Spongy, flat and dotted with tiny holes, injera is a traditional African flatbread served in both Ethiopia and Eritrea. Injera is served alongside various meat and vegetable stews and is used to scoop up pieces of food with your hands, as well as soak up the sauces part of every Ethiopian and Eritrean meal. Made with teff flour, a short fermentation period gives the bread its distinctive sour taste.
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A single serving of injera bread has 379 calories. Because it is cooked in a pan with oil, there are 1.2 grams of fat per serving, although it has minimal saturated fat, with only 0.2 grams per serving. When cooking injera, use a mild-tasting cooking oil like vegetable or grapeseed oil. A single serving of injera has almost no sugar and almost 12 grams of protein.
Dietary Fiber and Sodium
A single serving of injera has 868 milligrams of sodium, and 4.2 grams of dietary fiber. According to Colorado State University, most Americans routinely get too much sodium and not enough dietary fiber in their daily diets. The upper limit of sodium per day is 2,300 milligrams but only 1,500 milligrams for people who are over 51 years old, who have heart disease or are African-American. In turn, between 21 and 38 grams of dietary fiber is the dietary reference intake per day for adult men and women.
Minerals in Teff
Teff — the tiny, poppy seed-sized grain used to make injera — is rich in a variety of nutrients, providing those from harsh growing conditions — flooding and droughts, high altitudes — a source of many essential vitamins and minerals. A one-quarter-cup serving of teff has 3.68 milligrams of iron, 87 milligrams of calcium, 206 milligrams of potassium, 207 milligrams of phosphorous, 89 milligrams of magnesium and 1.75 milligrams of zinc per serving. All these essential minerals help your body with various functions, including transporting oxygen throughout your body, in the case of iron; maintaining your heart’s electrical activity; in the case of potassium; and making it possible for you to taste and smell, in the case of zinc.
Vitamins in Teff
Teff is rich in a number of essential vitamins, including many from the vitamin B group and vitamins A and K. A one-quarter-cup serving of teff has almost 0.2 milligrams of thiamin, 0.13 milligrams of riboflavin, 1.6 milligrams of niacin and 0.2 milligrams of vitamin B-6. It also has 4 international units of vitamin A and 0.9 micrograms of vitamin K. Members of the vitamin B complex provide support for your immune system, and help you process carbohydrates into glucose. Vitamin A is essential for eye health, as well as being a natural antioxidant, protecting your body from damage from free radicals, created when your body digests food or encounters environmental toxins, such as exhaust fumes. Toxins and free radicals can cause cell damage and death, increasing your risk of heart disease and cancer. Vitamin K is known as the clotting vitamin, essential for blood coagulation.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- LIVESTRONG.com -- The Daily Plate: Injera (Ethiopian Flat Bread)
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Teff, Uncooked
- Exploratorium: Ethiopian Injera
- Colorado State University: Sodium in Diet
- Colorado State University: Dietary Fiber
- Whole Grains Council: Teff and Millet -- November Grains of the Month
- MedlinePlus: Iron in Diet
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Potassium in Diet
- MedlinePlus: Zinc in Diet
- MedlinePlus: B Vitamins
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin A (Retinol)
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin K
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin A