It may be the smallest grain in the world but teff has big benefits for your workout
Teff is quietly following in the footsteps of more well-known ancient grains, such as quinoa, farro and spelt. Nutrient dense and GM-free, the superfood has become the go-to grain for Olympic athletes like long distance runner Haile Gebrselassie.
An Ethiopian whole grain, teff is high in iron, which in turn helps transfer oxygen to muscles to generate energy for muscular contractions. A 2014 British study found that athletes who consumed bread made with teff had improved their iron levels by 172% in just six weeks.
High in protein (roughly 13g per serving) teff is ideal for those looking to gain muscle. Full of calcium and amino acids, teff can fuel a workout for added endurance when doing a spin class or T3 fight. Teff is also a nutty-tasting alternative to wheat and a welcome option for the gluten-free.
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Despite sales of teff rising by 58% in the US in the last couple of years, the grain remains relatively under the radar in the UK. You’ll be hard-pressed to find it in your local cornershop, but teff flour can be found in stores such as Sainsbury's and Planet Organic. Plus, there’s always Amazon.
So, once you have teff in your kitchen, what do you do with it? Teff can fuel your workouts in its natural form – you cook it like couscous – or it can be used to make pasta and bread. So, whether you’re a personal trainer with a gluten-intolerant client seeking advice, interested in becoming a body fx coach or simply looking for lunchtime inspiration, there’s plenty of ways to add teff to your plate.
What better time to start incorporating teff into your diet than first thing in the morning? Try this breakfast smoothie recipe from Australian teff stockists Teff Tribe:
Banana, Nut & Teff Smoothie
- 2 frozen bananas
- 600ml almond milk
- 2 tbsp cooked teff, plus approx. 85g of cooked teff
- 1 tbsp nut butter (eg. cashew, peanut, almond)
- ½ tsp cinnamon powder
- Handful of crushed nuts
- Place teff and water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer covered with lid for 5-7 minutes or until cooked. Set aside to cool.
- Place bananas, nut butter, milk, teff and cinnamon in a blender, and blend till smooth.
- Place some of the cooled teff in a glass.
- Pour the smoothie mixture over the teff, and top with crushed nuts.
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