4 Teff

How it’s made: One of the world’s smallest grains, malty-nutty-tasting teff contains higher levels of iron than other commonly consumed grains. Iron helps transfer oxygen to working muscles via red blood cells to generate energy for muscular contractions. A British study found that athletes who consumed bread made with teff (versus bread without) had improved iron status at the study’s conclusion.8 In just six weeks, subjects improved their iron levels 172 percent by substituting a teff-based bread for their usual daily bread intake (2-6 slices per day).


Nutrition perk: Teff is a worthy source of fat-fighting dietary fiber and a range of must-have nutrients like B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus.

Need to know: As with quinoa and rice, teff is naturally gluten-free, making it a good whole-grain option for those avoiding gluten.

How to use it: Teff releases its starch during cooking to create a thick mixture. This can be exploited to make puddings, riffs on polenta, or breakfast porridge similar in consistency of Cream of Wheat. Teff flour can also be used in all sorts of applications like pancakes, waffles, muffins, and cookies.