The 6 Health Benefits Of Ragi That Make It A Modern Superfood
Image Credit: Ragi | Image Credit: Naturally Yours

In recent times, there has been a lot of interest in ancient grains. Before the 1950s, whole grains such as barley, brown rice, amaranth, and ragi were staples of the Indian household, after which rice completely took over. A whole grain contains all three parts of the kernel: the bran, germ, and endosperm. Refined grains are processed to retain only endosperm. The presence of the three parts of the kernel makes whole grains way healthier than refined ones. They contain fibre-dense bran along with some other essential nutrients.

Among the whole grains, ragi is one such super grain that has made a comeback. It is a hardy crop that can grow at high altitudes and withstand harsh climate conditions, making it suitable for India’s weather. Popularly known as finger millet or Nachni in North India, the grain originated in Africa and has been cultivated in Uganda and Ethiopia for many years. Besides, ragi was consumed by ancient civilizations in India, such as the Harappan civilization, and it played a crucial role in the diets of various communities across the subcontinent. 

This wonder grain is rich in dietary fibre, which aids in digestion and helps maintain a healthy gut. It is a notable source of plant-based protein, making it an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans seeking to meet their protein needs. Ragi is abundant in essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus, with its calcium content particularly beneficial for bone health. 

Additionally, its low glycemic index ensures a gradual release of glucose into the bloodstream, making it an ideal choice for those concerned about blood sugar control. Furthermore, ragi is gluten-free and suitable for individuals with gluten sensitivities. 

Let us now take a look at some of the health benefits of ragi: 

  • Beneficial For Bones And Teeth

This grain is renowned for its exceptionally high calcium content, making it a crucial dietary source of this mineral. Calcium is essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones, and it plays a pivotal role in preventing conditions like osteoporosis and osteopenia. Additionally, ragi contains a significant amount of vitamin D, which aids in calcium absorption, further enhancing its bone-strengthening effects. 

The presence of other vital minerals, such as magnesium and phosphorus, in ragi also contributes to bone density and integrity. In addition to promoting strong bones, the minerals found in ragi are beneficial for dental health, as they help fortify teeth enamel and prevent dental problems like cavities and tooth decay.   

  • Helps In Controlling Diabetes 

One of the primary reasons for its effectiveness is its low glycemic index (GI), which means it releases glucose into the bloodstream at a slow and steady pace. This gradual release of glucose helps prevent sudden spikes in blood sugar levels, making ragi an excellent choice for individuals with diabetes. 

Moreover, ragi is rich in dietary fibre, which aids in improving insulin sensitivity and regulating blood sugar levels. The fibre content also contributes to a feeling of fullness, reducing the temptation to consume high-glycemic foods. Furthermore, its magnesium content helps in the metabolism of glucose and enhances insulin function.   

  • Prevents Skin From Ageing   

Ragi is a natural anti-ageing ally for the skin. Its benefits can be attributed to the rich presence of antioxidants, particularly polyphenols and flavonoids. These compounds help neutralise harmful free radicals in the body, which are a major contributor to premature aging. By reducing oxidative stress, ragi helps maintain the skin's elasticity and suppleness while preventing the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. Additionally, ragi is a good source of essential amino acids, such as methionine and lysine, which are vital for collagen production.   

  • Battles Anaemia  

It is an effective combatant against anaemia, a condition characterised by a deficiency of red blood cells, or haemoglobin, in the body. One of the key reasons for this is its impressive iron content. Ragi contains a significant amount of iron in a form that is easily absorbed by the body. Iron is a crucial component of haemoglobin, which carries oxygen to body tissues. 

Regular consumption of ragi can help increase haemoglobin levels and combat anaemia. Furthermore, ragi's vitamin C content aids in iron absorption, enhancing its effectiveness in treating and preventing anemia. Its folate content is also notable, as folate is essential for the production and maintenance of red blood cells.   

  • Relaxes The Body  

Ragi has the remarkable ability to promote relaxation and reduce stress in the body. This calming effect can be attributed to its rich content of essential amino acids, particularly tryptophan. Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and promotes a sense of well-being and relaxation. 

Consuming ragi can lead to increased serotonin production in the brain, helping to alleviate stress and anxiety. Additionally, ragi is a good source of magnesium, a mineral known for its muscle-relaxing properties. Adequate magnesium levels in the body can help reduce muscle tension and promote overall relaxation.   

  • Helps In Weight Loss

One of its standout features is its high dietary fibre content, which promotes a feeling of fullness and reduces appetite, making it easier to control calorie intake. This fibre also aids in regulating digestion and preventing constipation, which are essential for a healthy weight-loss journey. 

Ragi's low glycemic index ensures a slow and steady release of glucose into the bloodstream, helping to maintain stable blood sugar levels and avoid energy spikes and crashes that can lead to overeating. Furthermore, ragi is a good source of protein, which is crucial for muscle maintenance during weight loss, and it offers essential vitamins and minerals that support overall health.  

  • Ragi Rotti Recipe 

Include ragi roti in your everyday meal to experience an overall health benefit. Here’s how you can make ragi roti: 


  • 1 cup ragi flour 
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin 
  • 1 small onion, chopped 
  • 1 green chilli, chopped 
  • 1 teapoon coconut 
  • Coriander leaves   
  • Salt   
  • Water as needed


  • Add flour, onion, chillies, cumin, and salt to a bowl. Mix all the ingredients.  
  • Pour water as needed and make a soft dough. 
  • 5 equal-sized balls. With the help of a pin, roll the balls into flatbread. 
  • Transfer the flatbread to a hot tawa and cook for 1 minute on medium heat, or until it changes colour. 
  • Drizzle a little oil at this stage and spread it all over the roti. When you see golden or brown spots appear on the roti and the onions are cooked too, the ragi roti will be ready.   
  • Serve hot with curry, chutney, or yoghurt.