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Whole grains contain cancer protective nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phenols, lignans, resistant starch and fibre - also known as ‘roughage’. According to the AICR eNews (2016), 170 grams per day of naturally high fibre foods which include whole grains, can lower the risk of colorectal cancer by up to 21% [1].

Teff (Eragrostis tef) is a new supergrain to western culture. Its pseudonym is ‘lovegrass’.  It was used in civilisation as early as 4000 BC. Originating in Ethiopia and Africa teff was made into flat spongy bread called injera which was used as a plate/utensil where other foods were loaded on top and the bread served as a fork or spoon to hold the meal.

Teff flour is high in resistant starch which has been shown to assist in colon health, with 20-40% of the grain containing resistant starch.  It also boasts a rich amount of nutrients such as iron, calcium, thiamine (B1), iron, copper, zinc, amino acids phenylalanine, tyrosine, threonine, histidine and methionine [2]. It has a great earthy flavour which is nutty and rich. It is easy to use in breads and muffins or as a base to quiche or pizza [3, 4 & 5]. 

TIPS ON TEFF

- It is gluten free

- Cooks fast due to grain size

- It is ecologically sound; half a kilo of teff grain can grow an acre of teff plants. Wheat grain needs 45 kgs or more to grow an acre of wheat

- It only takes 36 hours to sprout, the shortest time of any grain, great from sprouting enthusiasts

- The high (above 10%) protein in Teff is easily digested as it is similar in composition to albumins from egg whites

- Teff has its own built in symbiotic yeast (Probiotic) in the soluble fibre surface which is why it easily ferments to make a great bread product

- Teff can be grown, in most locations, without insecticides or fungicides. It is mostly a low input crop

- Teff is extremely tough it can grow in very wet and drought soils and thrives at both sea level and high altitudes [3, 4 & 5].

 

 

 

References

1. American Institute of Cancer Research (2016). Whole Grains and Cancer Prevention. Retrieved http://www.aicr.org/enews/2016/04-april/whole-grains-and-cancer-risk-explained.html

2. Fekadu D et al (2015). Nutrition of Tef (Eragrostis tef) Recipes. Food Science and Quality Management (45) 18-22.

3. Ingram AL et al (2003). The origin and evolution of Eragrostis tef (Poaceae) and related polyploids: Evidence from nuclear waxy and plastid rps16. American Journal of Botany 90(1): 116–122. http://www.amjbot.org/content/90/1/116.full.pdf+html

4. Miller D (2009). Teff Grass: A new alternative. In: Proceedings, 2009 California Alfalfa & Forage Symposium and Western Seed Conference, Reno, NV,UC Cooperative Extension, Plant Sciences Department, University of California, Davis, CA 95616. http://alfalfa.ucdavis.edu/+symposium/2009/files/talks/09WAS19_Miller_Tef.pdf

5. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine (1996). NAP Open Book. Lost Crops of Africa: Volume 1: Grains; 12; Teff. Retrieved http://www.nap.edu/read/2305/chapter/15#231

6. USDA, (2016). Nutrient database. Retrieved https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/6588?fgcd=&manu=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=35&offset=&sort=&qlookup=wheat