Although the ‘millet diet’ frenzy has swept the country in recent years, millets aren’t a recent discovery. They have been a part of the Indian diet for millennia. One such millet, ragi, is known to have numerous health benefits. However, is ragi good for weight loss? Learn more about the nutritional content of ragi and how it can be consumed to aid in weight loss.
What is Ragi?
Ragi or finger millet is a crop that is native to Africa. It is grown extensively in major regions of Asia and Africa for its nutritional value. It is a whole grain that is harvested from the seeds of the Eleusine coracana crop.
The grains have a long shelf-life of over 10 years, if stored in the proper condition. Ragi is often used as an alternative to wheat and other grains. It is a rich source of carbohydrates and dietary fibre. However, due to the rich dietary fibre, ragi may be relatively lower in net carbs than most grains.
Nutritional Profile of Ragi
Ragi is an excellent source of carbohydrates (mainly starch), dietary fibre, calcium, copper, and manganese. It also has moderate amounts of protein, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, and B-complex vitamins. Ragi is also packed with antioxidants like polyphenols and amino acids like tryptophan, both of which have numerous health benefits.
The following is the nutritional profile of 100 g of dry ragi according to several nutritional analyses published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Composition of Ragi grains per 100 g
350 to 360 kcal
5 to 10%
65 to 75%
1 to 2%
15 to 20%
What are the Benefits of Ragi for Weight Loss?
Ragi is beneficial for weight loss because of the:
Rich fibre content
Fibre is an important addition to your diet if you are trying to lose weight. Fibre takes longer to digest than carbohydrates, and thus keeps you feeling full for a longer time. This can lower your calorie intake by preventing overeating.
Presence of tryptophan
Tryptophan is an amino acid that has many functions in your body. It is essential for the production of serotonin, a “feel-good” hormone that boosts mood and also acts as an appetite suppressant. Thus, consuming ragi can help curb your hunger and reduce your calorie intake.
How to Eat Ragi for Weight Loss?
There are various ways to add ragi to your daily diet. The following are some ragi recipes for weight loss that you can try.
Ragi porridge: Ragi, when used to make a porridge, can be one of the best ways to promote weight loss. It is easy and quick to cook. You can make ragi porridge or ragi malt for weight loss by cooking ragi flour with just water, chopped nuts, and jaggery. If you wish to have ragi porridge for dinner, you can make it more filling by adding milk.
Ragi roti:Ragi roti for weight loss? Yes, it is an excellent addition to your diet and an easy way to lose weight, as Indian households consume rotis at least once a day. Making your rotis from flour made with ragi grains instead of wheat can help you cut down on calories. Ragi rotis are also more filling due to the presence of fibre and tryptophan.
Ragi dosa: You can make this South Indian breakfast dish more healthy by replacing about half (or full, based on your preference) the portion of rice used to make the batter with ragi. The fermentation that the batter undergoes makes ragi dosa even more nutritious. Alternatively, you can make instant ragi dosa batter by soaking ragi flour and ground oats in curd.
- Ragi idli: Already a popular and healthy breakfast food, idli can be made more nutritious with the addition of ragi. All you need to do is replace sooji with ragi when making the batter.
- Ragi cookies: Replacing biscuits made of maida with ragi biscuits and cookies can help you cut down on your calorie intake. Ragi cookies, when prepared with low-sugar content, may prevent weight gain and eventually aid in weight loss. They can reduce unnecessary cravings and have added health benefits.
How Much Ragi Can You Consume in a Day to Lose Weight?
Ragi, though more filling, is a relatively calorie-rich grain when compared to others like jowar (sorghum), bajra (pearl millet), or rice. Consumption of a moderate amount of ragi may help you maintain a healthy weight.
It is best to limit your consumption of ragi and other whole grains to a total of three servings a day. Each serving size is roughly 15 to 16g of uncooked ragi grains or flour. This roughly amounts to 45 to 50g of uncooked ragi grains or flour a day.
What is the Best Time to Eat Ragi for Weight Loss?
You may consume ragi at any time of the day. You may add it to your daily meals in the form of different foods as mentioned above. Adding ragi to your breakfast can help you cut down on mid-day snacking or overeating. It can also make for a satisfying dinner.
What are the Side-Effects of Overconsumption of Ragi?
Despite the fact that ragi comes with various health benefits, it can have some downsides as well. However, people who consume ragi as a part of a balanced diet and in the recommended serving size may not experience any adverse effects.
Certain compounds present in ragi act as anti-nutrients and may cause some side effects on excessive consumption of ragi. These side effects include:
- A compound called phytic acid present in ragi may cause deficiencies of some nutrients such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. The amount of phytic acid in ragi can be reduced by roasting the grains before consumption.
- Goitrogenic polyphenols found in ragi may affect your thyroid function and cause goitre (enlargement of the thyroid gland which may lead to other health conditions). Ragi contains small amounts of these compounds.
- The fibre in ragi can cause digestive issues like bloating, flatulence, abdominal pain, etc. when consumed in excess.
As ragi is high in carbohydrates, overconsumption can lead to weight gain.
What are the Other Health Benefits of Ragi?
The nutrients in ragi can provide multiple health benefits including:
- The tryptophan in ragi is used to generate serotonin in your body, which improves mood and helps prevent mood and mental health disorders like anxiety and depression.
- Tryptophan also helps increase the production of melatonin in your body. Melatonin is crucial to maintaining your circadian rhythm (your body’s biological clock) and helps promote better sleep.
- The potassium content in ragi can help you maintain healthy kidneys and heart. Potassium can also help in better transmission of nerve signals for the proper functioning of the brain and muscles.
- The B-complex vitamins present in ragi are beneficial for the overall functioning of your body.
- Due to the presence of dietary fibre, which helps in controlling the bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein or LDL) levels in your body, ragi may help prevent heart diseases.
- The fibre in ragi can also support your digestive health by relieving constipation and promoting the growth of good bacteria in your gut.
- The high calcium content in ragi can help improve your bone density and preserve your dental health.
Don’t Have Time To Read?
- Ragi is a nutritious whole grain or millet grown extensively in major regions of Asia and Africa.
- Ragi is rich in carbohydrates, fibre, and essential minerals like calcium, copper, and manganese. It is also a good source of antioxidants and essential amino acids like tryptophan.
- The high fibre content in ragi promotes satiety and helps you stay full for longer. Ragi is also a great source of tryptophan, which curbs your appetite and suppresses hunger.
- There are various ways to add ragi to your daily diet for weight loss, which includes ragi cookies, ragi porridge, ragi roti, ragi dosa, and ragi idli.
- Limit your consumption of ragi to 45 to 50 g a day (weight of uncooked grains or flour) for the best weight loss results.
- You may consume ragi at any time of the day. Including ragi in your breakfast can prevent snacking and overeating.
- Overconsumption of ragi can lead to weight gain due to its high carbohydrate content, and its high fibre content can cause digestive issues when consumed in excess. Ragi also has small quantities of phytic acid, which can impede the absorption of nutrients from your gut when consumed in high quantities. Some of the polyphenols in ragi can also interfere with the functioning of your thyroid.
- The nutrients in ragi can provide multiple health benefits including maintaining healthy kidneys and heart, improving the functioning of your brain and muscles, relieving fatigue, controlling the bad cholesterol levels in your body, preventing heart diseases, supporting your digestive health, and promoting the growth of good bacteria in your gut.
- The tryptophan in ragi can also improve the quality of your sleep and increase the production of serotonin in your body. This has a positive effect on your mood and can reduce your risk of developing anxiety and depression.
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No one particular food can promote spot reduction of fat in the abdominal area. The high fibre content in ragi can help promote overall weight and fat loss. When you lose weight, you will lose fat from the abdominal area as well.
Ragi, when consumed in moderation, may help you in maintaining a healthy weight due to its high fibre and tryptophan content. Ragi helps promote fullness and suppresses hunger, which helps in lowering the number of calories you consume.
No, ragi does not increase weight. Instead, it promotes weight loss when consumed in moderation. However, just like any other food, ragi can cause weight gain when consumed in excess.
Ragi malt or ragi porridge is a nutritious and satiating dish that can help in weight loss when consumed in the place of other high-calorie meal options like sugary cereal, pasta, pizza, biryani, etc.
You can drink ragi malt in the morning as a part of your breakfast. This can help curb your hunger and keep you going till lunch without the need for a mid-morning snack. This will reduce your overall calorie intake and promote weight loss.
Yes, ragi roti can be great for weight loss as ragi contains a rich fibre content which promotes satiety, aids in better digestion, and promotes weight loss.
Yes, ragi balls, also known as ragi mudde or ragi sangati, are steamed balls made from ragi flour. As ragi balls contain very little oil and are high in fibre and protein, they are a very good addition to your weight loss diet.