Training bodies rely on premium, high-quality fuel to stay healthy and in top condition. Teff is a favourite grain of elite endurance athletes because of its impressive nutritional profile. Keep reading to find out more about why it’s the harvest of champions…
It’s a complex carb
Carbohydrates are essential fuel for athletes but not all carbs are created equal. As well as fuel, complex carbohydrates provide indigestible fibre which is important for gastrointestinal health and disease prevention. To stay healthy during training, athletes should choose high-quality sources that provide a variety of nutrients to keep their immune system strong and body functioning optimally. As well as energy, teff provides a high vitamin and mineral content including vitamin C, copper, magnesium, potassium, and selenium.
It’s a whole-grain
Teff grain is so tiny that it’s difficult to remove the bran and germ during milling, meaning that teff flour is almost always whole grain. Whole grains are packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, which have powerful antioxidant and disease-fighting properties that cannot be found in white bread, processed cereals, white rice, and even many “enriched” multigrain breads. Studies have shown that regular consumption of whole grains can help to prevent heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
A source of plant-based protein
Most people know that protein is important for building muscle strength and density. But protein is also essential for other functions of a healthy body such as the production of healthy skin, hair, and nails, and the formation of hormones. However, the average Western diet tends to already contain more than enough protein so don’t overdo it. Excess protein requires additional fluid intake for healthy elimination. Teff has a high-quality amino acid profile, comparable to egg protein.
It’s high in iron
Iron plays an essential role in exercise metabolism, building haemoglobin and myoglobin which carry oxygen around the body. Iron deficiency can lead to tiredness and intolerance of exercise, and it is estimated that at least a quarter of female athletes are iron deficient! Just 100g of teff contains 37% of the recommended daily iron intake. Not only is teff high in iron, it also has relatively low phytic acid levels which enable better absorption of iron.
Now you know why teff has been a long-kept secret of endurance athletes, why not try it for yourself? Teff cookies are an ideal pre or post workout snack. Click here to try.
A.Goodson, 14 Best Gluten-Free Flours, Healthline 2018
Mandle, What Is Teff Flour, and Does It Have Benefits?, Healthline 2020
Ryan, Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes 3rd Ed., 2012