Benefits of Finger Millet are aplenty. Finger Millet is known as Ragi or Ragulu in Indian languages. Also, Finger Millet or Ragulu has amazing health beneficial properties. The first and the foremost property is Finger Millet keep people young, hale and hearty. It keeps the body’s temperature cool. Finger Millet is famous worldwide as the best source of nutritional food. It keeps several diseases at bay. It prolongs the aging process and keeps the blood sugar levels in check, sustains the strength in bones. Finger Millet (1) is easy on the digestive system. Finger Millet is a wonderful antioxidant agent. Oxidants cause cancer and therefore Finger Millet act as a deterrence to cancer.
The Benefits of Finger Millet or Ragi is also very effective in losing weight. It’s good for anemia(2). It lowers blood cholesterol and therefore good for cardiovascular (3) patients. You can beat malnutrition and degenerative diseases with Finger Millet. By all means, Finger Millet is found to be the most effective source of diet in keeping several diseases at bay. Finger Millet is best compared to foxtail millet and after Kodo millet.
What Research Says About Finger Millet
Several research studies suggest that the benefits of Finger Millet have turned people over to the millet diet. Because it keeps humans healthy and robust even if taken as a single meal per day. For instance, a Study titled, The Lost Crops of Africa (4) found out that Ugandan and Sudanese people are found to be in sound and robust health despite being on a single meal diet. The reason, the study says, these people consume Finger Millets or Ragi or Ragulu.
What Finger Millet Contain
Finger Millet contains very high protein content and is very rich in minerals and high fiber content. It has calcium, iron, potassium, etc. Especially, Finger Millet has, approx 5 to 30 times of high calcium content, then found in other cereals. Finger Millet also has cysteine, tryptophan, and methionine; the three which keeps the body in good health.
Nutritional Value of Finger Millet Per Every 100g
- Protein 7.6g
- Fat 1.5g
- Carbohydrate 88g
- Calcium 370mg
- Vitamins – A: 0.48mg
- Thiamine (B1): 0.33mg
- Riboflavin (B2): 0.11mg
- Niacin: (B3) 1.2mg
- Fiber 3g
The History of Finger Millet
Since the Benefits of Finger Millet has caught the imagination of the people across the nations, it is better to delve into the history of Finger millet. The finger millet is a peasant crop and is said to have originated in East Africa in Ethiopian and Ugandan highlands some around 5000 years ago, and has come to India around 3000 years ago. Today India stands second in the cultivation of Finger Millet after African countries. Finger Millet seeds are globose in shape and 2mm approx long in size weighing up to 3mg. They come in light brown to dark brown or purple color.
The Storage Capacity
This Finger Millet is known as Ragi or Ragulu in Indian languages and Wimbe in the East African language. The English names are coracana, birdsfoot, or African millet. Once harvested, Finger millet can be stored for up to 10 years unthreshed. It is said, in good storage conditions, finger millet can stay fresh and undecayed for some 50 years. This long storage capacity makes the finger millet the most popular famine-crop in times of drought and famine conditions. It has amazing malting qualities with increasing use in the food processing industry, making it a commercially viable crop. There are other millet crops too. They are Pearl Millet or Bajra, Foxtail Millet or Korralu, Proso Millet or Chena, Sorghum-Jowar are some of the top millet. Each millet type is unique in its sense and has high nutritional values.
Different Names in Indian languages
- English: Finger Millet
- Hindi: Mandika, Nachani, Mundua
- Telugu: Raagulu, Ragi
- Kannada: Ragi
- Tamil: Keppai, Ragi, Kelvaragu
- Bengali: Marwa
- Marathi: Nagli, Naachni
- Gujarathi: Nagli, Bavto
- Oriya: Mandia
The Beneficial Aspects of Finger Millet
Diabetes happens to be the biggest tormentor of people around the world. Finger Millet is said to be the best diet to lower and control blood sugar levels and hyperglycemia and oxidative stress in a diabetic patient. The phytochemicals (5) in Finger Millet help slow down the process of digestion. Finger millet is said to have the healing properties of wounds in diabetic patients. healing has also shown promise in accelerating wound healing among diabetics.
Finger Millet controls weight and further reduces weight as it contains an amino acid called Tryptophan (6), which helps in lowering appetite which in turn results in weight control. The fiber content in Finger Millet gives the feeling of fullness having a contented meal, which in turn helps in controlling the excessive intake of calories.
Lowering Blood Cholesterol:
Lecithin and Methionine, the two amino acids in Finger Millet help in reducing cholesterol levels by way of removing excess fat from the Liver. Finger Millet also contains Threonine amino acid (7) in Finger Millet blocks fat formation in the liver thus controlling cholesterol levels in the body.
The high calcium content in Finger Millet helps strengthen bones. Finger Millet is highly recommended as vital food for growing children and people who are aging as it helps in the development process of bones in growing children and keeps the bones robust and strong in aging people. Finger Millet keeps osteoporosis (8) and other bone-related diseases at bay thus reducing the risk of fractures to bones.
Finger Millet has tremendous content of natural iron. Finger Millet consumption helps in a condition of Anemia.
As Relaxing Agent:
Finger Millet diet keeps the body in relaxing condition getting rid of migraines, depression, anxiety, and sleeplessness.
Repairing Body Tissues:
The amino acids such as Isoleucine, Methionine, Valine, Tryptophan and Threonine containing in Finger Millet help in repairing body tissues, improvises skin health, blood formation, bone formation. It also helps in muscle coordination, fat reduction; and provides sulfur called Glutathione (9), which is the body’s natural antioxidant. Finger Millet further keeps prevents premature aging, malnutrition and degenerative diseases at bay.
Other Health Conditions:
Finger Millet of Green variety is said to be good for controlling blood pressure levels, heart diseases, liver disorders, asthma, and several other illnesses. Green Finger Millet is also good for lactating mothers, wherein it improvises the milk production in a mother. That’s the impact of the benefits of finger millet on illnesses and diseases.
Finger Millet in Recipes
To stay fit, hale and healthy in every sense one should include Finger Millet in their daily diet. To make consuming Finger Millet there are hundreds of Finger Millet recipes that make enjoying Finger Millet’s great fun. Some of the few recipes are Finger Millet Dosa or Ragi Dosa, Ragi Porridge, Ragi Poha, Ragi Roti, Ragi Idli, Ragi Upma, and many more with the combination of various vegetables.
1. Finger Millet / Ragi Dosa
- 3 cups Finger Millet or Ragi Flour
- 5 Green Chillies Chopped Finely
- Some Finely Chopped Coriander Leaves
- Salt as required.
Take a bowl. Add Finger Millet Flour. Add water, green chilies, coriander, salt, and mix thoroughly to make a thinner batter that should be spreadable on a flat pan or tava. Heat the pan. Pour the batter on the pan and spread it in a round shape with the help of a small bowl’s bottom. Sprinkle some oil while it is cooking. Let it cook till it turns light brown and then turn it upside down to cook at the other end too. It just takes a minute to cook both sides. Remove it and turn it with pickles or chutney or hot sambhar.
2. Finger Millet / Ragi Idli
- 4 cups Finger Millet /Ragi
- 1 Cup Brown Rice, 1 cup Urad Dal, 1 Cup Poha
- 1 Tsp Methi Dana (Fenugreek Seeds)
- Salt to taste
Take Finger Millet, Brown Rice, Urad Dal. Wash and soak in water for 6 hours. Soak Poha only in the last half hour. Grind the mixture to a bit coarse adding a little bit of water to it. Leave the coarse batter overnight for 9 hours to ferment. Add salt after good fermentation. If you want finely chopped vegetables, you can add carrot, cabbage, tomatoes carrot, etc. Take out idli plates. Idli Plates have grooves. Grease the grooves with oil. Then put Finger Millet Idli batter into the grooves. Put the lid and let it steam for 10 to 15 minutes. Lo, your finger millet idlis are ready. Serve it with pickles, chutney or sambhar.
3. Finger Millet / Ragi Roti
- 4 Cups of Finger Millet / Ragi Roti
- 1 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
- 4 Finely Chopped Green Chillies
- 2 Cups Grated Coconut
- Some Drum Stick Leaves (Moringa) – If Needed
- 2 Carrots Finely Chopped – If Needed
- 1 Cup Coriander Leaves
- Salt to Taste
- Oil to Grease the Rotis
Take the Finger Millet Flour. Mix all other onion, green chilies, grated coconut, drum stick leaves, carrots, coriander leaves, and a couple of teaspoons of oil and salt to taste. Add water to the mixture and knead it until it becomes a medium dough. Roll it with a roller-pin or with a hand and heat it on a pan. Grease the roti with oil or ghee. Let it burn light brown. Then turn it over and similarly heat the other side too. Serve hot with pickles, chutney or sambhar.
4. Finger Millet / Ragi Malt
- ½ kg Ragi Grains
Soak Finger Millet or Ragi Grains overnight or for 12 hours. Take a thin muslin cloth. Put the soaked Ragi Grains in it. Leave it for a couple of days allowing them to sprout. Let this sprouted Finger Millet Grains dry in the sun. Thereafter roast it on a simmering flame. Allow it to cool for 15 minutes. Then grind this sprouted Finger Millet to a fine powder. Boil the water in a bowl. Add this Finger Millet powder and salt to taste. Add a pinch of pepper powder if you like. Cook this mixture again over a light flame for 5 minutes. Serve hot with buttermilk or yogurt.