The Gluten-Free Grain Every Active Adult Should Eat

In All Health Watch, Diet and Nutrition, Featured Article

It’s the best-kept secret in the world of gluten-free eating…

Teff is the nutrient-packed whole grain that elite athletes rely on when they need to perform at their best.

It’s a staple food in Ethiopia, a country famed for its long-distance runners. The athletes there credit teff with their success at the Olympics and other international competitions.

The seeds have been cultivated in Ethiopia since 4000 B.C. It’s the world’s smallest grain. But it packs a lot of nutrition.[1]

Teff has the most calcium of any grain at 123 mg per cooked cup. This makes it great for bone health instead of relying on dangerous calcium supplements.

Even better, teff is a good source of magnesium, a mineral that helps transport calcium to the parts of your body that need it most.

It isn’t just about building better bones. Teff has a unique amino acid profile that supports muscles. It is high in lysine, an amino acid your muscles need for growth and repair.

And unlike most grains, teff contains vitamin C. This nutrient is essential for healthy muscles and cartilage.

This brings us to its carbohydrate content. Like all grains, it is high in carbs. One cooked cup will deliver about 50 grams. But in this case, that isn’t a bad thing. Between 20-40% of its carb content comes from something called “resistant starches.” They “resist” digestion, which means they are metabolized more slowly than other carbs.

Resistant starches are linked to improved blood sugar and weight loss. They make teff a perfect source of slow-release energy.[2]

Ethiopia runner Haile Gebrselassie has won two Olympic gold medals and set multiple world records. And he says teff is the secret to the unparalleled success of Ethiopian runners.[3] [4]

He’s definitely on to something… Research confirms the health benefits.

A study at England’s Manchester Metropolitan University found eating the grain improves iron levels in deficient female runners after six weeks.[5]

Athletes aren’t the only ones who can benefit. Researchers in the Netherlands found that eating teff reduces symptoms in 61% of celiac patients.[6]

The biggest problem is availability. Most supermarkets don’t carry it. But you can find teff in health food stores and online. Its mild sweetness makes it versatile enough to add to many types of dishes. It can be made into bread or cooked like rice to make a side dish.

Better yet, use teff in chocolate chip cookies…

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Here’s a recipe for a healthier—but extremely tasty—chocolate chip cookie that will satisfy even the pickiest sweet tooth:[7]


  • 1 cup almond butter, unsalted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces unsweetened organic applesauce
  • ½ cup organic maple syrup
  • 1-½ cups teff flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • Dark chocolate (70% cacao) chips or chunks


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and oil two cookie sheets. In a food processor, place almond butter, vanilla, apple sauce, and maple syrup.

Mix to blend the ingredients. Add teff flour and salt to the food processor. Pulse until combined.

Scoop the batter to make balls that are about 1-¼ inches in diameter. Arrange them into rows. Leave about an inch of space around each one.

Using the back of a fork, flatten each ball. Arrange dark chocolate chips or chunks evenly atop each cookie. Bake for 13 minutes on the center rack. The bottoms should be golden, but the tops will still be slightly soft.

Let cool on a rack and enjoy!

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