Sunday, June 24, 2012

No more Calcium Supplements needed.. Thanks to Fingermillet/ Ragi

Fingermillet known as Ragi or Nachni in different Indian languages, is a wonder food to strengthen the bones. We all know that Calcium is the mineral that is required for building bones, and fingermillet is loaded with it. Pearl and little millet are higher in fat, while finger millet contains the lowest fat. 

 With Calcium as high as 294 to 390 mg per 100 g, it stands on the top of the list of grains. Studies conducted in nine- to ten-year-old girls showed that replacement of rice in a rice-based diet with finger millet not only provided greater energy balance and prevented muscle loss,  but also improved calcium retention. Thus finger millet could be used to overcome the calcium deficiency of a rice diet.

As all the millets are gluten free and are not like wheat, they are suitable foods for those with celiac disease or other forms of allergies/intolerance of wheat. Also, finger millet has greater amounts of Fibre than wheat. However, millets are also a mild thyroid peroxidase inhibitor and probably should not be consumed in great quantities by those with thyroid disease.

Fermentation, soaking, malting are the various procedure to increase the assimilation of its varied nutrients.

In India, dieticians and pediatricians suggest weaning toddlers with finger millet porridge due to their high nutrition profile and easy digestibilty. Infact, I would highly recommend this grain for weight loss too, as researches have proven that high dietary calcium intake does lead to weight loss.

One can use Finger millet to make sweet or savoury items like porridge or simply use the ground flour to make pancakes, flat breads, cakes, (cake recipe - ) cutlets, tortillas, drinks etc. 

Here is the recipe of an easy to make, filling and a cool drink for summers!

Finger millet Cooler

2 tbsp Ragi (nachni flour)
3 cups Water
¼ cup Sour buttermilk
2 tbsp finely chopped Onion (optional)
1 clove of garlic, grated (optional)
Sour buttermilk as required
Salt to taste
How do we do it:-
1 Soak the ragi flour in the buttermilk overnight.
2 In the morning keep the 3 cups of water on flame to come to a boil.
3 Add 1 tsp salt in the water.
4 when the water starts to boil slow the flame and slowly pour the ragi and buttermilk mixture with continuous stirring so that lumps do not form.
5 let it come to boil on a very low flame and with continuous stirring.
6 After it boils remove it from flame and keep it to cool.
7 while serving add the finely chopped onion and garlic and mix with buttermilk to dilute it as required and serve.
Note:- If you cannot soak the ragi for overnight at least soak it for 2 hours.
So change the regular food grains and try out something more nutritious for stronger bones :)

Ujjwala Baxi,
Medical Nutrition Therapist @Poshan - Cure thru Diet
Registered Dietitian
Certified Diabetes Educator

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