Shraddha is a health-conscious mom. She ensured her toddler’s health by giving him a variety of food. As she and her husband belonged to different cultures, she got a chance to expose her son to foods belonging to both of them. When she began feeding solids to her son after six months, Ragi or Nachni was one of the first foods that she tried. What she used to do is sprout the whole Ragi and mix it with palm sugar for her baby. She sourced organic Palm Sugar from Kerala. To her relief, her baby liked it.
Ragi (Finger Millet) is one of the lesser-known cereals. People have not explored this cereal to its fullest. When I started giving solids to my little one, I was quite worried about the options. As she was not much fond of cow’s milk, I researched foods rich in calcium. And to my surprise, I came to know about a cereal that had more calcium than milk. With help from Shraddha, I tried giving her Ragi flour porridge. To my relief, she quite liked it. I carried the flour even while traveling, just to have something in spare when she refused to eat anything else.
Are you Aware of Ragi?
Ragi or finger millet is a cereal that is primarily cultivated in Asia and Africa. Unlike other cereals, the taste of Ragi is quite different. In fact, not just taste, even the color of this cereal is unique. It is slightly pink in color. The recipes prepared from Ragi are slightly darker. This variety of millet is loaded with nutrients like calcium, carbohydrates, vitamins, fiber, iron, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin, and even protein. Low in fat, Ragi is completely gluten-free.
Ragi is one of the good sources of Protein. The protein in this cereal is of good quality. This makes it easy for the body to absorb it. Ragi is also high in tryptophan, cysteine, and even methionine, which are not present in other cereals. This makes Ragi important for health. If you are looking for a cereal that meets your daily requirement of nutrition, then try Ragi. Brimming with phosphorous, potassium, iron, and even calcium, Ragi can make you healthier, if had in regulation. Even people who suffer from low levels of hemoglobin can trust Ragi. As I am not in favor of supplements, I always look for nutrition from foods. When I found that Ragi can naturally up the calcium, I even suggested it to my aunt who had the problem of osteoporosis.
Ragi Benefits – Why Should You Consume Ragi?
While rice and wheat have been quite popular, Ragi is not that famous. People do not consume Ragi on a regular basis. However, including Ragi in your diet has many health benefits, which you might not be aware of.
1. Keeps You Full for a Longer Period
Before leaving for a wedding, I have some freshly prepared Ragi porridge. I am a foodie and could not resist filling up on delicious dishes at a wedding party. To prevent stuffing myself from unhealthy fats, I make sure that I eat something healthy before leaving. Ragi is loaded with amino acid known as Tryptophan. This amino acid is popular in the cereal circles for lowering the appetite and thereby controlling the weight. As Ragi takes time to digest, it keeps you full for longer. Hence, it prevents you from consuming extra calories.
Further, Ragi is high in fibre as well, which helps for digestion. One of my friends even suggested having Ragi and buttermilk for breakfast to minimize hunger pangs between meals. All in all, Ragi can become your weight loss partner.
2. Enhances the Health of Your Hair
People try different shampoos, oils and other formulas for the benefit of hair. However, a diet rich in nutrition goes a long way in maintaining the health of the hair. Ragi is one superfood for your hair. I do not advise applying Ragi on hair but I really want you to include it in your diet. Ragi, being rich in protein, is quite good for preventing hair loss. Instead of hunting for protein in shampoos, search for foods that supply protein to your hair. Ragi is one such food. As hair is composed of protein, including Ragi in your diet will ensure strong hair.
Further, the presence of magnesium in Ragi is also helpful in treating scalp related conditions like psoriasis, dandruff, and even eczema. Magnesium also helps in reducing the level of cortisol in the body, thereby preventing hair fall. Ragi will promote blood circulation in your scalp, ensuring healthy hair growth. Rich in antioxidants, Ragi also prevents premature greying of your hair.
3. Benefits Lactating and Pregnant Moms
Lactating moms are often advised to eat specific foods to boost milk production and thereby, prevent any ailments in the infant. If you are looking for more options for lactation, then you can try Ragi. Ragi is not only known to boost lactation but also for making it more nutritious. Being rich in essential nutrients like iron, calcium, and amino acids, Ragi passes on all this to the infant through milk. Rich in folic acid, Ragi helps develop the brain of the child while he’s still in the womb.
In addition, the presence of calcium will help in developing the bones. Ragi being a whole grain is quite good for the health of both mother and babies. Often, Ragi is one of the first cereals given to babies when they start solids. This is because Ragi is easy to digest.
4. Ensures Good and Healthy Skin
Instead of just depending on beauty creams and products for your skin, look for a diet that ensures healthy skin. Include Ragi in your diet. This is because Ragi is packed with nutrients that are good for your skin. Amino Acids present in Ragi helps in creating collagen, thereby improving the elasticity of the skin. You can prevent wrinkles and delay the aging process by eating Ragi on a regular basis.
Ragi is also packed with antioxidants, which are essential in controlling free radicals in your body. This helps in skin rejuvenation. You will be surprised to know that ubiquinone present in millet is one of the components of beauty products as well.
5. Heals Scars and Prevents Sun Damage
The presence of calcium in Ragi helps in healing scars by forming new and healthy skin. Including Ragi in your diet can prevent skin damage as well. If you hate applying sunscreens like me, make sure you eat Ragi. Ragi helps in guarding the skin against the harsh rays of the sun and thus preventing chances of skin cancer. This is because Ragi is loaded with Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and selenium. These nutrients help in enhancing the complexion and lubricating the skin as well. So, make Ragi your health partner and get younger, fresher, and healthier skin.
6. Improves the Condition of Diabetes
Including whole grains in diet is considered to be quite healthy. Whole grains like Ragi have the presence of phytochemicals, which slow down the digestion process in the body. This ultimately controls the level of blood sugar and thereby diabetes. Further, a diet that contains Ragi is high in fiber and has a lesser glycemic response. This is also helpful in controlling diabetes. Ragi has polyphenols and it even helps in absorbing starch from the diet. Ragi diet is quite helpful in healing wounds faster.
7. Great Source of Nourishment to Women
Women face a lot of problems not only during the menstrual cycle but also while going through menopause. Ragi is quite helpful in improving both the conditions. The presence of magnesium in Ragi is a good source of nourishment to women. With menopause comes the problem of hormonal imbalance and osteoporosis. During this phase, if a woman consumes a diet rich in Ragi, she gets the strength to face the problems. Ragi not only calms the mind but also tackles anxiety-related issues. It helps in relieving menstrual cramps and alleviating pre-menstrual symptoms.
8. Good Food for Children and the Elderly
Both childhood and old-age are such phases in human life that require additional nutrition to carry on the daily routine. The bones of children and even the elderly are quite weak. Hence, it is necessary that they consume a diet rich in calcium. Ragi, rich in calcium, is, thus, very important for both the age groups. It helps in maintaining bones and preventing the condition of fracture or even osteoporosis.
9. Sprouted Ragi for Health
Ragi can be consumed as a whole grain, in the form of sprouts or even flour. On sprouting Ragi grains, the levels of Vitamin C present therein receives a natural boost. In addition, Ragi is a good source of iron as well. The combination of iron and vitamin C is quite helpful in alleviating the condition of anemia. This is because vitamin C aids the absorption of iron from the diet. It even ups the level of hemoglobin when formed a part of the daily diet.
10. Lowers the Level of Bad Cholesterol
Ragi has Vitamin B, which breaks down fat and even carbohydrates, present in the diet, quite efficiently. It prevents the forming of cholesterol by lowering homocysteine levels in the blood. Further, Ragi also prevents blockage of blood vessels, reduces the formation of plaque, thus averting the risk of heart ailments. Ragi also contains lecithin and methionine, the amino acids, which help in reducing fat from the liver and further bringing down the levels of cholesterol. It even helps reduce blood pressure.
11. Takes Care of Mental Health
While people take much care of their physical health, mental health is often ignored and less talked about. With the increase in conditions like stress, anxiety, insomnia, migraine, depression, and other issues, it is necessary that awareness is created regarding this. While there are several things that can prevent and treat cerebral issues, a good diet is quite important. Research claims that nutrients present in Ragi can alleviate such issues. Ragi has natural amino acids that are helpful in relaxing the body and calming the mind.
Caution: Limit the Consumption
While Ragi is beneficial for you, its overdose is extremely harmful. You should eat a variety of grains to maintain balance. When consumed beyond a limit, Ragi can result in an overdose. It might lead to an increase in oxalic acid in your body. Some people even complain of kidney stones due to Ragi overdose. Ragi even contains a substance that restricts the absorption of iodine in the body, leading to goiter. Even those people who suffer from thyroid should limit the consumption of Ragi.
Ragi is a super cereal. Include it in your daily diet along with rice, wheat, and other cereals. Generally, Ragi is consumed in summer as it is cold in nature. It is brimming with nutrients and can help prevent and treat several health conditions if formed a part of your daily diet. I just baked some cookies using Ragi flour and you are invited to snack on them!