Ragi is becoming a popular choice, replacing many bowls of cereal, due to Ragi’s health benefits. It is a nutrient-dense coarse cereal that helps to control sugar levels, reduce weight, and promotes bone, heart, skin, and hair health. In addition, it also provides several health benefits to the liver, digestive system, and depression conditions.
What is Ragi?
Ragi or finger millet, botanically known as Eleusine coracana, is grown in Africa and India. It is a major crop in South India, with Karnataka accounting for more than half of the total yield. Ragi Sangati or Ragi mudde is one of the staples and popular foods of Karnataka. Finger Millet comes from the Gramineae family and its seeds are purple, red, or brown in color. This crop can withstand extreme weather conditions and can be cultivated in different geographical areas. It is rich in fiber, carbs, fat, proteins, calcium, and other nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Although it is not a staple grain due to other prime gains like wheat, barley, rice or oats, etc. However lately it is being used in a healthy diet because of Ragi’s nutritional value.
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Nutritional Value of Ragi
Ragi is a rich source of fiber, carbs, protein, fat, and other micronutrients. It is also high in antioxidants that help in reducing the risks of various chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes, heart problem, digestive conditions (IBS), and bone diseases. It is a superfood, the best breakfast option, and also its Vitamin content promotes immunity and skin/hair health.
This table represents several nutrients and their amounts present in 100 g of Ragi:
|Nutritional Value of Ragi|
|Nutrients (in 100 grams of Ragi)||Its amount|
Apart from these major nutrients, it is also high in antioxidants like thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, Vitamin C, folic acid, etc. It is also a good source of amino acids like isoleucine, tryptophan, valine, methionine, and threonine. Overall Ragi is abundant in a variety of nutrients that are essential for good health.
Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load of Ragi
Many people get confused because raw Ragi has a 71 glycemic index which is on the high side but when cooked, it falls into the low to medium glycemic index category with 55 GI. It is also a good cereal alternative for diabetics as it is high in fiber, minerals, and amino acids. Fiber-rich food slows digestion and it releases glucose slowly into the bloodstream hence keeping blood sugar levels in check.
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Health Benefits of Ragi
Ragi, as previously stated, is a superfood among grains. It is the only grain that is gluten-free and can help with a variety of digestive and allergic conditions. Furthermore, because this is a very small grain that cannot be refined or processed, its nutrients remain in their natural state. Refining any grain increases its sugar content and Ragi, unrefined and unprocessed grain, has low sugar content. The health benefits of Ragi are:
Good for Diabetes
Looking at its nutritional profile, one might wonder how this high-carb millet can be beneficial to diabetics. Ragi is the wonder grain for diabetics because of its nutritional value. It is rich in dietary fibers, polyphenols, phytates, tannins, amino acids, and other minerals that keep sugar levels in control. A high-fiber diet slows the absorption of glucose in the body. This is a good breakfast option for a diabetic-friendly diet. It also reduces cholesterol levels in the body. It also reduces the oxidative stress and inflammation that is diabetes complications or triggers it.
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Good for Heart Health
Ragi millet is a sodium and cholesterol-free grain which makes it one of the best foods for people with heart conditions. It is also rich in antioxidants like niacin, thiamine, etc. that help in reducing plaque from arteries and provide smooth blood flow. Also, it prevents the accumulation of bad cholesterol (LDL) and promotes good cholesterol (HDL). Therefore, these properties of ragi keep the heart healthy and reduce the risks of heart conditions. It also lowers high blood pressure or hypertension which is the key cause of various heart problems.
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Helps in Weight Loss
Do you wonder how Ragi is so helpful in weight loss? Ragi is a fibrous grain that keeps you full for a longer time. It curbs your appetite thus keeping you away from unnecessary munching. It is also high in many nutrients that support a maintained weight. Ragi also contains tryptophans that are linked to weight loss.
Promotes Digestive Health
A fiber-rich diet is all you need for regular bowel movements. Ragi facilitates bowel movement and fecal passage. It alleviates IBS symptoms and effects (irritable bowel syndrome). Ragi also helps the intestines to digest food easily. It also prevents the development of colon cancer.
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Good for Bone Health
Did you know that no other cereals or grains contain as much calcium as Ragi? 100 grams of Ragi contains 26% of calcium which is important for bone health. It lowers the chances of developing osteoporosis and bone density loss. This calcium aids to strengthen bone density. Although consumption depends on age factor. In middle-aged or older people this excess calcium can cause kidney and gastrointestinal conditions. Therefore young individuals can eat Ragi daily but elder ones should keep an eye on the quantity.
Good in Pregnancy and Lactation
Lactating mothers should consume ragi every day. The best way is to eat sprouted Ragi. It is rich in iron and calcium which increases milk production and helps in lactation. It also increases hemoglobin and eventually supports breast milk production. Thus it is good for both the child and mother’s health.
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Good for the Nervous System
Amino acid tryptophan in Ragi helps to keep the nervous system healthy and activates neurotransmitters like serotonin in the brain. It has a calming property that helps in preventing and easing anxiety, insomnia, sleep, and depression and elevates mood. It relaxes the brain and gives you the feeling of calmness.
Increases Hemoglobin and Prevents Anemia
Ragi is full of iron content that helps with iron deficiency. Iron deficiency reduces the hemoglobin causing conditions like anemia. It causes fatigue, tiredness, low body function, reduced immunity, and triggers other health conditions. Consumption of Ragi every day elevates the iron levels in the body and gives you energy.
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Good for Liver Health
As we all know, this millet is a treasure of various powerful antioxidants that fights off free radicals in the body. It removes these toxins from the liver and gallbladder and improves their health. It also prevents fatty liver conditions by removing fat accumulation.
Good for Skin
Ragi has rejuvenating and beautifying properties that promote skin health. It is a good source of amino acids like Methionine and Lysine and antioxidants like Vitamin C that are filled with anti-aging and skin-vitalizing properties.
- Ragi has anti-aging components like flavonoids and phenolic acid. It keeps wrinkles and fine lines at bay.
- It also encourages collagen formation which is essential for firm and smooth skin.
- It is also a good source of Vitamin E which is considered an essential nutrient for good, hydrated, and glowing skin. Vitamin E is also used in many cosmetic and beauty products for good skin health.
- Ragi is also used to treat pigmentation and suntan.
- It also treats acne, boils, pimples, scars, blemishes, etc. Plant compounds like tannins help in preventing and treating these skin conditions.
- It also treats skin infections.
Good for Hairs
- Ragi has several nutrients that promote good hair health and prevent various hair-related problems like hair fall, gray hair, dandruff, etc.
- As Ragi’s nutritional value explains, it is a high-protein food. Hair is pure protein and lack of keratin protein in the body leads to hair fall. Eating Ragi can prevent such hair falls and provide an ample amount of protein to the body.
- Amino acids Methionine and Lysine also provide nourishment to the hair follicles and prevent hair loss. It also aids in early graying.
- Ragi is abundant in antioxidants that help in reducing the risk of gray hair or untimely graying. It provides pigmentation to the hair and keeps them healthy.
- Ragi also has antimicrobial properties that help to remove dandruff from the scalp. It is a rich source of carotenoids that promotes a healthy scalp and is responsible for Ragi’s anti-dandruff properties.
- Magnesium also makes hair strong and prevents hair loss.
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Way to Consume Ragi
Ragi is a small millet that has a plethora of health benefits. This is the healthiest breakfast option to serve your body. There are multiple ways of including it in your daily diet. This nutritious superfood promotes heart, digestive, skin, bone, and liver health. You can prepare multiple delicious recipes from Ragi like dosa, idli, paratha, uttapam, upma, ragi roti, etc. If you like sweet food then you can also make Ragi halwa or barfi.
This is one of the popular Ragi. To make this dish, you’ll need:
- Ragi Flour or Ragi atta – 1 cup
- Wheat or Rice Flour – ½ cup
- Suji or Rava – ½ cup
- Curd – ¼ cup
- Green Chillies
- Mix all the ingredients and make a batter out of it
- Now heat a tawa and grease it with oil
- Then pour this mixture onto it
- Cook it on medium flame
- Cook both sides by flipping
- Serve hot and tasty dosa
Ragi Porridge or Ragi Malt
It is one of the healthiest breakfast recipes and is very easy to cook. To prepare sweet porridge, you will need:
- Ragi Flour or raagi aata – 4 tablespoon
- Water – 1.5 cup
- Jaggery – as per taste
- Milk – optional
- Take 4 tablespoons of ragi flour in the pan and add water to it
- Mix it well until no lumps remain
- Now boil it on the stove
- When it boils, add jaggery or gud to the mixture
- Keep stirring until it cooks
- Remove it from the stove and you can add milk to it if you want.
- To make it salty, instead of adding jaggery, add salt after removing it from the stove. You can add buttermilk to it. It gives you a cooling effect in the summer and will keep you calm.
Side-Effects of Ragi
Although Ragi is safe to consume, people with kidney conditions can have side effects of Ragi. It is high in calcium content that can increase the formation of kidney stones and can increase oxalic acid in the body. Furthermore, people with indigestion, gas, or constipation conditions should also avoid Ragi as it takes a lot of time to digest. It is high in protein which can cause discomfort and indigestion. Also, ragi is disadvantageous for babies as it takes a lot of time to digest due to their high protein content. It is heavy food for babies so avoid it as baby food.
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Can a Diabetic Eat Ragi?
Looking at its nutritional chart, one may wonder how this high-carb millet can be good for diabetics. Ragi is the wonder grain for diabetics because of its nutritional value. It is rich in dietary fibers, polyphenols, phytates, tannins, amino acids, and other minerals that keep sugar levels in control. A high-fiber diet slows the absorption of glucose in the body. This is a good breakfast option for a diabetic-friendly diet. It also reduces cholesterol levels in the body. It also reduces the oxidative stress and inflammation that is diabetes complications or triggers it.
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Ragi or Finger Millet is one of the healthiest grains to consume as it is gluten-free and high in fiber, protein, and calcium. It is also a good source of various antioxidants and amino acids that prevents various chronic diseases from developing. This is a good option for breakfast. It promotes heart health, good digestion, bone health, skin and hair health, lactation, reduces blood sugar levels, improves liver health, and helps in nervous system-related conditions like anxiety, insomnia, depression, etc. Its optimum quantity provides essential nutrients to the body and keeps your body cool.
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When should I eat Ragi?
Ragi is best consumed in the morning. Ragi is full of nutrients with high protein content. Protein takes a lot of time to break down and be absorbed by the body. Eating Ragi at the night can be adverse. Instead of eating in the morning, it gives it ample time to digest easily and is used by the body. However, it also has a relaxing impact and helps in insomnia, having a small amount before 3-4 hours of bed can induce sleep and relax your mind. But overall it is best to include it as a Breakfast meal.
Who should avoid eating Ragi?
Although Ragi is safe to consume, people with kidney conditions can have side effects of Ragi. It is high in calcium content that can increase the formation of kidney stones and can increase oxalic acid in the body. Also, people with indigestion, gas, or constipation conditions should also avoid Ragi as it takes a lot of time to digest. It is high in protein which can cause discomfort and indigestion. Also, ragi is disadvantageous for babies as it takes a lot of time to digest due to their high protein content. It is heavy food for babies so avoid it as baby food.
Is Ragi good food for diabetes?
Looking at its nutritional chart, one may wonder how this high-carb millet can be good for diabetics. Ragi is the wonder grain for diabetics because of its nutritional value. It is rich in dietary fibers, polyphenols, phytates, tannins, amino acids, and other minerals that keep sugar levels in control. Type 2 diabetes is a condition where insulin sensitivity of the body decreases and increases sugar levels in the body. The food we eat breaks down into glucose and is absorbed by the body which spikes blood sugar. But High fiber diet like Ragi slows the absorption of glucose in the body and breaks food slowly. This is a good breakfast option for a diabetic-friendly diet. It also reduces cholesterol levels in the body. It also reduces the oxidative stress and inflammation that is diabetes complications or triggers it.
Is it ok to eat Ragi daily?
Ragi or finger millet is a nutrient-dense food and is also known as a superfood. It is a healthy breakfast option that meets a lot of daily requirements of different nutrients. It is high-fiber, high-protein, and packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, polyphenols, and amino acids. These nutrients help to build a healthy body and aid all organs of the body. Regular consumption also reduces the sugar levels in the body, prevents diabetes, and reduces high blood pressure and cholesterol. Therefore reduces the risk of various heart diseases.
https://naturallyyours.in/blogs/blog/10-health-benefits-of-ragiLast Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal
The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.