Ragi, often called finger millet or Eleusine coracana, is a very nutritious and adaptable cereal crop that thrives in arid, hot regions and at high altitudes.
Millions of people all over the world have relied on it as a main source of food for hundreds of years (1Trusted Source).
Some persons with diabetes today may be curious about the impact of meals like grains and cereals on their blood sugar levels.
Here, you’ll learn what ragi is and how to incorporate it into your diet if you’re diabetic.
Even while all millet is healthy, ragi has several unique benefits (2Trusted Source).
The calcium and potassium content, for instance, is higher than that of both other millet kinds and the vast majority of other grains and cereals (3Trusted Source).
Because of this, it has been suggested that it could aid in the prevention of calcium-related disorders like osteoporosis (a disease that weakens the bones) in areas of the world where they are prevalent (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).
Because of its high nutrient content, extended storage life, and resistance to drought, ragi is also being studied for its potential to alleviate hunger and shield vulnerable populations from climate change (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).
Nonetheless, ragi’s advantages are not limited to those mentioned. Possible presence of prebiotics in this millet cultivar. In addition, there is mounting proof that millet’s nutritious content can be enhanced through fermentation.
Protein concentrations in fermented millet-based foods were found to be substantially greater than those in goods made with unprocessed millet flour (10Trusted Source).
One further study indicated that fermenting finger millet flour for 16-24 hours reduced the carbohydrate content and increased the concentration of important amino acids (11Trusted Source).
Phytic acid levels may also be lowered during the fermentation process. Because phytic acid blocks the body’s ability to absorb minerals and trace elements, lowering phytic acid levels in ragi may increase the body’s ability to absorb these minerals (12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source).
Ragi and diabetes
More than 422 million individuals around the world suffer with diabetes. Infections, blindness, kidney illness, cardiovascular disease, and stroke are all linked to it (15Trusted Source).
When insulin production or utilisation declines, high blood sugar levels become chronic, leading to the disease diabetes. The hormone insulin aids in the transport of glucose into cells where it can be used as fuel (16Trusted Source).
Consuming foods high in carbohydrates may have a dramatic effect on blood sugar. So, you may be concerned about the impact of grains like ragi on your blood sugar (17Trusted Source).
Compared to white rice, ragi and other millet variants include more fibre, minerals, and amino acids, making them a healthy option for persons with diabetes. In addition, recent studies suggest it may help lower cholesterol and blood sugar (3Trusted Source).
However, more randomised human trials are required to establish these advantages.
Recent studies have shown that ragi may help lower levels of oxidative stress and inflammation (18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).
An inflammatory response is an ongoing effort by the immune system to ward off infection. Oxidative stress occurs when free radicals and antioxidants are not kept in a healthy balance in the body.
There is nothing abnormal about any of these responses; nevertheless, if they persist for too long, they may lead to serious health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer (20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source).
Four weeks of research on diabetic rats indicated that millet consumption accelerated wound healing, increased antioxidant status, and stabilised blood glucose levels, suggesting that this grain may have significant health benefits (22Trusted Source).
To validate these benefits in humans, however, more controlled trials are required.
Blood sugar levels
Indications are growing that the polyphenols present in ragi, a type of millet, can aid in the management of diabetes and its associated problems (2Trusted Source).
Foods from plants, such as fruits, vegetables, and grains, include polyphenols as a type of micronutrient. Due to their high antioxidant content, they may help in the management of diabetes, among other health benefits.
But most of the research on the health benefits of ragi’s polyphenols has been conducted on animals or in laboratory dishes.
Diabetic rats fed a diet containing 20% finger millet seeds for 6 weeks showed decreased urinary albumin and creatinine excretion. More research is needed to see if the same positive effects may be shown in humans (23Trusted Source).
Albumin is the most abundant protein in blood, and creatinine is a waste product of protein metabolism. Increases in blood creatinine or urine protein levels may be indicators of diabetic complications.
Some studies suggest that ragi’s increased fibre content has a smaller impact on blood sugar levels than that of other refined grains. High fibre intake lowers blood sugar and may prevent diabetes (2Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source).
How to eat ragi
Several preparation methods exist for consuming ragi.
As a result of its rising popularity, it may be found in a wide variety of foods, from ice cream to pasta to baked goods (3Trusted Source, 25Trusted Source).
Preparing whole finger millet by soaking and then boiling it, or using it to make porridge, is a simple method to get it into your diet.
Furthermore, this millet variety is frequently utilised in the form of flour.
However, more study is required to compare the effects of various types of ragi on diabetics.
The bottom line
Ragi is one type of millet that is excellent for diabetics because of its higher nutrient density and fibre content than other millets (26Trusted Source, 27Trusted Source, 28).
Ragi is safe for diabetics to eat, and the grain may even help control blood sugar levels. Moreover, it may aid in reducing the inflammation and oxidative stress that are occasionally associated with diabetes.
Ragi can be used as a whole grain, a flour substitute, or an ingredient in a number of other foods. The ideal form for diabetics has yet to be determined, though, and additional study is required.
Ragi can be found in health food stores and on the internet, typically in the form of flour.