Finger Millet

  • Commonly called Ragi in India, this millet is a staple food for the rural folk of south India. Ragi is mentioned in India by the ancient Sanskrit writers who refer to it as ‘Rajika’.
  • It is suggested that Eleusine coracana is a cultigen of the wild species Eleusine indica (l.) Gaertn, was domesticated by the early man in India.
  • It was under-cultivated before Aryans reached the Indian peninsula.

Health Benefits of Finger Millet

  • Finger millet is an excellent source of natural calcium which helps in strengthening bones for growing children and aging people. Regular consumption of finger millet is good for bone health keeps diseases such as osteoporosis at bay and could reduce the risk of fracture.
  • It is now established that phytates, polyphenols and tannins can contribute to the antioxidant activity of millet foods, which is an important factor in health, aging and metabolic diseases.
  • Finger millet’s phytochemicals help in slowing digestion process. This helps in controlling blood sugar levels in conditions of diabetes. It has been found that a finger millet-based diet helps diabetics as it contains higher fibre than rice and wheat. Also, the study found that a diet based on whole-finger millet has a lower glycemic response i.e. lower ability to increase blood sugar levels. This is due to the presence of factors in finger millet flour which lower digestibility and absorption of starch.
  • Because of its high nutritional content ragi flour is recommended as a weaning food, especially in the southern parts of India.
  • Finger millet is a very good source of natural Iron and its consumption helps in the recovery of Anemia. The Ragi-based foods are highly suited for expectant mothers and the elderly due to their high calcium and iron content.
  • Finger millet consumption helps relax the body naturally. It is beneficial in conditions of anxiety, depression and insomnia. It is also useful for migraines. Green ragi (finger millet) is recommended for conditions of blood pressure, liver disorders, asthma and heart weakness.
  • Green ragi is also recommended for lactating mothers in conditions of lack of milk production.
  • If consumed regularly, finger millet could help in keeping malnutrition, degenerative diseases and premature aging at bay.
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