You must have heard about the health benefits of Ragi from elders. Ragi, an ultimate superfood is also known as finger millet or nachni. In many parts of South India, ragi is a common staple food item.
Since ancient times, Ragi has been overshadowed by other cereal crops such as rice and wheat in India’s food and nutrition landscape despite being a highly prized healthy grain in ancient agricultural systems dating back over 2000 years. Fortunately, Ragi has made a huge comeback in the last three to four decades because of the extensive research and the UN FAO’s push to include millets in the daily diet to combat malnutrition and a variety of other prevalent diseases.
Since Ragi is high in protein, calcium, iron and amino acids, it is a “Super food”. It is the most commonly used millet for making porridges for babies and infants. Let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of Ragi.
Health benefits of Ragi:
The benefits of Ragi for health are highlighted below:
1. Great source of protein and fiber:
100 grams of Whole Ragi Flour gives 7.29 grams of protein and 16.56 grams of fiber. That is why, it serves as an excellent source of protein for vegetarians. Due to its high fiber content, it prevents overeating and keeps you full for a longer time, which aids in weight loss. The insoluble fiber present in Ragi helps in easy movement of foods in the stomach and adds water into the stool, hence aiding easy digestion and relieving constipation. (Foods for constipation in kids)
2. Calcium rich – promotes healthy bones and teeth:
When compared to other grains, ragi flour is one of the greatest non-dairy calcium sources. Calcium is essential for building strong bones and teeth, as well as for the prevention of a bone-weakening condition called osteoporosis. The sprouting process can increase the calcium content in Ragi by 20 percent. In addition, sprouting reduces the anti-nutritional factors and helps in better absorption of calcium. Hence, nothing beats Ragi when it comes to promoting bone growth in children and adults. (Benefits of calcium in kids)
3. Improves Red blood cells production – PreventS Anemia:
Naturally rich in iron, ragi benefits those with low hemoglobin levels. Also,the vitamin B1 in it helps in the synthesis of red blood cells and generates ATP, which is used by our bodies for energy. Ragi, when sprouted, has significant levels of vitamin C, which improves iron absorption. (Foods rich in iron)
4. Adds great benefit for diabetes:
It is the major benefit of ragi for health. Its higher fibre content lessens the cravings for food. When compared to wheat flour, ragi flour produces a far lower spike in sugar levels. Moreover, ragi is high in magnesium, which helps to improve insulin sensitivity by reducing insulin resistance. When our magnesium levels are too low, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to keep our blood sugar under control.
Ragi is a must-have for anyone on a gluten-free diet or suffering from celiac disease. For chapatis, dosas and some sweets, ragi can readily replace wheat because it is gluten-free. (A guide to a Gluten free diet for kids)
6. Rich in Antioxidants:
Other health benefits of ragi include its antioxidant property. Ragi is rich in antioxidants which prevents oxidation and fights against infections. Also, being a rich source of amino acids, it aids the body’s natural ability to relax.You can efficiently combat depression, headaches and insomnia, as well as anxiety and stress, by consuming ragi. (Why do we need antioxidants)
7. great pick for the little ones and new moms:
The health benefits of ragi makes it a great choice for infants and new moms. As well as aiding with their digestion, it also strengthens their bones and promotes their overall growth. Ragi is great for stimulating milk production and balancing hormonal processes in pregnant women and young moms due to its high iron and calcium content.
8. Promotes healthy skin:
Ragi is a miracle worker when it comes to keeping youthful skin. As a result of the essential amino acids Methionine and Lysine and vitamins such as Vitamin B3, the skin tissues are less susceptible to wrinkles and aging.
Nutritional information for 100 grams of Ragi flour:
100 grams of Ragi flour gives 385 calories. Below is the nutritional information for 100 grams of ragi flour.
Can ragi be given to your babies?
Because of the benefits of ragi for health, it is the best weaning food for babies after the age of six months. To be clear, it should not be your baby’s first food. Steamed and mashed veggies such as potatoes, apples, etc. should be the first thing on your menu to get started. You can make Ragi malt at home and it is ideal for your child.
How to get the benefits of ragi malt for your baby at home?
The benefits of ragi malt has created interest for a lot of parents in learning how to make ragi malt at home. You can prepare ragi malt for babies in one of two ways.
- Traditionally, ragi grains are milked and dried before being ground into a thin powder. This method is time-consuming and tedious.
- The alternative option is to powder the whole ragi. It is always a good idea to sprout the ragi and prepare a malt. Iron, calcium, vitamins, and minerals are all more abundant in sprouted ragi malt. Soaking and sprouting the ragi grains breaks down the complex proteins into simpler amino acids and lowers the fat level. It’s easier for babies to digest this way. (Soaking and Sprouting- Health benefits)
How much is too much for your baby?
Always start your kid on a smaller bit of new food and increase the amount over three days. It’s safe to feed your infant ragi, as long as the baby hasn’t experienced any adverse reactions, such as loose stools or gastrointestinal discomfort. Do not compel the infant to eat the entire bowl; let him make his own decisions.
Ragi Recipes: Best way to get the benefits of ragi flour
Here are some of the tasty and healthy recipes for your baby:
- RAGI PORRIDGE RECIPE:
- RAGI BANANA PANCAKE RECIPE:
- RECIPE OF CAKE WITH RAGI FLOUR:
There are several health benefits of ragi flour, and it can be consumed by people of any age. Because it has all of the key elements including fibers, proteins, iron and calcium and is gluten-free. It is suitable for those who have specific cereal or gluten allergies to consume.
As with any other food, ragi should be consumed in moderation to avoid any negative effects on the body.
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