cultivated in regions of Ethiopia and Eritrea and it covers a quarter or the total cereal production in Ethiopia. Even the US National Research Council has recommended that teff has the “potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable land care.”
After the colonization of Africa, especially in the parts where teff was grown, it was viewed as a grain of inferior quality compared to mainstream grains such as wheat, rice or corn by Ethiopians. Thus, there was no research done on teff. But, in the past one decade, an interest has been sparked about teff in the developed world, when it was heard that teff is gluten-free. This led several researches being conducted on the grain and these researches have thrown light on some interesting facts about teff.
The grain itself is very small and it includes the bran and the germ. This makes it very difficult to mill teff grain and hence, the nutrition of the whole teff grain is persevered. Thus, making it an ideal grain for human consumption. Also, it has been studied that teff itself is a resilient plant. It can grow in wet lands as well as in dry areas. It has been observed that teff can grow at a height of upto 2500 meters above sea level.
Health benefits of Teff for kids and Nursing Mothers
Here are some of the health benefits of teff.
Reduces iron deficiency greatly: Research suggests that teff contains high amount of iron. There is an increasing global issue of iron-deficiency that is affecting more than 2 billion people. Though the issue can be solved with iron supplementation and/or iron fortified foods, yet the problem can be solved simply with a natural source of iron such as teff. In fact, some researches have suggested that adding just 30% of teff flour in wheat flour during bread preparation doubles the amount of iron in the bread.
High in dietary fiber: One of the major issues with today’s foods is the lack of dietary fiber. Lack of dietary fiber is a major cause for constipation. This can be reduced by introducing teff in your diet. Dietary fiber helps in adding bulk which absorbs water and keeps the stool soft and it moves through the colon and out very quickly. The presence of dietary fiber increases the time of digestion. This provides sustained energy over food with no dietary fiber.
Is gluten free: Teff is gluten-free. This is a good news for people suffering from celiac disease who might find it difficult to eat cereals such as wheat, barley or rye. On the other than, flour of teff can be baked and cooked makes it an ideal alternative.
Good source of essential minerals: Apart from iron, teff is also a good source of other vital minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese. And the best part about teff is that it has very low sodium content.
Good source of protein: Teff has good amount of protein in it which is surprising because most cereals have very less protein in them. But, teff is different from regular cereals. Teff is not only a good source of carbohydrates, but is also a good source of protein as well. The amount of protein for 100g is as much as 100g of boiled egg and that too, without the fat.
Good source of vitamin B5: Teff is also a very good source of vitamin B5. Lack of vitamin B5 deficiency causes fatigue, muscle cramps, insomnia, intestinal disturbances, etc. Vitamin B5 also helps in wound healing and reduces rheumatoid arthritis.
Has high amount of vitamin B3: Teff has very high amounts of niacin per 100g. Lack of niacin can cause skin lesions, tongue inflammation, ulcerations, burning sensation in the pharynx and esophagus, gastrointestinal issues along with diarrhea with blood due to ulcerations.
The presence of overall nutrients in teff makes it a super food which is ideal for children in their growing years. It is also a very good food for pregnant women and nursing mothers as well.
Nutritional value of teff
According to the National Nutrient Database from USDA, the nutritional value of teff is
|Nutritional Component||Value per 100g||Nutritional Component||Value per 100g|
|Water||8.82 g||Energy||367 kcal|
|Protein||13.3 g||Total Lipid||2.38 g|
|Calcium||180 mg||Iron||7.63 mg|
|Magnesium||184 mg||Phosphorus||429 mg|
|Potassium||427 mg||Sodium||12 mg|
|Zinc||3.63 mg||Thiamin||0.39 mg|
|Riboflavin||0.27 mg||Niacin||3.36 mg|
|Vitamin A||9 IU||Vitamin E||0.08 mg|
|Vitamin K||1.9 ug||Pantothenic Acid||0.94 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.48 mg|
Simple Recipes with Teff
Banana Bread with teff and chocolate
What you need: 1 cup teff flour, ½ cup whole-wheat flour, ½ cup all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 cup granulated sugar, 5 tablespoons butter, softened, 1 large egg, lightly beaten, 1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 medium), ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ cup water and 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips.
How to make it: Preheat your oven at 350°F. Combine and mix all the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and mix them well. Then add blended sugar and butter to the flour mixture. Add a beaten egg as well to the mixture. Now, add beaten banana and vanilla to the flour and mix it well until all ingredients in the mixture are blended perfectly. Now, pour this mixture into load pan coated with cooking spray and bake it at 350°F for 50 minutes.
Teff Patties for burgers
What you need: 2 tablespoons sesame oil, 3 scallions, finely chopped, ¼ teaspoon sea salt, 2 garlic cloves, minced, 1 teaspoon thyme ground, 3 cups water and 1 cup whole grain teff.
How to make it: Heat the sesame oil in a pan and add finely chopped garlic to it. Stir the garlic for the about 2 minutes and then add finely chopped thyme. Now, add 1 cup of water and stir the ingredients. Add teff flour and keep stirring. Make sure that no lumps are formed and keep stirring. Now, add the rest of the water and close it with lid. Keep stirring it in between to avoid burning. Once, all the mixture turns into a thick paste, add in chopped scallions and mix them. Cool this a little bit and form it into equally partitioned patties. Use these patties for making burgers and enjoy a tasty and healthy meal.
Teff Mushroom Polenta
What you need: 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, 1 cup whole grain teff, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 chopped yellow onion, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes, 8 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
How to make it: Add 3 cups water and salt in a saucepan and let them boil. Add teff and stir it to make sure that there are no lumps. Keep the lid closed and let it simmer for 20 minutes until all water is absorbed and teff is soft. Keep stirring in between to avoid lumps from forming. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan.
Take a frying pan and oil in it and let it become hot. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook until golden brown. Add in the tomatoes and mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are tender and mixture has thickened slightly. Add the mushroom mixture on top of teff polenta and serve.