Finger Millets (Ragi)
Finger millet also known as ragi is extensively used in almost all the Southern states and many other parts of India. It is a whole grain and is considered one of the most nutritious cereals. These grains are malted and ground into fine flour. This flour is cooked to thick consistency and after cooling, round balls are made which are known as ragi mudde or ragi sankati in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. ragi mudde is consumed with sabji, sambar or dal. It is staple food in many rural southern parts of India. Now after knowing its health benefits, even people in urban areas are opting for ragi diet.
For bone health: Ragi is beneficial for kids in the development of strong bones. It is helpful even for adult individuals who require consistent supply of calcium for sound development and upkeep of bones. Regular use of ragi can reduce the danger of cracks and osteoporosis to a significant degree.
For diabetes: It is the best food to control diabetes owing to its low glecemix index. It has a higher fiber content as compared to rice and wheat. It also reduces starch digestibility and absorption. One should use ragi along with tomato, cucumber, onion, radish which is high in fiber, to prevent the blood sugar from rising suddenly. The slow digestion rate of ragi releases glucose slowly into the blood.
Reduce cholesterol levels: The amino acids in ragi help decrease the cholesterol levels by eliminating excess fat from the liver. The amino acids are also important in normal functioning of the body and is essential for repairing body tissues. Ragi is also rich in a source of fiber that helps reduce cholesterol level. it has an essential amino acid not found in many cereals is methionine, which is useful in various body processes such as eliminating fats from the body and is also the main provider of sulphur in the body. Sulphur is essential for the production of glutathione which is body’s natural anti-oxidant.
Ragi for relaxation: Being naturally sodium free, makes it better than bread or packaged cereals for hypertensive people. It also helps in relaxing the body naturally and gives a cooling effect to the body.
Controls blood pressure: Eating roasted ragi is a boon for the people suffering from high blood pressure, liver diseases, heart weakness, asthma and for lactating mothers.
Rich in calcium: Ragi is a rich source of calcium. Instead of taking calcium tablets, you can have ragi kanji. You can prepare it by boiling a glass of water; adding a spoonful of ragi powder into it. Now boil it for two minutes and then let it cool. Drink it with a pinch of salt and buttermilk. This will help cool your body as well as boosts up your energy level. This can even be given to kids before they get used to solid food.
Helps in weight loss: Ragi is good for obese people as it satiates hunger and the slow processing rate of the grain allows you to take fewer calories. At the same time it gives you lot of energy. Eating ragi balls in place of rice is considered to be one of the best weight loss-diets.
Some other benefits: Ragi diet is beneficial for those suffering from anemia, degenerative diseases and premature aging. These ragi grains are extremely high in iron and protein, thus providing great gluten free flour. Gluten-free ragi is also a good bread substitute for people with gluten intolerance.
You can prepare ragi Idli, dosa, kanji, roti, upma etc. and enjoy a very nutritious and healthy breakfast.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna