Health Benefits of Ragi (Finger Millet)

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 15/02/2024

India is the largest producer of millet in the world, contributing to 40% of millet production worldwide. One of the significant millets produced in India is ragi (finger millet). In many states of India, it is included in their daily diet. Because of several ragi health benefits, people are actively switching to ragi flour from their regular wheat or rice-based flour.

If you, too, are looking to make this transition, you should know about finger millet benefits that can contribute positively to your health. But before that, let us know more about Ragi (Finger Millet).

About Ragi (Finger Millet)

Ragi is one of the various types of millet produced and consumed in India. It looks like fingers during its plantation stage, which is why it is named finger millet in English. However, once harvested from millet strips, it resembles mustard seeds.

Ragi is considered a superfood because of the presence of nutrients like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron in it. Along with these, it also contains the amino acids lecithin, methionine and threonine, which have significant health benefits.

In India, the state of Karnataka is the largest producer of the superfood finger millet, and people of the region also include it in their diets regularly. But with awareness about finger millet benefits, many people across the states of India have started including it in their diet.

Nutritional Values of Ragi (Finger Millet)

Nutritional Value per 100 g
Energy  307 kcal
Carbohydrates  53.5 g
Dietary Fibre 22.6 g
Fat  1.9 g
Protein 7.4 g
Minerals  Quantity
Iron 11.3 mg
Calcium 344 mg
Magnesium 154 mg
Phosphorus 183 mg
Potassium 538 mg
Sodium 2 mg
Zinc 1.7 mg

Ragi Health Benefits for You

1. Protein Packed

As mentioned earlier, with each 100g of ragi serving, one can get around 7 grams of protein, making it a rich source of protein for the body. It is also a great alternative for vegetarians or ones who follow a vegan diet due to its protein-richness.

2. Great Source of Fibre

Ragi’s nutritional benefits include its high content of fibre, which directly affects your gut health and body mass. A high-fibre diet is known to be good for digestion, as it produces more gut-friendly bacteria and relieves you from problems like constipation and indigestion.

Similarly, ragi for weight loss is also highly beneficial. As it contains amino acids, ragi intake helps in reducing your appetite and keeping you full for a long time. Additionally, it also helps regulate your blood sugar levels by turning them into insulin, which means it saves you from the risk of diabetes.

3. Ragi Benefits for Hair

Strong hair is made up of Keratin protein, and consuming ragi benefits hair, as it helps strengthen your hair and prevents hair fall. A healthy amount of ragi consumption also prevents premature greying of hair, as it prevents the oxidation of hair tissues. So, it is advised to include ragi in your meals to have healthy and strong hair and head scalp.

4. Rich in Calcium

Calcium plays a crucial role in keeping bones strong and healthy. Although it is known that milk and egg intake do help in fulfilling the calcium needs of the body, ragi is also a great source of calcium.

The inclusion of ragi, along with other calcium-rich foods in your diet, reduces health risks like bone weakening, arthritis, tooth decay, and osteoporosis.

5. Gluten Free

Gluten is a protein type that is present in grains like wheat, barley, rye, etc. Unfortunately, several people suffer from the problem of gluten intolerance, which prevents them from consuming food that contains gluten, like wheat chapati, and bread.

However, these people can include ragi, which is naturally gluten-free, in their daily meals. Alternative dishes like ragi chapati, ragi dosa or ragi idli are gaining popularity lately. This way, they can incorporate a healthy gluten-free ingredient in their meal and still enjoy delicious dishes.

6. Ragi Malt Benefits for Skin

Having healthy-looking and blemish-free skin is everyone’s dream, but this can only be achieved if you give your body adequate nutrients to stay healthy. Eating ragi malt benefits the skin in many ways; the amino acids present in it help in collagen boost, making skin less wrinkly.

Moreover, it contains Vitamin E, which helps in the formation of new healthy skin and the healing of scar tissues. Applying ragi paste on your face and skin is the best way to keep your skin elastic, moisturised and healthy looking.

7. Helps in Preventing Cancer

Ragi contains fibre and several phytonutrients that help in preventing the risks of colon cancer. Moreover, the lignan present in ragi, after digestion, converts into mammalian lignan that protects women from breast cancer. Ragi is also known to promote tissue repair and wound healing, making ragi a superfood to keep yourself healthy.

8. Red Blood Cells Producer

Ragi is an excellent source of iron, which helps in the production of red blood cells and improves the percentage of haemoglobin in the body. Moreover, if you eat sprouted ragi, which has a healthy amount of Vitamin C, it helps in the absorption of iron better.

Hence, ragi is a good choice for preventing health problems like anaemia, especially for women who go through a menstrual cycle every month.

9. Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases

Ragi, being a superfood, has no cholesterol or sodium in it. Moreover, it is fibre-rich and has vitamin B3. This helps in producing good HDL cholesterol and eliminating bad LDL cholesterol. It is beneficial not only for people with heart ailments but also for everyone, as consuming ragi reduces deposits of cholesterol in the heart’s blood vessels.

10. Helps Healthy Child Growth

Packed with many vitamins and nutrients, ragi is a perfect food ingredient for growing children. The presence of zinc, iron, and magnesium in ragi helps in building healthy muscle mass and strong bones in young children. Parents can give ragi malt chapati or prepare delicious ragi recipes for their children to incorporate into their balanced diet.

11. Helps in Lactation

New mothers require immense care and a healthy diet. Including green ragi in their daily diets helps mothers enhance haemoglobin levels in their bodies, which helps in the production of breast milk.

The amino acids, iron and zinc present in green ragi help in increasing lactation in new mothers and also provide necessary nutrients to mother and child.

12. Provides Healthy Amino Acids

Ragi is rich in amino acids like methionine, valine, sulphur-based amino acids and isoleucine. All of these help in maintaining good immunity, healing tissues, maintaining healthy teeth, and protecting the skin barrier. With all these ragi health benefits, it is crucial to include it in your daily diet for better overall health.

13. Improves Mood

Including ragi in your diet and consuming it helps improve your mood over time. Finger millet benefits your nerve impulse conduction system and helps in serotonin production. It helps relieve you from anxiety, stress, and insomnia, providing relaxation to your mind and body.

Easy Ragi Recipes

Want to incorporate ragi in your meals but need to know how to do it? Start with making these easy recipes to get ragi nutritional benefits for your health.

  • Ragi Smoothie: It is a great way to include ragi in your daily diet and can be made on the go. Drinking a ragi smoothie in the morning will keep you energised and full for a long time. It is a great breakfast drink for officegoers and students.

    You just need to blend the ragi flour with the fruit of your choice, like strawberries, bananas and any plant-based milk like soy milk, oats milk or almond milk. You can also add honey or brown sugar if you like to sweeten your smoothie.

  • Ragi Porridge: Porridge is simple to make and acts as a complete meal for your body. You can make ragi porridge for your lunch and take it with you to the office or pack it for your kids’ lunchboxes, too.

    You can make ragi porridge by cooking it with water or milk. For the salt version, you can add vegetables of your choice and cook it. For the sweet version, you can add dry fruits and sweeten it with honey or brown sugar.

  • Ragi Chapati: Ditch wheat chapati for healthy ragi chapatis and see a change in your gut and overall health. You can eat ragi chapatis with any vegetables, just like you do with wheat chapatis.

    To make ragi chapatis, knead ragi flour with the right consistency of water to create ragi dough. Make round chapatis and bake them in the iron cast pan.

  • Ragi Upma: People usually think that upma can be made only by using granulated wheat, but the ragi version of upma is not only delicious but also healthier. It can be a great way to start your day with rag upma for breakfast or add it to your lunch or evening snack menu.

    You can make ragi upma by sauteing ragi flour with vegetables of your choice, adding salt accordingly and eating it once cooked.

  • Ragi Idli: Idli in itself is a good food as it is made by steaming batter of rice flour and black lentils. By adding ragi flour to your regular batter, you can include ragi health benefits in your idli and give it a delicious twist.

    Ragi Dosa:** Just like idli batter, you can add ragi flour with your dosa batter of rice flour and black lentils. Cook it just as you cook dosa, and you will get a much healthier and crispier version of dosa.

Ragi Precautions and Side Effects

Several finger millet benefits are undeniable and have several positive effects that can improve your health. However, anything in excess can have a negative impact on your body and health, and the same goes for ragi.

  • Kidney Problems: Ragi is high in protein, and excessive protein in the body can cause issues for patients with kidney disease. So, be cautious of consuming not too much ragi millet.

  • Mineral Absorption: One of the acids present in ragi is phytic acid, which binds minerals like zinc, iron and magnesium. It can lead to slower absorption of these minerals in the body, leading to interference in the normal mineral absorption process.

  • Excess Potassium: Ragi’s health benefits include the presence of potassium in the millet, which is good for the body. However, the excess amount of potassium in the body can cause problems like nausea, chest pain and tingling in the body. So make sure to eat ragi in regulation.

  • Bloating: Some people might suffer from bloating because of excess fibre in the ragi; for them, it is advised to restrict eating ragi recipes frequently.

  • Allergies: Although rare, some people might be allergic to ragi and may develop allergic reactions like itching, hiving, difficulty in breathing, swelling, etc.

Need for Health Insurance Plan

Finger millet benefits are numerous, but as mentioned in the earlier section, excess consumption of any nutrition can cause health problems. Moreover, in today’s time, several other factors can affect your health and leave you with long hospital bills.

In such cases, you need to have good medical insurance that can shoulder your financial burdens at the time of medical emergencies and provide you with suitable treatment.

Tata AIG health insurance provides you with several benefits like cashless treatment at any hospital of the policyholder’s choice, COVID-19 cover, ambulance expense coverage and pre and post-hospitalisation coverage.

Moreover, there are other benefits of health insurance including tax benefits under Section 80D, AYUSH benefits and an excellent insurance claim settlement ratio.

Summing Up

Having a balanced diet is essential for everyone, and including ragi in this diet can help you achieve your balanced state of body and mind. Ragi’s health benefits include better bone density, good hair, controlling blood sugar levels, and prevention of diseases like cancer and heart attacks.

You can include ragi in your diet by making ragi smoothies, chapatis, idli dosa, etc. However, keep in mind to consume ragi in moderation to avoid any health issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

When to drink ragi malt to lose weight?

Ragi for weight loss is a known benefit. It is advised to drink ragi malt in the morning to lose weight. The tryptophan present in ragi helps keep your stomach full. Thus, you would not feel hungry frequently.

Are Ragi and Nachni the same?

Yes, in Marathi, Ragi is known as nachni; just like in English, it is called finger millet.

Who should not eat Ragi?

People suffering from kidney-related issues should limit their consumption of ragi. As the protein present in it can be harmful.

Disclaimer: This is a general guide on the Health Benefits of Ragi. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. It is advisable to consult a qualified health professional for treatment in severe cases.

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