Are you curious about the nutritional benefits of teff flour?
This tiny seed is packed with protein, fiber, and essential minerals like iron and calcium. However, like many other grains and seeds, teff also contains phytic acid, which can interfere with nutrient absorption.
In this article, we’ll explore the role of phytic acid in teff flour and how you can reduce its effects through fermentation and soaking.
Whether you’re a health-conscious foodie or an athlete looking to boost your performance, read on to discover the truth about teff flour and phytic acid.
Does Teff Flour Have Phytic Acid?
Yes, teff flour does contain phytic acid. Phytic acid is a natural compound found in many plant-based foods, including grains, nuts, and seeds. While phytic acid has some health benefits, it can also bind to essential minerals like iron and calcium, making them less available for absorption in the body.
The good news is that the phytic acid content in teff flour is relatively low compared to other grains like wheat. Teff contains only about 20% of the phytate content found in wheat.
What Is Teff Flour And Why Is It Popular?
Teff flour is a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour that has gained popularity in recent years. It is made from the seeds of the teff plant, which is native to Ethiopia but is now grown in other countries as well. Teff flour has a favorable nutrient profile, containing high amounts of dietary fiber, protein, and minerals like calcium and iron. It is also naturally gluten-free, making it a popular choice for those with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and wheat allergy.
Teff flour is not as widely available as other gluten-free flours and may be more expensive. However, it is a great addition to breads and other baked goods, and it can be used in recipes as a substitute for about 25% of the white flour called for to increase nutrition and add a distinctive flavor. Teff flour has a pleasingly light and nutty flavor that makes it a unique ingredient in cooking.
While teff flour has many health benefits, it also contains phytic acid, a plant chemical that can bind to nutrients and prevent their absorption in the body. However, the phytic acid content in teff flour is relatively low compared to other grains like wheat. Additionally, fermenting teff can help lower some of the phytic acid content.
What Is Phytic Acid And How Does It Affect Nutrient Absorption?
Phytic acid is a natural compound found in many plant-based foods, including teff flour. It is often referred to as an anti-nutrient because it can bind to essential minerals like iron, zinc, and calcium, making them less available for absorption in the body. When phytic acid binds to these minerals, it creates phytates which our bodies are unable to break down and absorb.
However, it’s not all bad news. Phytic acid also has some health benefits including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Additionally, the mineral-blocking effect of phytic acid only occurs during a single meal and does not happen cumulatively over the course of a day. This means that phytic acid-containing foods may impact the absorption of minerals eaten in the same meal, but will not continue to impact minerals in subsequent snacks and meals throughout the day.
There are ways to reduce the amount of phytic acid in teff flour or any other grain-based food. Soaking, sprouting, and cooking can all help to destroy phytates and increase mineral availability. Many traditionally-living cultures with grain-heavy diets used these techniques to reduce phytic acid levels and increase mineral availability.
How To Reduce Phytic Acid In Teff Flour Through Fermentation And Soaking
One way to reduce the phytic acid content in teff flour is through fermentation and soaking. This process involves breaking down the phytic acid and making the minerals more available for absorption in the body.
To start, mix the desired amount of teff flour with enough water to make a thick batter. For every cup of water, add one tablespoon of an acidic medium such as kefir, yogurt, or lemon juice. Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for at least 12 hours or overnight.
After soaking, you can use the teff flour in your desired recipe. The texture of the final product may be slightly different due to the soaking process, but it will still be delicious and nutritious.
Another option is to ferment the teff flour by adding a sourdough starter. This process can take longer but can further reduce the phytic acid content and improve the flavor of the final product.
To ferment teff flour, mix it with water and a sourdough starter to make a thick batter. Cover and let it sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours, stirring occasionally. Once fermented, you can use the teff flour in your desired recipe.
Other Nutritional Benefits Of Teff Flour
Aside from its low phytic acid content, teff flour is a highly nutritious food. It is an excellent source of protein, containing all the essential amino acids that are necessary for building and repairing tissues in the body. In fact, teff flour has more protein per serving than all-purpose flour.
Teff flour is also high in dietary fiber, which is important for maintaining digestive health and preventing chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. It contains both soluble and insoluble fibers, which play different roles in the body.
Additionally, teff flour is rich in several essential minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, copper, selenium, and manganese. These minerals are important for various bodily functions such as bone health, muscle function, and immune system support.
Furthermore, teff flour is naturally gluten-free, making it a suitable alternative for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. It can be used in a variety of recipes such as pancakes, bread, and muffins.
Conclusion: Is Teff Flour A Healthy Choice?
Based on the information presented, teff flour can be considered a healthy choice for those who are gluten-sensitive or follow a gluten-free diet. It is high in dietary fiber, protein, and essential nutrients like calcium and iron. Teff flour is also low in fat and has a low glycemic index, making it a good option for those watching their weight or blood sugar levels. Additionally, the phytic acid content in teff flour is relatively low compared to other grains, making it a better choice for mineral absorption. However, as with any food, moderation is key, and it should be consumed as part of a balanced diet. Overall, teff flour can be a nutritious and flavorful addition to various baked goods and recipes.