It is an amazing plant source of crucial essential amino acids namely isoleucine, tryptophan, valine, methionine and threonine. Ragi is a superfood for both vegetarian and vegan diets.
Ragi Health Benefits:
Ragi comprises a vast array of key nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, B-complex vitamins, iron, calcium, antioxidants, proteins, fibers, sufficient calories and useful unsaturated fats. In the morning, your stomach and intestines are at their peak levels of metabolism. Hence, having ragi-based foods like ragi Mudde or ragi Laddus for breakfast activates the digestive juices and ensures complete assimilation of nutrients found in ragi, which are absorbed into the bloodstream and transferred to vital organs in the body namely the heart, brain, lungs, liver and kidneys.
Source of Essential Amino Acids
Ragi contains certain key amino acids, making it a unique plant-based source of high-quality proteins. It offers methionine, a sulphur-based amino acid to revive skin and hair health, valine and isoleucine which repair injured muscle tissues and threonine, to enable the proper formation of teeth and enamel and protect the mouth from gum disease.
Part of a Gluten-Free Diet
A significant number of young adults and older people tend to develop intolerance towards the gluten proteins in cereals like wheat, which, unfortunately, is a regular ingredient in Indian dishes. Ragi, being organically gluten-free, can easily be substituted for wheat, to prepare chapatis, dosas and sweets or mithais, and is often recommended for patients with celiac disease.
It is important to keep in mind though, that the best time to consume ragi is in the morning, for being fiber-rich, its digestive process is more elaborate and it is usually not okay to eat ragi at night, especially for those with digestive problems and gluten allergies.
Fortifies Bone Density
Finger millet, being a fantastic source of natural calcium, strengthens bones in growing children. It also restores optimum bone density in older people, assisting in alleviating osteoporosis symptoms. While younger people can consume ragi daily, middle-aged and older adults need to eat measured servings of ragi, to augment bone health, while steering clear of gastrointestinal and kidney disorders.
Keeps Blood Sugar Levels In Check
Finger millet, although being high in calories and carbohydrates for instant energy, also comprises a plethora of phytates, tannins, polyphenols – plant chemicals that slow down the digestion process. This lowers high blood sugar in those with diabetes mellitus, making ragi a valuable addition to a diet for diabetes. Also, owing to its low digestibility and rich fiber content, ragi is the top food of choice for adults, for accelerating weight loss and managing other lifestyle diseases like diabetes and obesity.
Iron deficiency anaemia affects countless Indian men, women and children every year, leading to excessive fatigue and low productivity levels. Ragi is a powerhouse of iron, serving as a boon for people who experience low haemoglobin levels in the blood, thus effectively treating anaemia. Also Read: Anemia: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Boosts Nervous System Function
Eating ragi in controlled portions on a daily basis assists in enhancing nerve impulse conduction, activating memory centres in the brain and relaxing the mind, due to elevated levels of the amino acid tryptophan. As the tryptophan brings about an equilibrium in the levels of serotonin – a neurotransmitter, ragi helps in treating anxiety and insomnia, by maintaining good moods and promoting sound sleep.
Augments 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. Furthermore, the abundance of dietary fibers and vitamin B3 or niacin helps to enhance good HDL levels and diminish bad LDL levels. This averts plaque and fatty deposits in heart vessels, easing cardiac muscle function and improving heart health.
Ragi For Pregnancy And Lactation
Sprouting some ragi grains overnight and consuming them the next morning has massive benefits for the health of pregnant and lactating women. Due to the immense iron and calcium content in ragi, it is ideal to stimulate milk production and balance hormonal activities in expecting women and young mothers.
Contributes Towards Child’s Nutritional Needs
The comprehensive nutritional content in ragi makes it a perfect food for meeting a growing child’s ever-expanding nutrient requirements. A kanji or malt made with ragi flour is often fed to infants and young kids, particularly as a weaning food in the southern states of India. Owing to its starchy content, ragi does increase weight in young children, assisting in their routine development.
Ragi For IBS
IBS refers to irritable bowel syndrome, a commonly occurring intestinal disorder that causes unbearable pain along with abnormal bowel movements, diarrhoea, flatulence and constipation.
Ragi is blessed with the goodness of dietary fibers, with quantities higher than many other kinds of cereal such as wheat, barley and oats. Eating foods with increased fiber content positively influences bowel movement, regulating faecal bulk and promotes optimal passage of food and other materials within the intestines. In this manner, consuming a meal with ragi porridge for breakfast stimulates healthy metabolism, remedies IBS symptoms and even assists in averting the risk of colon cancer.
Ragi In Ayurveda:
Ragi is an age-old nutrient-dense crop, that defined the agrarian scenario and food culture in several ancient civilizations. Its therapeutic applications are hence, of a tremendous magnitude, in Ayurveda - the traditional Indian system of medicine. The olden Ayurvedic scriptures praise the healing potential of ragi, in successfully battling hypertension or high blood pressure, averting cancer, treating depression and remedying liver disorders.
Effect On Doshas
Ragi, in essence, has a madhura rasa (sweet taste) with intrinsically laghu and ruksha gunas (light and dry qualities). It possesses ushna virya (heating potency), balancing the kapha (earth and water) dosha (element) while excessively influencing pitta (fire and water) and vata (air and ether) doshas. Moreover, it fosters the positive and equalizing states of mind namely sattva and rajas, effectively eliminating tamas or a negative mindset.
Lowers High Blood Pressure
Being rich in dietary fibers, ragi flushes out Ama toxins from improperly processed foods and hence circumvents them from getting clogged in blood vessels namely arteries, veins and capillaries. The unobstructed transport of blood and nutrients to and from the heart is thus facilitated, lowering high blood pressure i.e. hypertension.
Remedies Liver Dysfunction
Ragi is heaped with antioxidants, which provide for the prompt removal of harmful free radicals from the system, especially in the liver and gallbladder. In this manner, a balance between the bodily tridoshic states is attained wherein all unwanted fatty accumulations are wiped out of the body, ensuring healthy liver function.
Ameliorates Depression Symptoms
Comprising neurotransmitter regulating properties, ragi efficiently boosts the positive state of mind - sattva and suppresses lethargy or tamas. This works wonders in uplifting moods, sharpening the intellect and rehabilitating the brain from depression symptoms.
Ragi Uses For Skin And Hair:
Aside from being a panacea for practically every illness bothering the internal organs in the body, ragi flour also enhances the external appearance by revitalizing skin and strengthening hair. This is chiefly owing to its amazingly high amino acid content and potent antioxidants. Moreover, the slightly coarse attribute of ragi flour makes it a wonderful exfoliating agent, that completely removes dead cells from the face, body and scalp, apart from providing a refreshing look and radiant glow to skin and hair.
Supplies Anti-Aging Benefits
The seed coat of ragi grains is composed of phenolic acids and flavonoids - two classes of antioxidants that are excellent free radical terminators with remarkable anti-ageing properties. This promotes new skin cell formation, concealing fine lines and wrinkles. In addition, the vast reserves of amino acids in ragi help boost collagen, maintaining suppleness and smoothness of the skin.
Applying a herbal mask of ragi with some milk and honey or other natural infusions is a superb solution to get rid of suntan, UV ray damage and irregular skin complexion, due to the skin-tightening, protective and rejuvenating traits of ragi.
Ragi is imbued with tannins, which are plant compounds with anti-inflammatory qualities. Thus, it aids in decreasing acne, pimples and boils, besides brushing away dark spots and scars.
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. This controls hair fall and averts premature greying and balding.
Ragi possesses innumerable essential amino acids and carotenoids that confer useful hair growth and anti-microbial characteristics when applied as a herbal paste to dandruff-prone scalp. It soothes the hair roots or follicles, thereby repairing damaged scalp as well as dry and brittle hair, besides guaranteeing relief from incessant itching
Ragi is a very advantageous cereal crop, that can be taken by people of all ages. It is indeed a super-food, abounding in all the essential nutrients, including dietary fibers, proteins, iron, calcium, antioxidants and vitamins, besides being gluten-free and hence safe for those with specific cereal and gluten allergies.
Nevertheless, like all other foods, ragi must also be eaten only in moderation, to avoid any adverse effects from cropping up in the body. When consumed in carefully measured proportions, finger millet or ragi could help in averting instances of malnutrition and degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis, arthritis and Alzheimer’s.
Incorporate this nourishing food crop, as sprouted seeds or in the form of ragi flour, to effortlessly prepare standard Indian recipes like rotis, dosas and halwas, to obtain the wonderful benefits it provides for both, physical and mental health.
Interesting and tasty Ragi Foods you can add to your daily diet