Health Nutrition & Recipes

Teff VS. Quinoa: What Is The Gluten-Free Superfood Teff?

There is a new gluten-free grain trending that just may replace quinoa on everyone’s plates. The superfood is called teff, and while it is an ancient grain, it has recently picked up steam as of late when it comes to popularity in the world of health and nutrition.

Teff and quinoa have quite a few similarities. They are both ancient grains that are gluten-free and both contain many health and nutritional benefits.

Teff  vs. Quinoa

Quinoa has been the superfood of the past few years, rising to fame for being a more healthy alternative to rice or pasta. It’s also gluten-free, making it a great side dish. It is packed with protein, perfect for adding to salads or recipes like stuffed peppers. It contains all nine essential amino acids, making it highly nutritional. In fact, one cup alone has 8g of protein, 5g of fiber, 15% DV iron, 30% DV magnesium, 19% DV folate and heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids.

Just like quinoa, teff is a grain that is similar to millet, and also like quinoa comes in many different colors like brown and red varieties.

However, it’s smaller than quinoa, more accurately being about the size of a poppy seed. But don’t let it’s small size fool you. It too is full of nutritional value including being high in fiber and  iron, and being a major source of protein.

One cup cooked has 10g of protein, 7g of fiber, 50g of carbohydrate,123mg of calcium, 31 % DV thiamine and 12 & DV of vitamin B6.

It even has the protein found in blood plasma called albumins, making it the perfect egg alternative for vegans.

Photo: SarahTz | Flickr

Quinoa has more omega-2 and magnesium, along with less sugar than teff. However, teff is the better choice when it comes to its vitamin K, iron, calcium, fiber and zinc. It has eight essential amino acids.

Teff is also gluten-free and can be ground into flour to make bread. It’s a staple of Ethiopia where 90 percent of the teff in world is grown, and is now also grown in the U.S (in Idaho!).

Why Is It The “New” Superfood?

According to the New York Times, teff has actually rose to superfood status 15 years ago. It’s extremely popular in places like Bolivia and Peru, causing the price of the grain in skyrocket.

This caused Ethiopia to put an export ban on teff in 2006 to prevent food shortages and keep local prices down. The ban was lifted last year. As a result teff is now available, making it the new cool food to check out.

Also part of the reason why its rising to fame in the U.S. now is because it was the perfect recipe of being similar to quinoa during a time when many might start being sick of it, while still being gluten-free and healthy to consume—perfect for the health conscious, health fad enthusiast, those with gluten allergies or celiac disease and vegetarians.

Do you prefer quinoa or teff? What is your favorite teff recipe? Let us know in the comments.

Photo: Jules | Flickr


Lauren Keating is a freelance journalist, who specializes in health, nutrition, and fitness reporting. She is a former trends reporter for Tech Times and was previously a contributing writer for Fit Nation Magazine and covered a nutrition beat (as well as covering other miscellaneous topics) for Brooklyn News Service. She currently freelances for RunnerClick and Rockay running sites. She has a love for running and is always looking for new fitness and health trends.

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