Gluten has been associated with a lot of health conditions nowadays. Sometimes, there are also people who are sensitive and intolerant to gluten-containing food products. However, it is good that gluten-free products are now readily available in the market, this makes it easier for people with celiac disease, gluten allergy, or just those who prefer a healthier lifestyle.
In order to achieve a completely gluten-free diet, one must be able to identify which foods contain gluten and which of them do not; such as food that can work as a good alternative like quinoa, buckwheat, barley, or the lesser known teff. Also, it is important to be aware of what gluten is and what it does for the body.
What is Gluten?
Most of the time, we hear the word gluten-free when they are mentioned and used by vegetarians; or those who only consume plant-based foods. So what is it about being gluten-free that makes them talk a lot about it?
Gluten is a known protein that is mostly contained by barley, rye, wheat, and their byproducts. As far as studies are concerned, gluten does not necessarily cause specific health problems; it only triggers issues for those people who are sensitive to it.
There are about three kinds of gluten-related problems that people can possibly face. It can either be an allergy, a non-gluten celiac sensitivity, or celiac disease.
Since wheat contains gluten, it is said that it is their protein content that results in the allergy. Children are the ones who are more prone to a wheat allergy, but there may also be times that some adults will experience it.
As for the symptoms, it is the same with other kinds of allergy. There is also a possibility of getting anaphylaxis when the allergy suddenly triggers the immune system more than before. This condition is what makes wheat allergy something to take seriously.
The celiac disease is a serious condition that involves inflammation in the body as a response to gluten intolerance. This disorder affects the digestive system – specifically the small intestine – by giving off symptoms like malabsorption of nutrients, diarrhea, damage to the intestines, and weight loss.
However, not everyone affected by celiac disease is experiencing symptoms. Unfortunately, though, there is also a small percentage of people who tend to encounter more severe symptoms such as anemia or any neurological disorder.
Teff: The Lesser Known Gluten-Free Grain
Most people are not fully aware of other gluten-free ingredients other than barley, buckwheat, and quinoa. However, there is this ancient grain that has been hailed to match the nutritional value and health benefits of other gluten-free food – the teff.
Somewhere along the years 4,000 B.C. and 1,000 B.C., a species of grain was discovered in both the African countries Ethiopia and Eritrea. As teff has been used and domesticated in ancient times, it already had a positive reputation ever since. There were even times when they specifically consumed the grains for health reasons.
This modern day, teff is widely known in the United States for its gluten-free properties. Other than that, it is packed with nutrients and can provide a lot more benefits than expected. No matter how small the teff grains are, the bigger their benefits for the promotion of a healthy body.
Nutritional Facts of Teff Grains
It is also amazing that the grains have almost 20 vitamins and minerals that are responsible for their health benefits. They are also great sources of dietary fiber and other important elements like manganese, calcium, and iron. The protein content of the grains is also said to be very helpful when it comes to providing the body with the recommended intake. A single cup of teff already has the following nutrients:
- Dietary Fiber
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B2
Thanks to its high nutrient profile, the teff is able to give a lot of health benefits the grains are consumed.
Health Benefits of Teff
Teff is an all-around food, which means it does not only focus on a single area of the body. Its nutrients are spread out and can benefit a lot of organs and body conditions.
The grains can help in providing the body with good circulation.
As an iron-rich food, teff grains contain enough amounts of iron that can serve as an assistant for a good body circulation. This is due to the iron’s ability to give the required oxygen that is needed for the production of hemoglobin; which is an essential protein of red blood cells.
Also, the iron content of teff is said to be effective against cases of anemia. Anemia is a health condition that is related to blood, specifically regarding the oxygenation activities in the blood getting interrupted because of the lack of healthy red blood cells.
They can stimulate body weight loss.
The copper content of teff is said to provide 28 percent of DV in just one cup, thus it can give the body additional energy and faster metabolism.
Premenstrual syndrome symptoms can be eased by adding teff grains to the diet.
Another great characteristic of the grains is that they can soothe inflammation and body pain. This is how the grains work in relieving PMS symptoms which are mostly associated with cramps, pain, and bloatedness.
The immune system is fueled up by the B vitamins in teff.
These grains contain different kinds of B vitamins that can help in boosting the body’s immune system. One of the best working B vitamin in teff grains is the thiamine. Thiamine is responsible for better nutrient absorption by keeping the digestion working properly.
Teff can make the bones healthier.
When talking about calcium and manganese, the bones are the most associated body parts. Since the grains can provide great amounts of both minerals, they are able to lower a person’s risk of bone loss by making the bones stronger and healthier.
Digestion works better due to the grains’ fiber content.
As we all know, dietary fibers are needed by the body in order for the digestive system to work well to avoid issues like constipation, bloatedness, and abdominal cramps among others. The fiber content of teff is also able to remove body wastes and can help in the body’s detoxification.