Amazing Health Benefits of Finger Millet (Ragi) & Nutritional Composition

Finger millet is also known as ragi; it is one of the important millet that grows in the various regions in Africa and India. The scientific name of this whole grain is Eleusine coracana. This grain ranks sixth place after the production of wheat, rice, corn, sorghum, and bajra in India. This millet belongs to the family of Poaceae, and it is commonly known as the grass family. It is widely consumed in developing countries throughout Asia and Africa. The few popular common names of this finger millet are Koracan, Coracan, Raggee corn, Korakan, African Finger millet, African millet, goosegrass, ragi, caracan millet, wild finger millet, ragi millet, Indian millet, and rapoko grass. The nutrition profile of this finger millet is similar to the sorghum and other cereals. This ragi millet is gluten-free, and it has a high level of fiber, protein, and antioxidant. In India, some delicious recipes are prepared by using ragi, such as cookies, ragi laddus, and pagodas.

Common Names of Finger Millet

Botanical Name: Eleusine Coracana

English Name: Finger Millet

Tamil Name: Kezhvaragu

Telugu Name: Gagalu

Malayalam Name: Mothari

Kannada Name: Ragi

Hindi Name: Madua

Marathi Name: Nachni

Gujarati Name: Bhava

Bengali Name: Madua

Punjabi Name: Mandhuka, mandhal

Oriya Name: Mandia

History of Finger Millet

The scientific name of the finger millet is eleusine coracana, it is commonly found in the warm temperate regions of the world from Africa to India, and also it can be found in Australia and Japan.

The plant is present in the archaeological record before 5000 years in the ancient African and Indian agriculture, and now it originated in the area of Uganda.

It is an essential plant that grows in most of India, and also it is cultivated in southern and eastern Africa from the iron age.

It was a staple crop before maize introduced in the south of the African region. The olden record about this crop is from the African archaeological site from the 8th century AD.

Benefits of Finger Millet

Control Diabetes

Regular consumption of ragi helps to reduce the risk of diabetes because this millet has a high level of polyphenols and dietary fiber. When compared to the wheat, rice, or any other grain, this finger millet has a high amount of fiber.

The high amount of fiber in the finger millet helps to slow down the digestion speed, which helps to lower the blood sugar level.

It also helps to lower the GI so that it is an ideal choice to avoid late-night food cravings and helps to maintain the blood sugar level in the safest range.

Reduce the Risk of Anemia

Finger millet is a great source of iron so that it is a boon for the anemia patients and the person who has a low hemoglobin level.

Once consuming the finger millet, it increases Vitamin C in our body, and it helps to the easy absorption of iron in the bloodstream. For the optimum absorption of iron, you can eat this finger millet in the form of balls or dosa with vegetables.

Prevent Skin Aging

The finger millet is not only maintaining the proper health, and also it helps to keep you young and vitality of the skin. The finger millet has a high amount of antioxidants and phenolic, which helps to block premature aging.

It is used as the most efficient anti-aging natural drink. The essential methionine, amino acid, and lysine are present in this cereal; it helps to maintain the collagen in the skin.

The collagen is the substance that supports the skin tissues to make the skin lively, and it helps to make them less sagging and prone to wrinkles.

Anti-cancer Property

Nowadays, antioxidants are becoming more essential to maintain health. The finger millet is rich in the antioxidant properties; it helps to prevent excess oxidation. It may cause aging and cancer because of cell damages.

The finger millet seed coats have the flavonoids, phenolic acid, and tannins, which is more important for the antioxidant property.

Usually, the people in the millet-based diet use finger millet rather than the maize or wheat diets to reduce the possibilities of esophageal cancer.

Improve Bone Health

Finger millets have a good source of calcium, and it helps to join the bones. Calcium is essential nutrition for the aging person and growing children.

Consuming the finger millet helps to the bone development of growing children, and it helps to maintain bone strength in adults. Consuming the finger millet also helps to keep away the ailments, such as osteoporosis and reduce the risk of bone fracture.

Consuming the finger millet as a healthy drink in summer days will provide the strength and cooling effect on our body.

Increase Lactation

Finger millet has excellent nutrition for the new mothers, which helps to improve the hemoglobin levels. Nutritionists recommended lactating mothers to consume finger millet in their daily diet that helps increase milk production.

The finger millet has also fertilized the milk with the essential minerals, such as calcium, iron, and vital amino acids that helps to improve the child’s and mother’s health.

Helps Digestion

The finger millet has a rich amount of dietary fiber that helps the normal bowel function, proper digestion, and it prevents constipation.

The insoluble fiber in the finger millet aids the movement of food through the intestines, as well as, the insoluble fiber keeps the water for the easy passage of the waste.

Adding this finger millet in your daily diet will help the proper digestive system, and it reduces the risk of constipation and other digestive problems.

Relaxes the body

Regularly consuming the finger millet is extremely beneficial and it is dealing with depression, anxiety, and insomnia conditions.

The amino acid and tryptophan are the main component for the antioxidant property that helps the natural body relaxation. A study conducted by Medindia in 2000 proves that the finger millet also helps to treat migraines.

Reduce bad cholesterol

Finger millets are a wonderful grain for bringing down the bad cholesterol level in our blood; it is one of the best home remedies for a healthy heart.

It will control the bad cholesterol level by reducing the formation of plaque; it prevents the blockage of blood vessels and reduces the risk of stroke and other heart problems.

The lecithin, amino acid, and methionine of the finger millet play a key role in lowering the cholesterol, and it extracts the excess amount of fat from the liver.

The threonine and amino acid in the finger millet helps to avoid the formation of fat in the liver. The unripe green finger millet also helps to control hypertension and high blood pressure.

Helps in Weight Loss

The finger millet has a high amount of dietary fiber, which helps to make your stomach full for a long time and prevent unwanted craving. It helps to reduce appetite and weight loss.

The finger millet flour helps to maintain the insulin level so that it reduces the blood sugar level in the body. Consuming the finger millet in the morning time will make you full for the whole day.

Perfect for a gluten-free diet

The finger millet is a gluten-free grain so that it is a suitable choice for the people who have celiac disease and also those who are following the gluten-free diet. Gluten is a protein that is commonly available in grains, such as barley, wheat, and rye.

The people who have gluten intolerance or celiac disease should avoid these grains because it triggers harmful digestive symptoms like nutrient malabsorption and diarrhea. When you are going to purchase the millet, you have to check the label to ensure it is gluten-free.

Antimicrobial Property

Some researches prove that the finger millet is an act against a lot of bacterias, such as bacillus cereus, which causes food poisoning.

The salmonella bacteria is caused by typhoid, and the staphylococcus aureus bacteria primarily cause some skin and soft tissue infections, such as furuncles, abscesses, and cellulitis. The antimicrobial property of the finger millet helps to fight against these bacterias.

Boost function of Nerves System

Consuming the finger millet in your daily diet will help to enhance the nerve impulse conduction, relaxes the mind, and activates the memory centers in the brain by elevating the amino acid tryptophan level.

The tryptophan of the finger millet helps to equalize the serotonin in the neurotransmitter. Ragi helps to treat insomnia and anxiety for maintaining a good mood and promotes peaceful sleeping.

Finger Millet for IBS

IBS is defined as irritable bowel syndrome, and it is commonly known as an intestinal disorder that causes unbearable pain with diarrhea, constipation, flatulence, and abnormal bowel movement.

Ragi is rich in dietary fiber, and the quantity of the fiber is higher than other grains, such as oats, barley, and wheat.

Consuming the finger millet will increase the fiber quantity in our body; it will positively influence the bowel movement, regulating the fecal bulk, and improve the optimal passage of other minerals in the food.

In this case, consuming the ragi with the meal for morning breakfast helps to stimulate healthy metabolism, an excellent remedy for IBS symptoms, and it helps to reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Nutrition Values of Finger Millets

Nutritional Facts of Finger Millet

The various nutrition contains and the value of 100 grams of finger millet

Carbohydrate72.8 gm
Dietary fiber8.5 gm
Fat4.2 gm
Protein11 gm
Thiamin0.42 mg
Riboflavin0.29 mg
Niacin4.72 mg
Folates85 mcg
Vitamin B60.38 mg
Vitamin E0.05 mg
Vitamin K0.9 mcg
Calcium8 mg
Iron3.01 mg
Magnesium114 mg
Phosphorous285 mg
Sodium5 mg
Zinc1.68 mg
Potassium195 mg
Pantothenic acid0.8 mg
Copper0.7 mg

Rich Source of Minerals

The finger millet is a rich source of minerals. The calcium found in this millet is 5-50 times more than other cereals. It also has a high amount of potassium, phosphorus, and iron. The calcium is an essential component in maintaining the health and density of the bone.

The finger millet is a healthy alternative option for the over-the-counter supplements, especially the people who have the risk or low hemoglobin level or osteoporosis. When compared to other major cereals, this finger millet has more nutrition.

High Protein Content

The protein content of the finger millet is comparable to the rice. Although some types of ragi have double that level. The protein content of the finger millet is quite unique compared to other grains.

The Eleusinian is the main protein fraction of the finger millet that has a high biological value, which means it can easily incorporate into the body. It also has a notable quantity of methionine, tryptophan, cystine, and aromatic amino acids.

The protein may sound too complicated, but you have to know that these proteins are more important for human health, and most of the cereals have a deficiency of these components.

The high protein content of the finger millet makes it an important factor in preventing malnutrition. The grain is a good source of protein for vegetarians because the methionine content is 5% of the protein.

Side effects of Finger Millets

The finger millets are rich in minerals; it has a lot of health benefits. But you have to consider some side effects that are consumed by the finger millet.

Finger millet cause thyroid

The finger millet has the goitrogen component, which interferes with the production of thyroid hormones, and it may resist the iodine uptake by the thyroid gland. The person who is suffering from the thyroid should consider with their doctor before consuming ragi.

Finger millet may cause kidney stone

Consuming the finger millet at a moderate level will not cause any problem, but if you are consuming more than the general level may increase the oxalic acid level in the body because it has a high level of calcium. The patient who is suffering from the urinary calculi or kidney stone should avoid the consumption of finger millet.

Finger millet may cause goiter

The iodine deficiency in the body leads to the goiter; it is the development of enlarged thyroid gland. The symptoms of the goiter are anxiety, dry skin, depression, and slow thinking. So if you are suffering from goiter, you should avoid the consumption of ragi.

Food Recipes by using Finger Millet

Finger millet Soup Recipe

Ingredient Needs : 

  • Finger millet Flour – 3/4 cup
  • Onion – 1 chopped
  • Tomato – 1 chopped
  • Green Peas – 1/4 cup
  • Cauliflower – 1/2 cup chopped
  • Carrots – 1/4 cup chopped
  • Milk – 2 cup
  • Garlic – 4 cloves chopped
  • Sugar – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Red chili – to taste
  • Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
  • Cumin Seed – 1 tbsp
  • Bay leaves – few


Step 1: Boil to water in the deep pan and add Onion and garlic
Step 2: Then add cauliflower, carrots, tomato, green peas, salt, sugar, chili powder.
Step 3: Allow it to boil for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Heat the coconut oil in the pan and add cumin seeds and bay leaves, let it sputter and then add it in the soup.
Step 5: Dissolve the ragi flour with the plain water and milk
Step 6: Cooked it for 10 minutes in simmer and garnished it with chopped coriander.

Finger Millet Ladoo Recipe

Ingredients : 

  • Finger Millet Flour – 1 cup
  • Palm Sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Ghee – 1/2 cup
  • Black Sesame – 2 tbsp
  • Grated Fresh Coconut – 1/4 cup
  • Groundnut – 2 tbsp
  • Cardamom Powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Almond 8-10


Step 1: Heat the shallow pan in low heat and separately dry roast the groundnut, black sesame, and grated fresh coconut and keep it aside for cool.
Step 2: Remove the skin from the groundnut.
Step 3: Add 1 tsp of ghee and roast the almonds for a few minutes and keep it aside.
Step 4: Heat the 2-3 tbsp of ghee and add the finger millet flour and roast it for 15-20 minutes.
Step 5: Add the roasted groundnut, almonds, black sesame, and coconut and keep stirring.
Step 6: Add the cardamom powder and palm sugar and stir the mixture for a few minutes.
Step 7: Take off the mixture from heat and allow it for cool.
Step 8: Apply ghee on your palm and take 3-4 tbsp of mixture and roll into a ladoo.

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