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Nutritional Value of Teff Grain

By Emma Watkins

Teff grain is the seed of an Ethiopian grass. The raw, unprocessed grain goes into baked goods to add texture, flavor and nutrition in the same manner you might add nuts to your brownies. Mills also grind teff into flour to thicken soups and gravies or to be cooked as porridge. One cup of raw teff contains high concentrations of a few vitamins and several essential minerals. The grain is also rich in amino acids.


One cup of uncooked teff provides five of the B-complex vitamins. It has 47 percent of the recommended daily intake -- RDI -- for B-6, 50 percent for thiamine, 31 percent for riboflavin, 32 percent for niacin and 18 percent for pantothenic acid. As a group, B vitamins facilitate metabolism, helping your body break foods down into energy. In addition, the serving has 1 percent of the RDI for vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects your cells from disease-causing molecules called free radicals. Vitamin A, another antioxidant, also is present in 1 cup of teff, but the amount is trivial. The grain offers 5 percent of the recommended daily intake for vitamin K, the nutrient that makes it possible for your blood to coagulate when you cut yourself. The percentages are based on a 2,000-calorie diet.


Minerals play different roles to keep your body healthy. Manganese, the mineral with the largest RDI for 1 cup of raw teff -- 892 percent -- supports the production of bones, tissues and sex hormones. The grain also has 35 percent of the recommended daily intake for calcium, 82 percent for iron, 89 percent for magnesium, 83 percent for phosphorous, 18 percent for potassium, 1 percent for sodium, 47 percent for zinc, 78 percent for copper and 12 percent for selenium.

Amino Acids

Your body builds chains of amino acids to create new proteins, substances that enter the composition of every body part. The amino acid content in 1 cup of raw teff is sufficient to produce 51 percent of the recommended daily intake for protein.

Fiber and Fat

Dietary fiber is a type of carbohydrate your body cannot break down into energy. The roughage passes through your digestive system undigested. Fiber is necessary to create bulk in the intestine to push the stool out. The plant material also helps maintain the cholesterol and sugar in your bloodstream at normal levels. The fiber in 1 cup of uncooked teff represents 62 percent of the recommended daily intake for the nutrient. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids, which contribute to a healthy heart, are among the fats present in teff. Altogether, the raw grain has 7 percent of the RDI for fat.

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