Finger Millet, also known as Ragi, is one of the most nutritious, vitamin-packed and super-affordable staple foods available in India. You may know it as Nachni in Hindi, Kezhvaragu or Keppai in Tamil or even Mandiaa in Odia.
What Vitamins are there in ragi?
Ragi is one of the most nutritious superfoods available in India. Its major constituents are Vitamin A, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B9 (Folate), Calcium, Phosphorous, Iron and Potassium.
But sadly, research shows that despite Ragi’s rich nutrient profile, it’s consumption is very low amongst the urban Indians. I think it’s high time we change this and for that, we need to understand all the Vitamins and minerals present in Ragi and how is it good for our health.
Read on to find out the mind-blowing health benefits of Ragi, its vitamin and mineral contents and why is it super-beneficial for you and your family’s health.
Why should you consume Ragi more often? (Health Benefits of Ragi/Finger Millet)
Ragi is really a power-house of nutrients. A 2016 study states that Ragi has as anti-diabetic, anti-diarrheal, antiulcer, anti-inflammatory, antitumorigenic (anti-tumour), atherosclerogenic effects, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
If that wasn’t enough, here are a few more reasons why you must include Ragi in your diet regularly:
- Ragi is a much better alternative for rice and wheat if you want to lose weight.
- The high fibre content in Ragi helps prevent many diseases.
- It helps to reduce bad cholesterol.
- Ragi can help you prevent diabetes.
- If you are suffering from digestive problems, then having more Ragi can help you get rid of them quickly.
- Ragi can help you get better skin and hair.
- It is packed with amino-acids which are known to slow down your ageing process.
- For people suffering from gluten intolerance, Ragi can be the best alternative for wheat rotis and parathas as it is gluten-free.
- Ragi promotes healthy bones and teeth.
- The antioxidant and amino acid content in Ragi helps to keep many mental health issues at bay.
- It also helps in preventing anaemia because of its high iron content.
Fun fact: Did you know? Various studies show that genetic manipulation on Finger millet or Ragi crops is much more viable than other sources. In fact, this 2017 study calls Ragi as “A “Certain” Crop for an “Uncertain” Future and a Solution to Food Insecurity and Hidden Hunger under Stressful Environments”.
Wanna know easy ways to include Ragi in your diet? Here are 14 quick and easy Ragi recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.
What are the Vitamins present in Ragi?
Here is a list of Vitamin present in Ragi and their awesome benefits:
1. Vitamin A
Ragi contains Vitamin A’s precursor form known as Carotene. Our body then converts this Carotene into a usable form of Vitamin A.
Vitamin A has numerous health benefits like:
- Regulation of our immune system
- Helps with bone and teeth development
- It is vital for hair growth
- It also plays a very important role in our eyes by maintaining the sensory cells in it.
2. Vitamin B1 – Thiamine
Ragi also consists of Vitamin B1 which affects nearly every cell of our body because it is used to convert food into energy.
Vitamin B1 helps with:
- It is used as a co-enzyme for metabolizing food for energy.
- It also helps maintain proper heart and nerve functions.
Thus, Thiamine is vital for various important functions of our body.
3. Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin
Riboflavin, also present in Ragi, plays the role of an antioxidant in our body.
Benefits of Vitamin B2 are:
- Its boosts our energy
- It maintains healthy blood cells
- And it also protects our skin and eyes
4. Vitamin B3 – Niacin
Ragi contains Vitamin B3 which is also very beneficial in the following ways:
- It helps with our brain function
- It’s important for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system
- Vitamin B3 promotes healthy skin formation
5. Vitamin B9 – Folate
Ragi also contains Vitamin B9 or folic acid which helps with:
- It helps the body make new cells by playing a role in synthesizing and copying DNA
- It helps our body utilize Vitamin B12 and various amino acids which also play a very important role in our body’s functioning.
- Folate or folic acid is considered very important for pregnant ladies and hence having ragi during pregnancy time can be very helpful.
What are the Minerals present in Ragi?
Ragi has a whopping 344mg of Calcium content per 100g which is approximately half the amount of Calcium recommended to us daily. In fact, Ragi contains the maximum amount of Calcium amongst all cereals and millets.
Calcium literally constitutes 2% of your total body weight!! Hence our body needs it in high quantities.
So if you are finding ways to get more Calcium in your food then you definitely shouldn’t overlook Ragi.
Calcium is very very important for:
- Our bone and teeth health. Calcium deficiency caused brittle bones and other problems like arthritis.
- Calcium is needed to regulate heart rhythms
- It also aids in many muscle functions in our body
- Regulates blood pressure and cholesterol levels
Phosphorous is another macromineral present in Ragi. It is also the 2nd most abundant mineral in our body. It actually constitutes 1% of our body weight.
Functions of phosphorous are:
- It is involved in numerous cellular activities that take place in the brain, heart, kidneys and liver. These activities help to keep our body functioning properly.
- Phosphorous helps in naturally balancing all the hormones in our body
- It also helps to absorb other nutrients from our food
- It is also vital to keep our mental health in good condition
Iron, as we all know, is one for the most important microminerals. And did you know that iron deficiency is the most common deficiency occurring in the world?
Here are a few really critical functions of Iron:
- Low production of red blood cells and haemoglobin causes anaemia which is very very common amongst women and can cause serious health issues. And having an Iron rich diet helps in preventing anaemia.
- Iron supports the process of energy distribution in our body as it helps the Oxygen molecules reach to each and every cell in our body.
- It also helps with metabolic enzyme processes that the body carries out to absorb nutrients and digest proteins from our food.
Another major constituent of Ragi is Potassium. It is again a macromineral which is found in abundance in our body and its deficiency can cause severe health problems to us.
Potassium is vital because:
- Like phosphorous, potassium is required for various cellular activities like creating nerve impulses and regulating heart rhythms
- Potassium is the mineral that allows muscle contraction which in turn prevents muscle aches
- It combines with Sodium in our body to perform many bodily functions
- Potassium is also important for good digestive health
- It also helps in boosting our energy levels.
|Principle||Nutritional Value per 100g|
|Total Fat||1.3 g|
|Vitamin B1 – Thiamine||0.42 mg|
|Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin||0.19 mg|
|Vitamin B3 – Niacin||1.1 mg|
|Vitamin A||0.48 mg|
Common FAQs on Ragi:
Can we eat ragi daily?
Yes, Ragi can easily replace our daily staple foods of rice or wheat. Check out this article to view a comparison chart of rice Vs wheat Vs Ragi.
Is ragi rich in iron?
Yes, Ragi contains 3.9mg of iron per 100g. This is almost 20 to 40% of our daily recommended intake of Iron.
Is ragi good for health?
Yes, Ragi is a powerhouse of vital nutrients and here are some of its health benefits:
1. Ragi is a much better alternative for rice and wheat if you want to lose weight.
2. The high fibre content in Ragi helps prevent many diseases.
3. It helps to reduce bad cholesterol.
4. Ragi can help you prevent diabetes.
5. If you are suffering from digestive problems, then having more Ragi can help you get rid of them quickly.
6. Ragi can help you get better skin and hair.
7. It is packed with amino-acids which are known to slow down your ageing process.
8. For people suffering from gluten intolerance, Ragi can be the best alternative for wheat rotis and parathas as it is gluten-free.
9. Ragi promotes healthy bones and teeth.
10. The antioxidant and amino acid content in Ragi helps to keep many mental health issues at bay.
11. It also helps in preventing anaemia because of its high iron content.
Is ragi better than rice?
Ragi can be a much healthier alternative to rice if you want to lose weight, or if you want to have a more calcium-rich diet, or if you want to have a more fibre-rich diet or if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic.
Is ragi better than wheat?
Ragi can be a much healthier alternative to wheat if you want to lose weight. You can replace your daily rotis and parathas with ragi rotis and ragi parathas.
Is ragi difficult to digest?
No, Ragi is really easily digestible than other millets and cereals because of its very high fibre content.
Does ragi contain Vitamin D?
No, Ragi does not contain Vitamin D in it.
Does ragi increase weight?
If consumed in moderate quantity, Ragi doesn’t increase weight. In fact, Ragi can rather help you lose weight more quickly because of its high fibre content.
By now, I hope that you have been convinced to include more Ragi in your diet and try out more and more Ragi recipes. The endless list of health benefits of Ragi has made me include it in my diet more often and I suggest you do the same too for leading a healthier life.
How often do you and your family consume Ragi and in which form do your have it? Do let us know in the comments below if you have any yummy Ragi recipes to share!