Ragi was once a part of the staple food of the common man but was overtaken by rice completely. It has made a come back in the past few years and is being recognised more and more for the immense nutritious qualities that it boasts of.
This piece is an attempt to let known to all about this underdog grain so that more and more people take advantage of it. It is extremely beneficial for the health and is nutritiously superior to most other cereals. Read on to know more!
Ragi or finger millet was once a staple food item in the diet of Indians. It is only after the 1950s that it was taken over by rice completely. It is a whole grain which means that it contains all three parts of the kernel, namely, the bran, the endosperm and the germ. They are in unprocessed form and tend to contain higher fibre and nutritious value as opposed to rice. The grain has recently seen a reintroduction in diet conscious people’s food.
Native to Africa, Ragi continued to be grown there for thousands of years especially in Ethiopia and Uganda. Its cultivation in India started about 4000 years ago and has been discovered in the archaeological excavations of the Harappan Civilization. The adaptable crop can withstand harsh weather conditions and is suited to the Indian climate. It is grown mostly in Karnataka, Rajasthan, Gujrat, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, Uttarakhand and Tamil Nadu.
Ragi is usually consumed in the form of flour. Carbohydrates are a major component of ragi flour (around 80%) and it is low in fat. Apart from this, it has high amino acids and calcium content. It is supposed to be a very good source of nutrients for pregnant women and infants.
In the state of Tamil Nadu, ragi is considered to be the sacred food of Goddess Kali. Ragi porridge, called Koozh, is made on every festival – big or small – of this Goddess and is distributed to the poor and destitute. It is a staple diet in farming communities, eaten along with green chillies and raw onions.
Ragi offers innumerable health benefits because of its excellent nutritional profile. They are elaborated in the sections that follow.
Selection: You can buy Ragi in bulk or in packages. In either of the cases, make sure that there is no hint of moisture.
Storage: Ragi seeds are highly durable and are not easily attacked by insects or moulds. When unthreshed, they can be stored for about 10 years or sometimes for up to 50 years. (Source –https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleusine_coracana )
Store the millets in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place, where it will keep for several months.
Ragi Flour Nutritional Value (Chart
|Content||Amount (Typical)||Amount (Range)|
|Carbohydrate||72.6||71.3 – 89.5|
|Protein||7.7||5.8 – 12.8|
|Fibre||3.6||3.5 – 3.9|
|Fat||1.3||1.3 – 2.7|
Ragi Nutrition Chart (Minerals)
(Typical – mg)
Ragi Nutrition Chart (Amino Acids)
|Amino Acids Content||Amount
(mg/g of protein)
- According to the National Institute of Nutrition in India, 100 grams of Ragi contains 344 mg calcium. It is the best non-dairy source of calcium amongst all other grains and helps in the improvement of bone density. This makes ragi great food for toddlers and people facing the risk of osteoporosis, arthritis and age-related fractures.
- Ragi is rich in minerals, proteins and energy.
- Ragi is also a rich supply of fibre and aids in lowering the cholesterol level in the human body. It also ensures smooth bowel movement and can treat constipation.
- Because of the presence of various phytonutrients, Ragi has antioxidant properties. It helps to lower the possibility of degenerative diseases.
- Ragi’s seed coat contains plentiful polyphenols and dietary fibres as compared to wheat, maize or rice. This keeps the blood sugar within the safe range and controls diabetes.
- Ragi is beneficial in weight loss. Apart from low-fat content, the presence of amino acid, Tryptophan, reduces appetite and the fibre content gives a feeling of fullness.
- Ragi consumption helps in relaxing the body by treating anxiety, depression and insomnia. Tryptophan in Ragi helps in inducing sleep and curing migraines. It is also helpful in relieving menstrual cramps in women.
- Ragi is good for the skin and hair. It can be used as a mask for both.
- Ragi helps in treating anaemia because of the high calcium content. Calcium is important for the metabolism of iron in the body.
- According to some sources, Ragi is not good for diabetes patients because of its high carbohydrate content leading to an increase in the sugar levels faster than other foods like oats.
- Excess Ragi consumption could lead to the formation of kidney stones.
You can incorporate the nutrition-packed ragi in your meals by following these recipes.
- Ragi Kanji or Finger Millet Sweet Porridge- https://revisfoodography.com/2017/04/ragi-kanji/
- Ragi Dosa- http://hebbarskitchen.com/raagi-dosa/
- Ragi Peanut Laddoo- https://www.antoskitchen.com/ragi-finger-millet-peanut-ladoo/
- Ragi Malt- https://www.antoskitchen.com/ragi-malt/
- Banana Ragi Bread- https://www.antoskitchen.com/ragi-finger-millet-banana-walnut-bread/