Ragi or finger millet is one of the most nutritious and healthy cereals. Here’s a look at the many health benefits of ragi, plus some great recipes.
Let’s take a look at an amazing “super cereal” that can help control diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis and lots more.
1. Ragi has High Protein Content
The grain's protein content is comparable to that of rice. More importantly, this protein content is quite unique. The main protein fraction is eleusinin, which has a high biological value, meaning that it is easily incorporated into the body. There are also significant quantities of tryptophan, cystine, methionine and total aromatic amino acids. If that sounds too complicated, all you need to know is that these are considered crucial to human health, and that most cereals are deficient in these components. This high protein content makes finger millet a very important factor in preventing malnutrition. The cereal can be an especially good source of protein for vegetarians because of its methionine content that constitutes about 5% of the protein.
2. Ragi is a Rich Source of Minerals
It has been found to have between 5-30 times the calcium content found in other cereals. It is also rich in phosphorus, potassium and iron. Calcium is of course an important component in maintaining bone density and health. Thus, finger millet would be a healthier alternative to over-the-counter supplements, especially for people who might be at risk of osteoporosis or low hemoglobin levels.
3. Ragi Controls Diabetes
The rapid rise in the prevalence of diabetes has led to a great demand for foods containing complex carbohydrates with high dietary fiber levels and beneficial phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are a varied group of chemical compounds derived from plants, which are considered to be important factors in our capacity to combat disease. All these components are usually found in the outer layer of the grain or the seed coat, and so, it is generally a good idea to consume whole grains.
Especially with finger millet, the grain’s seed coat is richer in polyphenols as compared to grains such as barley, rice, maize and wheat.Studies have also shown that finger millet controls blood glucose levels, and hyperglycemic and oxidative stress. Finger millet has also shown promise in accelerating wound healing among diabetics.
4. Ragi has Anti-microbial Properties
Finger millet has been found to act against a number of bacteria including Bacillus cereus, which causes food poisoning, Salmonella sp., which causes a typhoid-like fever, and Staphylococcus aureus, one of the primary causes of skin and soft tissue infections such as abscesses, furuncles, and cellulitis.
5. Ragi has Anti-cancer Potential
Finger millet is also rich in antioxidants, which have sort of become a byword in health books today. Antioxidants prevent excessive oxidation (how surprising!), which could otherwise cause cancer and ageing because of cell damage. The phenolic acids, flavonoids and tannins present in finger millet seed coats have very effective antioxidant properties. In general, it has been shown that people on millet-based diets have lower incidences of esophageal cancer than those on wheat or maize-diets.
6. Ragi Keeps you Young
Aside from the phenolic content and antioxidants which are important factors in preventing ageing, finger millet and kodo millet have specifically shown potential in inhibiting cross-linking of collagen. Collagen cross-linking is the process by which cross-links form between or within collagen molecules in tendons, skin, and even blood vessels. Collagen is what gives tissues their elasticity, and cross-linking reduces this ability, leading to the stiffness commonly associated with age.
7. Ragi Reduces “Bad” Cholestrol, Prevents Cardiovascular Disease
Emerging research has shown that finger millet has the potential to reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases. Technically speaking, finger millet reduces concentrations of serum triglycerides and inhibits lipid oxidation and LDL cholesterol oxidation. LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol is what is termed "bad" cholesterol and is especially troublesome when oxidized. Oxidized LDL inflames the arteries, leading to arteriosclerosis and the risk of heart attack or strokes.
- Ragi Flour 1.5 cups
- Jaggery or Coconut Sugar or Sugar (powdered) 1.5 cups
- Coconut Oil or Ghee 1/2 cup
- Cashews 1/2 cup
- Cardamoms (powdered – seeds only) 4
- Water : 3 cups
- Coconut Oil or Ghee (to sauté the cashews) 1 tbsp
- Tip: Jaggery and coconut sugar go well with coconut oil; sugar goes well with ghee.
- Sauté the cashews in 1 tbsp. coconut oil or ghee. Keep aside.
- Mix ragi flour and water into a paste.
- Heat the mixture in a thick-bottomed vessel on medium heat, stirring constantly.
- After 3 minutes, mix in the powdered sugar and cardamom powder.
- Start adding the coconut oil (or ghee), 2 tablespoons at a time. Keep mixing until all the oil (or ghee) is used.
- Lower the heat and keep stirring for another 3–4 minutes. The mixture will start coming together – from a pasty consistency to a ball. Add the sautéed cashews.
- Cook for another 2–3 minutes, mixing constantly. As the mixture cooks, the oil will start to separate from the ragi ball. Drain the excess oil and transfer the halwa to a glass bowl. Serve warm.
For more free recipes - RAGI LADOO & FREE RAGI RECIPE Ebook