Is Teff Good for an Expectant Mother?

First of all, where does teff come from? Teff flour has been a staple in Ethiopian cooking for centuries; it’s highly nutritious and teff is even gluten-free. And with plenty of teff recipes to choose from, how to cook teff is up to your imagination. But is teff good to eat during pregnancy? With all the calcium packed into such a small grain, you’d be surprised how healthy teff is for moms and growing babies.

This ancient grain contains a considerable amount of calcium; there is about the same amount in a cup of teff as there is in a glass of milk. Considering it’s recommended that moms-to-be get about 1 000 milligrams of calcium every day, teff is a tasty way to help get there. 

Calcium helps to strengthen your baby's rapidly-developing bones and gives a boost to heart, muscle, and nerve development too.

Why is calcium important to a mother’s diet?

The human body cannot make calcium on its own. Therefore, it needs to come from food or other supplements. However, this is especially true during the third trimester when bone development peaks, meaning some 300 milligrams of calcium is transferred from mom to baby every day. However, most prenatal vitamins don’t meet that need. Additionally, if mom doesn't take in enough calcium, her body will steal what her baby needs from mom’s own bones and teeth. Hence, this can make her more susceptible to osteoporosis, a condition that makes bones more brittle.

Every 100 grams of teff flour contains about 168 milligrams of calcium, which is more than can be found in calcium-rich spinach, and over twice that of edamame! Additionally, this gluten-free alternative to wheat is also rich in other nutrients like iron, fiber, protein, and carbohydrates, which are all highly recommended for the development of a healthy baby.

Bring teff to the table after baby arrives

Teff is not only good for wee ones during development, but it’s also great after they’ve been born! Newborn babies get their calcium from breast milk or formula, meaning mom will have to maintain a steady intake of calcium.

In fact, a 2013 Ethiopian Journal of Health study found there was more calcium present in the breast milk of women living in areas where teff is a staple compared to other areas where it isn’t. Babies younger than six months require about 200 milligrams of calcium a day, while babies 6 to 11 months need 260 milligrams. Furthermore, kids aged 1 to 3 need 700 milligrams a day, and that jumps to 1,000 milligrams per day by age 4.

Flour made from teff can be used in place of wheat flour in a number of dishes like pancakes, cookies, cakes, muffins, and even bread. Alternatively, whole-grain teff is perfect to sprinkle on top of oatmeal, muffins, steamed vegetables, or anywhere else you'd like to add a healthy crunch

Your kids will ask: what does teff taste like? The taste has been described as earthy and nutty, almost like hazelnut with a hint of dark chocolate.

Give the gift of teff! 

Stuck on what to get for the mother-to-be in your life? Why not teff? Berhan Grains has a wide selection of products that would be great gift-giving ideas. Perfect to bring to your next baby shower or put under the tree this holiday season.