Ragi is the common name of Finger Millet in Southern part of India (and known as Nachni in the northern part of India). Along with oats this is one of the most nutritious food and one of the easy one to to digest. It is rich in calcium and protein and also have good amount of iron and other minerals. It is low in fat most of which are unsaturated fats. As any other grains out there it has its shade of good and not so good aspects. Ragi or Nachni is often ground to a fine power and sold and popularly known as Ragi Flour. In this article we will put together all the details Ragi Flour’s Nutritional Value and Health Benefits and what ragi has to offer to us.

To start with we will look at the % share of content of Ragi, second, we will look at the quantity of minerals present and different amino acids present. We will then look at what are the over all health benefits of consuming Ragi or Nachni on a regular basis. Finally we will round it up with comparing Ragi flour to other grains like Wheat, Maize against key staple food ingredients. (check out our article on Health benefits of oatmeal nutrition for weight loss)

 

Ragi Flour Nutritional Value

In this below section depicts the in a typical content in 100 grams of Ragi Flour (edible portion, 12% moisture). Major portion of Ragi Flour is carbohydrate, followed by protein and fiber. It has the least amount of fat in them.

 

Ragi Flour Nutritional Value (Chart)

Content Amount (Typical) Amount (Range)
Carbohydrate 72.6 71.3 – 89.5
Protein 7.7 5.8 – 12.8
Fibre 3.6 3.5 – 3.9
Fat 1.3 1.3 – 2.7

Below is the pie chart which shows the split of above numbers.

Ragi Nutrition Split

Major portion of Ragi Flour is carbohydrate, around 80%. The Fat percentage is quite less which is good. Protein and fiber contents vary but range from less to moderate. 100 grams of Ragi has roughly on an average of 336 KCal of energy in them.

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Minerals

Below table shows typical amount of various minerals present in the Ragi Flour (to be referred as Ragi here after). As you can see in the table that Ragi has high amount of calcium. Calcium is one of the most important ingredients of our body and our daily need is around 350 mg. There are traces of Iron but rest of other minerals are very small.

Ragi Nutrition Chart (Minerals)

Mineral Content Amount
(Typical – mg)
Calcium 350
Iron 3.9
Niacin 1.1
Thiamin 0.42
Riboflavin 0.19

 

Amino Acids

Ragi also has some good number of Essential Amino Acids (EAA) which are essential for human body. Few of the key EAAs which Ragi has are Valine, Methionine, Isoleucine, Threonine and Tryptophan. Below section beiefly explains why these are essential for us

Valine is essential for repair of tissues, muscle coordination and metabolism and also help maintain balance of nitrogen in the body. It also help promote mental calmness and enhance maintain mental vigor.
Isoleucine is essential for ensuring blood formation, keeping a check on blood sugar levels. It also helps heal and repair muscle tissues, bones and skin.
Threonine helps maintain protein levels in the body. It also helps formation of tooth enamel, also prevents formation of fat in the liver.
Tryptophan which act as natural relaxant and help fight anxiety, depression and insomnia. They also help in treating migraine headaches. They reduce excess appetite and help control weight gain; they also release of growth harmones.
Methionoine which is a sulfur based amino acid which is essential for various activities in human body. It is said to help promote growth of healthy skin and hair. The Sulfur which we get from Methionine helps produce a substance called lecithin which helps reduce cholesterol, reduce fat inside the livers and help protect kidneys. This methionine is generally lacking in staple diet of some of the vegetarians and hence regular Ragi intake will help get enough of these amino acids.

Ragi Nutrition Chart (Amino Acids)

Amino Acids Content Amount
(mg/g of protein)
Leucine 594
Valine 413
Phenylalanin 325
Isoleucine 275
Threonine 263
Methionine 194
Tryptophan 191
Lysine 181
Cystine 163

 

Summary of Health Benefits of Ragi Flour

It is easy to get overwhelmed by so many numbers. What we are need to know is how good Ragi is and what health benefits we get by consuming it regularly. So below is a summary of these benefits.

  1. Promote Healthy Eating
  2. Promote Natural Weight Loss
  3. A good Vegan Gluten free source of Protein
  4. Acts as a good baby food due to its rich nutrient content
  5. Great whole grain source of Calcium

Ragi Vs Other Grains (Wheat, Maize, Brown Rice)

Now let us look at How Ragi fairs with other whole grains when it comes to key nutrient content. Below table shows how Ragi (finger millet) stands against other staple grains – Wheat, Maize and Brown Rice.

Ragi Nutrition Chart (Comparison)

Content (grams) Brown Rice Wheat Maize Ragi
Energy (KCal) 362 348 358 336
Carbohydrate 76 71 73 72.6
Protein 7.9 11.6 9.2 7.7
Fibre 1.0 2.0 2.8 3.6
Fat 2.7 2.0 4.6 1.5

We can make out from the chart that Protein content in Ragi is not on the higher side. It is least on Calories, Protein and Fat.

Ragi Nutrition Chart (Mineral Comparison)

Content (mgs) Brown Rice Wheat Maize Ragi
Calcium 33 30 26 350
Iron 1.8 3.5 2.7 3.9
Niacin 4.3 5.1 3.6 1.1
Thiamin 0.41 0.41 0.38 0.42
Riboflavin 0.04 0.1 0.2 0.19

Ragi has very high amount of calcium which are way more than others. The Ragi also have traces of Iron. Other minerals are not present in high numbers

 Verdict

Ragi is a very good to be included as a part of staple diet as it lot of essential nutrients, amino acids and minerals. Add to this is the fact that these have very low amount of fat content and reasonable amount of fibre.

While Ragi is indeed awesome but there is misconception that ragi is good for diabetes patients. As we know, this claim has no scientific basis and in fact it is known to be one of the easiest of the grains to digest. This means that the carbohydrates it has increases the sugar levels faster than other foods like oats.

Excess eating of Ragi could lead to Kidney stones and hence caution is required to ensure moderate eating. This article is a testament of goodness of ragi and including Ragi into diet plan for most people will help a lot.

 

References

1. Finger Millet basics from Wikipedia.org
2. Finger Millet Facts and statistics from blackherbals.com
3. Essential Amino Acids and its need from Realtime.net