Ragi or Nachni or finger millet, is an annual herbaceous plant widely grown as a cereal crop in the arid and semiarid areas in Africa and Asia. Interesting crop characteristics of finger millet are the ability to withstand cultivation at altitudes over 2000 meters above sea level, its favorable micronutrient contents (high iron, calcium and methionine content in particular), its high drought tolerance and the very long storage time of the grains.
Nutritional Information (as per USDA National Nutrient Database)
It is packed with calcium, fiber, iron, protein, and other minerals. This cereal manifests low fat and is rich in unsaturated fat. It is easily digestible and free from gluten. It has been accepted as one of the most nutritious cereals.
Great for Bone Health : Ragi is good source of calcium and helps consolidating bones. It is defined as excellent source of nutrition for growing children and aging person. Consumption of ragi can help developing bones in growing children and maintaining the bone strength of adults. It is also instrumental in keeping ailments like osteoporosis away and can also cut down the risk of fracture. Ragi is good for providing strength and cooling effect to your body in summer days.
Great for Losing Weight : Ragi is packed with amino acid – tryptophan which reduces the appetite and thus keeps weight under control. It gets digested slowly hence there is no need to consume more calories frequently as you do not require frequent intake of food. Due to its fiber content it provides a feeling of fullness and keeps the appetite rate low.
Ragi Great for Diabetic : The phytochemicals found in ragi is the major reason behind slowing down of digestion process. It also helps control blood sugar level specifically in diabetes condition. As per a study conducted in 2000, it was discovered that ragi based food is good for diabetics as it is rich in fiber content compared to wheat or rice. It was also found that meal of whole millet can reduce glycemic response which means it can lower the potential to catapult blood sugar level.
Lowers Blood Cholesterol : This food is also equipped with Methionine and amino acids Lecithin and help in reducing cholesterol level by warding off excess fat found in liver. It is also rich in Threonine amino acid which is known for eliminating fat accumulation in the liver and subsequently brings down cholesterol level.
Protects from Anaemia : Ragi is a packed with natural Iron. It helps in providing a constant and regular iron supplement to your body and thus combats any kind of anemic condition.
Good Source of Relaxation : Ingestion of this cereal promotes the relaxing components and it offers a soothing effect to your body naturally. It is great remedy if you are suffering from depression, anxiety or insomnia. It is also instrumental in treating and relaxing the migraine condition.
Good Source of Protein and Amino Acids : It is high in amino acids content which is liable for general functioning of bodily system and is also necessary for rejuvenating and repairing tissues of our body. Ragi is coupled with Tryptophan, Isoleucine, Threonine, Valine, and Methionoine amino acids. Isoleucine is helpful in repairing muscles, formation of blood, formation and strengthening of bones and retains the healthy skin. Same way valine is necessary amino acid that stimulates metabolism, assists in muscle coordination and body tissue repair work. It is also good for maintaining good level of nitrogen in your body. Yet another essential amino acid, which is rarely found in other cereals, is methionine. It triggers several body processes and assists in warding off fat from the body. It is the major source of sulfur in body, which is necessary for creation of Glutathione – natural antioxidant found in the body.
Some other Health Benefits
If it is eaten on regular basis, it can help fulfill all requirements of nutrients keeping malnutrition, premature aging and degenerative disorders at bay. Green ragi is often suggested for liver disorders, blood pressure, asthma and heart ailments. It is also for lactating mothers if they are suffering from lack of proper mild production.
Important Concern Ragi
High consumption of ragi may enhance the level of oxalic acid in your body. It is often suggested not to consume it is you are suffering from kidney stone problems.
Ragi flour in India, is used to prepare Ragi Mudde (a Karnataka speciality) which is prepared by boiling ragi flour in water and then rolling it intosmall balls. It relished along with ghee and sabhar. It is also used to prepare Indian breads like bhakri, pancakes, rotis, upma and dosas. It is a highly nutritious food for kids, pregnant ladies, lactating mothers and old people given it calcium, iron and protein content.