Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ragi Nutrition: Ragi and weight reduction

Ragi Nutrition Ragi is the common name of Finger Millet in South India. It 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 it has its shade of good and not so good aspects. In this article we will put together all the essential ingredients of Ragi – firstly based on % share of content, 2ndly based on quantity of minerals present and then followed by different amino acids present. Once this is done we can compare Ragi to other grains like Wheat, Maize against key ingredients. Ragi Nutrition Content In this below section depicts the in a typical content in 100 grams of Ragi (edible portion, 12% moisture). Major portion of Ragi is carbohydrate, followed by protein and fibre. It has the least amount of fat in them. Ragi Nutrition 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. Major portion of Ragi is carbohydrate, around 80%. The Fat percentage is quite less which is good. Protein and fibre content is not great but it is relatively less in their share. 100 grams of Ragi has roughly on an average of 336 KCal of energy in them. Minerals Below table shows typical mount of various minerals in Ragi. 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 negligible. 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 Ragi Vs Other Grains (Wheat, Maize, Brown Rice) 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 7.9 11.6 9.2 7.7 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. It is relatively high on Protein. 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. Having said that caution should be taken to ensure that you dont take more than your body can take, esp if you have some limitation. This article is a testament of goodness of ragi and including Ragi into diet plan starting with couple of times a week will help a lot. References 1. Finger Millet basics from 2. Finger Millet Facts and statistics from 3. Essential Amino Acids and its need from

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