Ragi is an age-old nutrient-dense millet, that is making a significant comeback into desi kitchens, staple cooked meals and regular diet in the 21st century. Thanks to the plethora of health benefits it offers, ranging from enhanced digestion and enriched skin texture to elevating nervous system activity, energy levels and stamina.
A widely cultivated cereal crop in tropical nations of Asia and Africa, ragi bears the scientific name Eleusine coracana. It is locally called “Ragi” in Kannada, Hindi and Telugu, “Nachni” in Marathi, “Madua” in Bengali and “Kezhvaragu” in Tamil. Commercially available ragi is either in the form of nutritious grains or threshed under high pressure and sold as flour.
Ragi displays a rather impressive nutritional profile, encompassing all the essential macronutrients – carbohydrates, fibers, fats and proteins, along with noteworthy levels of key micronutrients – vitamins and minerals. It has negligible levels of cholesterol and sodium, for promoting heart wellness. In addition, ragi contains considerable quantities of vitamins C and E, to boost immunity, skin and hair health.
The B complex vitamins – thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and folic acid as well as calcium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus are also found in ample amounts in ragi flour, truly justifying its status as a wholesome breakfast cereal and a superfood.
Ragi is, in fact, a favourable fibre rich Indian food, that serves as an alternative to other routine cereal and grain crops in the Indian diet regime such as rice, wheat or barley. It has the distinction of being a relatively rare plant source of crucial essential amino acids namely isoleucine, tryptophan, valine, methionine and threonine, thus complementing both vegetarian and vegan diets.
Moreover, the uniqueness and versatility of ragi flour extend into the typical Indian kitchen, where it can easily be incorporated to make staple desi dishes such as upmas, rotis, dosas, idlis, parathas, halwas and kheer. It is truly a nourishing grain for physical fitness and mental wellness.
FROM AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR DR GOVIND SHUKLA, NUTRITION EXPERT
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Govind Shukla, Specializes in Pharmacology, Toxicology, Nutraceuticals & Herbal Drugs has published More than 100 research papers in National & International Journals. He is also a reviewer of International Journal of Pharmacology & pharmacotherapeutics, Chief editor of IJPNR Journal & Freelance Medical Writer for Different publication Groups including Lambert Academic Publishing Saarbrucken, Germany.