Our very own age old Ragi (Finger Millet) is becoming popular again.
History repeats itself. It is chotta damdar powerhouse is full of innumerable health benefits.
Eleusine coracana, or finger millet, is an annual herbaceous plant widely grown as a cereal crop in the arid and semiarid areas in Africa and Asia.
The generic name Eleusine is derived from the Greek goddess of cereals, “Eleusine” while the common name finger millet indicates “finger-like” branching.
In India finger millet is commonly called by various names like Ragi (in Kannada, Telugu and Hindi), also Mandau/Mangal in Hindi, Kodra (Himachal Pradesh), Mandia (Oriya), Taidalu (in Telangana region), Kezhvaragu in Tamil.
But my question is why this magical seed was lost? Everything comes with a price tag. Isn’t it? Green evolution acted as a pivot in the revolution of growth and development of entire world.
Aftermath of this green revolution is that most of the world population has started depending upon cereals as their staple food. Wheat, rice and corn have been the preferred cereals, whereas millet have largely been neglected.
Global climate change together with the rapid increase in population has put considerable pressure on agriculture sector. The demand of producing more food from less land.
The anticipated increase in temperature has mostly affected the hot tropics, developing populated countries. And they are likely to suffer maximum loss in food production.
Even in temperate regions, several strategies need to be devised for the adaptation of agricultural crops against erratic climate conditions such as changing temperature, erratic rainfall, and onset of severe floods and droughts.
A key issue is whether we will be able to feed the projected global population of 9 billion in 2050 equitably, healthily and sustainably.
One of the solutions to food insecurity and hidden hunger under stressful Environments would be including of millet in the Diet.
Millet is also called” Famine crop”. As the names signifies.
- It survives on soils of low fertility.
- It helps small-scale farmers
- It can be used in inter cropping systems (with maize, sorghum and/or legumes) to generate extra income.
- It produces reasonable yields under low input crop production systems.
- It can be stored for up to two years without harmful pesticides, acting as a food reserve during the lean season.
Its excellent malting qualities, increasing its use in food processing.
Nutritive value of finger millet
Finger millet contains about
1–2% ether extractives,
15–20% dietary fiber
5–3.5% minerals .
It has the highest calcium content among all cereals (344 mg/100 g).
Benefits of Ragi
1. Rich in calcium:
It is the only non daily source of calcium.100 gms of Ragi contains 344 mg of calcium. Calcium is required for healthy bones and teeth and in the prevention of osteoporosis – a disease which weakens the bones.
2 Excellent food for kids
It is extremely beneficial for growing kids and can be given in the form of Ragi Porridge, Energy drink. Now even snacks like
biscuits, cookies are also made from them.
3. Helps in Controlling Diabetes:
It is low in Glycemic index so it is good for people suffering from diabetes. Its outer coat is abundant in polyphenols and dietary fibres. It helps in controlling sugar.
4. Helps in Battling Anemia:
It is rich in iron and thus a boon for anaemic patients and also for those with low haemoglobin levels. Once Ragi is allowed to sprout, so the Vitamin C levels tend to increase and lead to easy absorption of iron into the bloodstream.
5. Helps in weight loss:
The high amount of dietary fibre combine keeps the stomach full for a longer and prevents unwanted cravings.
6. Boon for fitness& sports enthusiasts:
Ragi malt or Ragidrink or Ragi balls
are wonderful nutritional supplements. It can be included pre workout meal. It is energy boaster before and in-between a sport event.
7. Helps in Mental Health:
It Relaxes the Body. Regular consumption of Ragi is highly beneficial in dealing with conditions of anxiety, depression and insomnia. The presence of antioxidants, mainly Tryptophan and amino acids, helps as they work as natural relaxants
Old is Gold. Finger millet is proving this proverb right. Along with nutritional value finger millet has ability to tolerate stresses and resist pathogens.
We are what we eat. So this magical millet makes us resistant from the invasion of infections and hence helping us to build a healthy individual and nation.