Sunday, February 24, 2013

Food Facts: LOVEGRASS, aka TEFF

I have come across a new grain: TEFF
TEFF
Looking for some variety in your diet? 
Want to add some some good whole grain goodness?
How about some protein?
Hey runners, how about adding some food traditionally eaten by elite Ethiopian runners, such as Olympic Gold medal winner, Halle Gebrelassie and Kenenisa Bekele, who by the way, also holds the current 5,000 and 10,000 meter world record!
Well, look no further because Teff is making a comeback!

Teff is eaten throughout Ethiopia, India and Australia. And even though it is considered the world's smallest grain, it's really a seed from an annual grass, called Lovegrass. It's so small that even it's name, originating in Ethiopia, means "lost". 

Okay, Teff, where'd you go?
Each grain is about 1/150th the size of a wheat kernel! And for those of you who are looking to add some fiber to your diet, all varieties of Teff - red, brown, and white - are considered a whole grain 'cause they're just too small to hull! And this is not just any fiber, it's resistant fiber, which has been shown to not only help manage blood sugar and metabolize fat, but also increase satiety, so you feel fuller, longer, aiding in weight control and less fat accumulation!

Teff is the principle source of nutrition for over two-thirds of Ethiopians, providing two-thirds of their protein! Yup, that's right. Teff is packed with some awesome nutrients, and protein is high on the list.
The protein in Teff is so readily available and easily digestible, 
it is considered the grain version of an egg!
Teff provides 10 grams of protein per cooked cup, 
and contains all 8 essential amino acids! 
It gets even better: it is especially high in Lysine, which is ideal for athletes who need to maintain muscle tissue ...ehem, like runners!!!
Kenenisa, you got it going on!
Teff leads the grains in calcium - just 1 cup cooked Teff can provide 123 mg of calcium. We all know we need calcium to help maintain strong bones and teeth (and prevent osteoporosis, ladies) , but did you know that calcium helps keep the heart, nerves and muscles healthy, too?
Teff is also a good source of iron and B1, 
needed for energy and healthy red blood cells!

Teff is so versatile, too. It can be eaten like a porridge, polenta, a side dish, or used as "flour" for bread, pancakes, or to make the flatbread traditionally eaten in Ethiopia.
Remember I said that Teff is a seed, and not a true grain?
Well, good news: That makes it gluten-free, too!

The white varieties have a little milder taste, while the darker varieties have a little more earthy and nutty flavor.
Let me know if you already eat Teff - 
Maybe you have a favorite recipe? 
Share it, here.
Otherwise, 
add a little variety to your diet,
get yourself some Teff,
and
Train Smart Today!
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