ragi for diabetes
Nutrition

Benefits of Ragi For People With Diabetes

Individuals with Diabetes often lead dual lives; one in the world that everyone sees, and another; a parallel dimension where life is not easy, called the T2 Dia-verse. The Dia-verse is a scary place, and you may be tempted to seek solace and comfort with the notorious big-time baddie- Carbs!

But every time we get fooled and give in to temptation, we end up feeling worse than we did before. This is because when it comes to Carbohydrates, we overlook the fact that sugar is addictive, making it easier for us to consume it excessively. This is akin to paying a very high price, to stock up on a product we don’t need, only to end up stuck in a house filled with bulky packaging material that’s neither going anywhere nor easy to get rid of.
But then where can a person with diabetes get their energy and nutrients from? How can one avoid bumping into these villains when they are present on every street corner? Is there a superhero who can combat these baddies and lead us to light from the dark depths of the dia-verse?

Presenting your saviour in the T2 Dia-verse, the Finger Millet, affectionately called Ragi by the locals.
Ragi is anti-microbial and has the ability to reduce bad cholesterol, induce weight loss, prevent cardiovascular diseases and bring diabetes under control. So let’s get right to it and take a look at this amazing ‘wonder grain’ with the potential to manage diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis and so much more.

What's Ragi called in your Local Language?

Nutrition Profile

Ragi Amount per 100g
Calories 832 kcal
Total Fat 4.3 g
Saturated fat 0.5 g
Trans fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 75 g
Dietary Fiber 3.5 g
Sugars 1.7 g
Proteins 11 g

Effect on  Blood Sugar Levels

  • Ragi has a lower glycemic response than other grains which means its ability to increase blood sugar is very low.
  • Compared to other grains, the high fibre content in Ragi prevents it from having major effects on blood sugar levels thus helping the blood sugar levels.
  • Ragi contains micronutrients with high antioxidant levels called Polyphenols which helps to keep blood sugars in control.
  • Ragi contains large amounts of magnesium which helps in increasing the efficacy of insulin.
  • Magnesium also makes your body’s glucose receptors more effective.

Benefits

The biggest benefit of consuming Ragi is that its a Superfood !

The Table below showcases why Ragi is considered nutritionally superior to other Grains.

Grain Kcal Protein Fat Fibre Iron Calcium
Rice 362 6.8 2.7 0.2 0.7 10
Wheat 348 11.8 2.0 1.2 5.3 41
Ragi 336 7.3 1.5 3.6 3.9 344

Some of the other Benefits of including Ragi into your diet are -

  • Incorporating ragi into your daily diet can help control blood sugar levels.
  • Being a rich source of iron, it helps in increasing haemoglobin, hence helpful for anaemia
  • The antioxidant properties of ragi helps in reducing the primary signs of ageing like wrinkles.
  • Being gluten-free, Ragi helps in losing weight and is suitable for individuals with lactose and gluten intolerance.
  • Prevents cardiovascular risks and improves heart health since it has zero cholesterol.
  • High Calcium content helps prevent osteoporosis
  • The best source of Proteins for individuals who are Vegetarians

Contraindications in Comorbidities

  • Excessive intake of Ragi can increase the amount of Oxalic Acid in the body and hence not recommended for individuals with Kidney Stones or other Renal Complications.
  • Ragi generally contains Goitrogenic Compounds that are bad for Hypothyroidism, so it is better to avoid food interference if you have a thyroid condition.

Substitutes

  • Oats and Jowar Grains can be consumed as good substitutes for Ragi.
  • Unprocessed or Steel-cut Oats are a good substitute since they have a low glycemic index (53)
  • White Jowar Grains have a low glycemic index (49.85) and are packed with antioxidants.
  • Both Oats and Jowar contain 10% fibre which makes you feel fuller and for a longer period.
  • Both Oats and Jowar are complex carbohydrates and get digested and absorbed slowly, hence not causing a rapid spike in blood sugar.

Five Minute Expert Recipe

Ragi Malt

Step-1 : Take a pan, put it on medium flame, add one cup of water and three tablespoons of ragi powder. Keep on stirring the mix to avoid any lumps.

Step-2 : Stir the mix until the mixture turns into a thick paste.

Step-3 : Add rock salt (as per taste) or jaggery (as per taste) to your liking.

Step-4 : Next, add some dried fruits of your choice and serve in a bowl and enjoy your bowlful of nutrition.

Expert Tip

  • The best time to consume ragi is in the morning for breakfast; as it will help you stay energised all day long
  • Double the benefits by adding in your favourite boiled vegetables to make them more wholesome.

Bottom Line

Ragi has been around since 1800 BC, and our history books speak quite eloquently about this wonder grain. Back in the day, the writers, poets and other literary greats were honoured with concoctions made of ragi, milk and honey. This was seen as a worthy way of felicitating someone of repute because of its beautiful rich reddish-black hue, pink when ground and purple when cooked. Although Ragi has stayed out of the spotlight for some years now, it has recently started receiving attention again for its potential role as a functional food. Whether used in age-old ways or more contemporary recipes and cuisines, make no mistake, Ragi is here to stay.

FAQs

1. How much and in what form can Ragi be consumed every day?

Ragi can be consumed by grinding it into flour and used in a variety of ways. Since Ragi has a high glycemic index,  the portion size should be regulated among those with diabetes. Make sure to consult a Diabetes Expert Nutritionist before including it in your daily diet.

2. Are there any Side Effects of eating Ragi?

Although Ragi has multiple benefits, over consumption may cause bloating, gas, diarrhoea, and constipation because of the high fibre content. It is also not helpful for people who want to gain weight or have kidney issues.

3. Is Ragi good for Weight Loss?

Adding Ragi into your diet is a good idea if you are looking to shed some kilos. It contains an amino acid known as Tryptophan, which helps in curbing appetite and boosting metabolism, thus facilitating weight loss. Ragi also has a good amount of fibre, which takes a lot of time to digest, hence keeps you satiated for a longer duration of time. Last but not the least, being low-fat. low calorie and zero cholesterol, Ragi is the most ideal grain to go for if you want to lose weight.

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