The English name of Ragi is finger millet and scientifically it is known as Eleusine coracana. A wonder gluten free grain; ragi offers amazing health benefits especially for people who have wheat allergies and are gluten intolerant.
Ragi can be used as a whole grain or as flour. Ragi flour is made by either crushing the dried ragi grains or by spouting, drying and then grinding them.
Ragi is an annually cultivated crop. In India, there are two species of finger millet Eleusine indica and Eleusine coracana.
Ragi is an excellent source of protein and minerals. Finger millet/Ragi is a rich source of calcium, iron, and potassium. It contains several important amino acids. It has negligible amounts of sodium and cholesterol.
100 gm of ragi contains 328 calories, 72 gm of carbohydrates, 11.5 gm of fibre, 7.3 gm of proteins, 408 mg of potassium, 344 mg of calcium, 283 mg of phosphorus, 137 mg of magnesium, 11 mg of sodium, 3.9 mg of iron, 5.49 mg of manganese, 2.3 mg of zinc, 0.47 mg of copper, 0.42 mg of thiamine, 0.19 mg of riboflavin, and 1.1 mg of niacin.
Possible Health Benefits of Ragi/Finger Millet…
Maintains bone health
1. Ragi contains high amounts of calcium and vitamin D. Calcium along with vitamin D aids in strengthening the bones.
2. Ragi helps maintain bone health in adults and helps in bone development in growing children. Thereby, ragi prevents bone complaints and may reduce the risk of fractures.
3. Ragi is effective in averting osteoporosis and bone erosion.
Helps in anaemia
Consumption of Ragi helps in treating anaemia as Ragi is a good source of natural iron. The vitamin C content of Ragi helps increase iron absorption.
Reduces high cholesterol levels
1. The amino acids lecithin and methionine present in ragi help in lowering cholesterol levels by removing excess fat from the liver.
2. Ragi also contains threonine which prevents the formation of fat in the liver thus, reducing the cholesterol levels.
3. The fiber and niacin content of ragi aids in accelerating the ‘good’ cholesterol levels and in reducing the ‘bad’ cholesterol levels. Thus, preventing plaque deposition in the heart and reducing the risk to stroke and other heart diseases.
Reduces diabetes risk
1. The polyphenol and dietary fiber content of Ragi lowers the risk of diabetes mellitus.
2. Finger millet has a low glycemic response i.e. decreases the ability to increase the levels of blood sugar.
A wonder gluten free grain; ragi offers amazing health benefits especially for people who have wheat allergies and are gluten intolerant.
Other possible benefits…
Apart from the above-mentioned benefits, Ragi has a few more health benefits namely, aids weight loss, helps in relaxing the body, boosts nervous system function, helpsirritable bowel syndrome, reverts skin ageing, prevents cancer, helps digestion, increases lactation, improves skin health, aids healthy pregnancy, and prevents malnutrition.
How to use Ragi?
Ragi can be used in various forms and various ways, some of them are as follows:
- Ragi roti,
- Ragi malt,
- Ragi ladoo,
- Ragi halwa,
- Ragi cookies,
- Ragi pancakes,
- Ragi juice/milkshake,
- Ragi khichdi/porridge,
- Ragi rava idli/upma/dosa.
How to prepare Ragi and Milk porridge?
Take 1 cup of milk in a pan and warm it, on medium flame.
Lower the flame and add 2 tbsp ragi flour, 2 tsp cardamom powder, and 1 tbsp crushed almonds. While adding, continuously keep stirring, to avoid lumps.
Switch off the heat and keep it aside.
As per the taste, add honey.
Your ragi and milk porridge are ready.