Teff: A tiny nutritional powerhouse

Deep in the heart of the Ethiopian rift valley, farming families have been growing a hearty ancient grain since 1000 BC. The grain, called 'teff' or 'lovegrass,' is vital to Ethiopian farmers because of its resilient and useful properties. Teff grows better than most crops, even in dry or water-logged soils, and farmers also use every part of the plant. The grain is traded in weekly village markets and used to make Ethiopia's staple flat bread — injera. Even the straw is valuable, providing a hearty feed for cattle and a plastering material to build traditional homes.

Known for its nourishing properties, Ethiopian women eat teff porridge immediately after giving birth to replenish their nutrients, and injera is typically used in gursha, a traditional custom in which friends and family feed each other as a sign of love and loyalty. Teff can be stored for years without spoiling, providing a source of food and nutrition when harvests vary from time to time. One tribe in Ethiopia is rumored to have stored a supply of teff underground for 13 years!

Ethiopian runners have long relied on teff as their “superfood” of choice to provide them with the energy they need to break marathon records and take their place as world-class athletes.


Even though teff is the tiniest grain in the world it packs a serious nutritional punch with protein, fiber, and calcium contents much higher than other grains. All that wholesome 

fiber will keep you full for longer. At the end of the day, your body will get more love from teff than it will from other gluten-free grains! This chart shows how corn and brown rice stack up to teff's leading nutritional components—protein, fiber, calcium, and iron. 

Nutritional Index of Teff, Maize (Corn), and Brown Rice

Journal of Food Science Technology 2007