Did you know . . .as staple in their diet, the Incas called quinoa the “mother of all grains” and the Aztecs referred to it as the “gold of their people”?
Or how about this little-known fact . . .Haile Gebrselassie the Ethiopian and two time Olympic Gold Medalist in the 10 000 meter admits that teff, the grain anciently know as “the grass of love”, is the secret food to running supremacy in Ethiopia.
Quinoa is very popular and really easy to find. If you’ve ever eaten at an Ethiopian restaurant, you’ve enjoyed Teff in the form of injera, a sourdough-risen flatbread. It’s delicious!
So what makes these grains so special?
Here are 4 reasons why I really like Teff and Quinoa and why you should, too!
1. Complete proteins AND gluten free
Most grains lack one or several of the essential amino acids. Both teff and quinoa contain all essential amino acids so go ahead and feed the muscles. They’re also gluten free which means those with celiacs and gluten intolerance can integrate a little more than just corn and soy based flours into their diets.
2. High in fiber and resistant starch
Fear not carb-scaredy-cats, carbs in teff and quinoa won’t make you fat! A large proportion of their carbs are what we call resistant starch, a type of dietary fiber that can actually help us manage our blood sugar (think diabetes), weight, and colon health. In my second episode of Nutrition at your Fingertips, Smoothie Master Nick Adendorff added Quinoa to a delicious POWER smoothie – which is great because resistant starch can help you absorb minerals of other foods.
3. High in minerals
Teff and quinoa are both good sources of Magnesium and Iron. A lack of magnesium in the diet has widely been labeled as the “invisible deficiency”. That’s because a lack of it has been linked to heart disease, poor blood sugar regulation and kidney stones. So, it’s crucially important to get more foods in your diet with magnesium.
4. High in antioxidants and contain small amounts of omega 3’s
Both antioxidants and omega 3’s boost your immune system and are powerful anti-inflammatories warding off many of today’s common preventative diseases.
Teff and quinoa are delicious, nutritious and available pretty much everywhere. For all of you foodies, venture away from what you’re used to and give these grains a try. If you aren’t used to cooking with these two grains, I suggest you experiment with this recipe for quinoa and this one – my personal favourite cookie recipe – for Teff.