Growing up in India, it was common to spot my parents and grandparents consuming ragi in a variety of forms. The benefits of ragi are numerous.
My Father, an Ayurvedic and allopathic physician, often recommended Ragi to his diabetic and malnourished patients. As a diabetic himself, my father regularly incorporated Ragi into his diet. What is Ragi?
Ragi Fun Facts:
- Ragi, also known as Finger millet, African millet or Nachani, is an annual plant widely grown in arid areas of Africa and Asia.
- Ragi is seldom attacked by pests, hence can be grown safely without pesticides.
- It is an economical source of nutrition for developing countries.
Ragi, through the lens of Ayurveda-
Ragi can be soaked, sprouted and milled into flour to make a variety of healthy and nutritious dishes. Ragi flour is easily available in Indian and South Asian grocery stores. Keep Ragi flour in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Use within a month after opening the sealed packet.
5 Things You Should Know About Ragi
- Ragi is a good source of minerals such as Calcium, Iron, Niacin, Thiamin and Riboflavin. In fact, Ragi is a great source of calcium compared to brown rice, corn and wheat.
- Ragi is a rare source of the amino acid Methionoine (low in Vegetarian diet) which is a sulfur based amino acid. Methionoine helps promote growth of healthy skin and hair. Ragi is also a good source of other amino acids such as Valine (repairs tissues, promotes metal calmness), Isoleucine (controls blood sugar, promotes healing of muscle tissues, bones and skin), Threonine (maintains protein levels, formation of tooth enamel prevents fat in the liver), Tryptophan (natural relaxant, helps control weight gain.)
- Ragi is low in fat and a fair source of protein.
- Regular consumption of ragi promotes optimum weight, controls blood sugar and promotes sound mind. Although, high in carbohydrates, ragi takes a while to digest, slowing the absorption of carbs in it. Therefore it is suitable for weight loss.
- Since Ragi is high in calcium, excess consumption can lead to kidney stones. Two-three tablespoons of Ragi flour is safe to consume three times a week.
Ragi and Almond Milk Porridge
- 2 T Ragi Flour
- 1 C unsweetened almond milk (Rice or Cow’s Milk works as well)
- 1 T crushed almonds (or walnuts, cashews etc)
- Pinch of ground ginger and cardamom powder
- Honey or brown sugar to taste
- Pinch of salt (optional)
- Combine ingredients in a medium sauce pan.
- Bring to a boil on a low flame, stirring occasionally to avoid lumps.
- Remove from heat.
- Add honey (or brown sugar) and salt to taste.
- Eat warm.
Note: One can enjoy the Ragi porridge as a breakfast. If eaten in the evening, it can promote sound sleep.