Trending now: Teff, Hemp hearts and Maca

Fashion. A fast moving industry with new trends each season and surprisingly, the food scene is exactly that. So, here’s what is currently “à la mode” when it comes to hip ingredients that everyone seems to be experimenting with. First up, have you heard of teff? 

A native to Ethiopia, teff is now becoming another household grain taking the foodie world by storm. If you’ve had the traditional Ethiopian flat-bread “injera”, then you’ve been acquainted. Teff is a tiny grain, which is about the size of a poppy seed and is naturally gluten-free. What makes this grain so special is the significant nutritional value it adds to the diet. Teff is extremely high in protein and calcium in comparison to quinoa, barley and amaranth and is also a great source of fibre, iron, selenium and thiamine (vitamin B1).

teff grain and flour i- a wooden spoon against grained wood background

If you’re looking for a new grain that packs an ultimate nutrient punch to incorporate into your diet, then jump on the teff bandwagon!  With it’s mild nutty flavour, teff is a versatile grain where you can cook it into a porridge sweetened with fruits, combine it with veggie stews or simply, use it in flour-form when baking. Something to try? Here’s Soaked Teff Breakfast Porridge by My Homemade Heaven. 

Moving on to hemp hearts and no, not THAT type. Yes, hemp belongs to the cannabis family, however, nothing like marijuana. Hemp hearts do not contain the psychotropic ingredient THC and are safe for consumption any time of day! In terms of their nutritional profile, hemp hearts are a great source of plant-based protein making them a good “new” addition to a vegan or vegetarian diet. They are also a good source of iron, zinc and omega 6 fatty acids. Three tablespoons of hemp hearts provides you with 10g of protein and about 170kcal. 

Hemp seeds with a spoon on wood close up

A great way to enjoy hemp hearts is to add them to your morning granola, in vegan burger patties, sprinkled onto yoghurt or even added to your smoothie bowls. For more ways to use hemp hearts, here’s Oh My Veggie’s suggestions with recipes!

And finally, we’ve got maca! The maca root is an ancient food that has been cultivated for thousands of years in the Peruvian Andes by the Incas and has gained popularity due to it’s invigorating characteristics. Now the evidence out there isn’t so strong to support it’s role in improving stamina and libido but some studies have shown that each type of maca root (e.g. black, red or yellow) exerts different biological effects. In terms of it-s nutritional profile, maca is a great source of iron, iodine, potassium and calcium and also contains vitamin C, E and B1 and a number of phytonutrients. 

Bowl of maca powder on wooden background

Maca is now sold as a so called “superfood” in the form of a powder and can be purchased online or from well-reputed health food stores. The easiest way to incorporate maca into your diet is by adding it to smoothies or when baking your own snack bars. Fancy some  Energizing Maca, Almond Butter and Cacao Overnight Oats by Blissful Basil?  

Remember, no sole food can act alone and you will always need to look at your diet as a whole! 


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