Ragi (Finger Millet)- Nutrition, Benefits and Recipe

Ragi or finger millet is used as a healthy substitute for rice and wheat. Ragi is undoubtedly a powerhouse of nutrition. Loaded with protein and amino acids, this gluten-free millet is good for brain development in growing kids. Eleusine coracana (scientific name) is an annual herbaceous plant widely grown as a cereal crop in the arid and semiarid areas in Africa and Asia.

Nutrition

Millet flour is 9% water, 75% carbohydrates, 11% protein, and 4% fat. In a 100-gram (3 1⁄2-ounce) reference amount, it provides 1,600 kilojoules (382 kilocalories) of food energy and is a rich source (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of protein, dietary fiber, several B vitamins, and numerous dietary minerals. Millet has a high content of calcium and potassium but poor sodium content (less than 10% DV).

Ragi in India

The finger millet or ragi is malted and its grain is ground into flour. The flour is consumed with milk, boiled water, or yogurt. The flour is made into flatbreads, including thin, leavened dosa and thicker, unleavened roti. In Tamil Nadu, ragi is called kezhvaragu and also has other names like keppai, ragi, and ariyam. Ragi is dried, powdered, and boiled to form a thick mass that is allowed to cool. This is the famed kali or keppai kali.

Benefits of Ragi

1.Healthy bones and teeth

Calcium is critical for healthy bones and teeth and prevention of osteoporosis – a disease that weakens the bones and Ragi is loaded with Calcium.

2. Helps in Controlling Diabetes

The grain’s seed coat is abundant in polyphenols and dietary fibers as compared to rice, maize, or wheat. The low glycemic index lessens food cravings and maintains the digestive pace, consequently, keeping blood sugar within the safe range.

3. Reverts Skin Ageing

Ragi works wonders for maintaining young and youthful skin. Vital amino acids like Methionine and Lysine present in it make the skin tissues less prone to wrinkles and sagging.

4. Battles Anemia

Finger millet is an excellent source of natural iron and thus a boon for anemic patients and also for those with low hemoglobin levels. Once ragi are allowed to sprout, the Vitamin C levels tend to increase and lead to easy absorption of iron into the bloodstream.

5. Relaxes the Body

Regular consumption of Ragi is highly beneficial in dealing with conditions of anxiety, depression, and insomnia. The presence of antioxidants, mainly Tryptophan and amino acids, helps as they work as natural relaxants.

6. Helps in Weight Loss

The high amount of dietary fiber combine keeps the stomach full for longer and prevents unwanted cravings. This in turn leads to a minimized appetite and weight loss.

7. Boosts Nervous System Function

Eating ragi in controlled portions daily assists in enhancing nerve impulse conduction, activating memory centers in the brain, and relaxing the mind, due to elevated levels of the amino acid tryptophan.

8. Boosts Heart Health

Ragi is completely devoid of cholesterol and sodium, so recipes made with ragi flour can safely be consumed by those with heart ailments.

9. Prevents Hair Fall

Consisting of formative amino acids such as methionine and lysine, a ragi hair mask as well as ragi in the diet enriches hair growth and renews the texture of tresses.

Easy Recipe for You

Despite many health benefits, Ragi remains absent in our diets and we haven’t really embraced it. This is probably due to its bland taste that many may not appreciate.

Do you have a sweet tooth but are afraid for your health? Then, here is your perfect snack!- Ragi Halwa!

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup ragi flour
  • 7 – 10 whole cashews, broken
  • 2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • ¼ cup jaggery
  • 2 cups of water
  • A few pistachios and raisins

Method:

  1. In a deep bowl, mix the ragi flour with some water.
  2. To ensure there are no lumps, pulse it in a mixer for 2 – 3 times and set it aside.
  3. In a pan, heat jaggery and water on medium flame, until jaggery completely dissolves.
  4. Now, add the ragi flour paste to the jaggery in the pan.
  5. Keep stirring, to obtain a slightly sticky, puree-like consistency, until the mixture turns thick and deep brown in color, and then switch off the stove.
  6. Add some ghee to this sweetened ragi mixture and set aside.
  7. In another small vessel, heat the remaining ghee on medium flame, transfer the cashews and cardamom powder and cook for a few minutes.
  8. Switch off the flame, transfer the fried cashews with cardamom essence into the ragi flour and jaggery paste.
  9. Sprinkle some pistachios and raisins, as toppings for the sweetened ragi blend.
  10. Warm, aromatic, and delicious ragi halwa is ready to be served, perfect for any festive occasion or just a sumptuous weekend meal.

Enjoy your health and tasty snack!

Ragi makes you a delicious diet.

References : Link1 | Link2 | Link3 

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