What is Finger Millet or Ragi? Nutrition and benefits


Ragi, also known as Finger Millet (botanical name Eleusine Coracana), is a cereal crop found in Africa and Asia, and India is the largest producer of finger millet.

A glass bowl full of ground ragi with a wooden spatula kept on a wooden surface below.

Ragi contains a host of crucial nutrients like B-complex vitamins, iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin E, protein, and sufficient fiber and calories.

It is a superfood for the farmers in India as it provides enough energy and sustenance for a day’s work of plowing and farming.

Nutritional Benefits of Finger Millet (Ragi)

A 100gm serving of Ragi contains the following minerals and Vitamins.

Minerals

  • Calcium- 26%
  • Iron- 11%
  • Potassium- 27%
  • Protein- 10%

Vitamins

  • Vitamin C- 7%
  • Vitamin E- 4.5%
  • B1(Thiamine)- 5%
  • B2 (Riboflavin)- 7.6%
  • B3 (Niacin)- 3.6%
  • B9 (Folic Acid)- 3%

Health Benefits of Finger Millet (Ragi)

1. Gluten-Free- Gluten is a natural protein present in many grains like wheat, rye, and barley. It gives the grains a sticky consistency when mixed with water.

Studies suggest that more than 6% of the population may have gluten sensitivity and are more prone to it. 

Ragi contains essential amino acids and nutrients, and it also makes up for an excellent gluten-free diet.

2. High in Calcium-

A white plate full of ragi millets kept on a brown grey wooden surface

Good news for all the dairy-free and lactose intolerant out there. Ragi contains more calcium than any other millets, grains, cereals, or milk.

Just a 100-gram serving of ragi holds a whopping 26% calcium which is excellent for strengthening the bones of a growing child.

Moreover, It also helps restore bone density amongst adults and prevents calcium deficiency diseases like osteoporosis.

3. Good Source of Iron- Iron is essential to make red blood cells, and any deficiency may lead to anemia.

Ragi is an excellent source of iron as it improves the hemoglobin levels in the body. Hence it makes a perfect addition for women with low hemoglobin levels.

Menstruating women may also benefit from the consumption of finger millet.

4. Anti-relaxant- Studies suggest that ragi contain certain amino acids that work as a natural relaxant and anti-depressant for the body.

Regular consumption of ragi may improve conditions like anxiety, insomnia, and depression.

5. Nutritious breakfast, according to Ayurveda– Ragi, has been praised for its healing and nutritious properties in Ayurveda.

Being a powerhouse of nutrients and minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, fiber, vitamin C, E, and B, it’s a perfect start for the day as the nutrients in ragi are adequately absorbed in the blood and well assimilated to different organs of the body.

How do you add Ragi to your diet?

Ragi can be consumed whole or in the form of flour, depending on the needs of the individual. For eg. Ragi Porridge, Ragi Roti or Ragi Dosa.