Finger Millet, also known as Ragi, is cultivated in drier parts of the world - mainly in Asia and Africa. Ragi has a distinct taste and is widely used in Southern Indian and Ethiopian dishes. Ragi is a rich source of Calcium, Iron, Protein, Fiber and other minerals. The cereal has low fat content and contains mainly unsaturated fat. It is easy to digest and does not contain gluten; people who are sensitive to gluten can easily consume Fnger Millet. Ragi is considered one of the most nutritious cereals. It has different names in local languages. It is known as Ragi in Telugu and Kannada, Kelvaragu/aariyam in Tamil, and Madua/Mangal in Hindi.
Finger Millet (or Ragi) Nutrition Facts
Finger Millet/ Ragi for losing weight: Ragi contains an amino acid called Tryptophan which lowers appetite and helps in keeping weight in control. Ragi gets digested at a slower rate thus keeps one away from intaking excessive calories. Also, fibers present in ragi give a feeling of fulness thus controls excessive food consumption.
Finger Millet/ Ragi for bone health: Ragi is rich in Calcium which helps in strengthening bones. It is an excellent source of natural calcium for growing children and aging people. Ragi consumption helps in development of bones in growing children and in maintenance of bone health in adults. Ragi keeps diseases such as osteoporosis at bay and could reduce risk of fracture.
Finger Millet/ Ragi for diabetes: Finger Millet's phytochemicals help in slowing digestion process. This helps in controlling blood sugar level in condition of diabetes. In a study conducted in 2000, it was found that Finger Millet based diet helps diabetics as it contains higher fiber than rice and wheat. Also, the study found that diet based on whole finger millet has lower glycemic response i.e. lower ability to increase blood sugar level. This is due to presence of factors in ragi flour which lower digestibility and absorption of starch.
Finger Millet/ Ragi for lowering blood Cholesterol: Finger Millet contains amino acids Lecithin and Methionine which help in bringing down cholesterol level by eliminating excess fat from Liver. Finger Millet also contains Threonine amino acid which hinders fat formation in the liver, which brings cholesterol level of the body down.
Finger Millet/ Ragi for Anaemia: Ragi is a very good source of natural Iron. Ragi consumption helps in condition of Anaemia.
Finger Millet/ Ragi for Relaxation: Ragi consumption helps in relaxing body naturally. It is beneficial in conditions of anxiety, depression and insomnia. Ragi is also useful for migraines.
Finger Millet/ Ragi for Protein/ Amino Acids: Ragi is rich in Amino Acids which are vital in normal functioning of body and are essential for repairing body tissues. Finger Millet contains Tryptophan, Threonine, Valine, Isoleucine and Methionoine amino acids. Isoleucine helps in muscle repair, blood formation, contributes to bone formation and improves skin health. Valine is essential amino acid which facilitates metabolism, helps in muscle coordination and repair of body tissues. It helps in balancing nitrogen in the body. Another essential amino acid, not found in most cereals, is Methionine which is useful in various body processes, helps in eliminating fat from the body, and is main provider of sulfur in body. Sulfur is essential for production of Glutathione - body's natural antioxidant.
Finger Millet/Ragi for other health conditions: If consumed regularly, Ragi could help in keeping malnutrition, degenerative diseases and premature aging at bay. Green Ragi is recommended for conditions of blood pressure, liver disorders, asthma and heart weakness. Green Ragi is also recommended to lactating mothers in condition of lack of milk production.
Ragi is an extremely nutritious cereal and is very beneficial for maintaining a good health. However, its high intake could increase quantity oxalic acid in the body. Therefore, it is not advised to patients having kidney stones (Urinary Calculi). Ragi could be enjoyed in different forms and preparations. Ragi Roti, Ragi Dosa,Ragi Porridge, Ragi Upma, Ragi Cakes, Ragi Biscuits are few popular dishes of Ragi.