Ragi(Finger Millets): Benefits, Nutrition, Uses and Side Effects

Millets are tremendous and considered a super food for our bodies. Ragi, highly nutritious and helps maintain good health is a super-millet.
Kanchan Dulhani
23 May, 2023
13 min read

Are you looking for a power-packed super food that gives your body health benefits and is also great in taste? Well, ragi will solve your problem.

It is one of the ancient grains packed with a powerful punch. When the world is moving towards healthier food choices, Ragi appear to be a versatile ingredient that deserves a shout-out.

Get along with us on this incredible journey to discover the hidden benefits and delicious recipes of ragi that will change how you think about healthy eating.

One of the ancient crops, ragi, is a true gem. It is a grain with deep roots in Indian agriculture known for its incredible health benefits. Also known as finger millet or nachni, people have cherished this super food for centuries.

In this article, we will uncover why weight watchers and fitness enthusiasts are looking to include it in their diet.

From being an eco-friendly crop to gluten-free and easy to digest, finger millet has earned the proper spotlight from people looking for a healthy lifestyle.

Discovering The Wonders Of Finger Millet: Everything You Need To Know

Finger millet or nachni is an all-year-round crop grown and found in tropical regions such as India. It belongs to the Gramineae botanical family and is commonly known as finger millet due to the unique appearance of its head, which consists of five spikes resembling five fingers.

Ragi is a very adjusting plant with no special growing needs. It can easily grow in hills or plains and is spread across the entire India.

Most of its cultivation is in Karnataka, along with Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Goa, and Uttarakhand. The plant boasts narrow, green leaves around 30 to 70 cm long.

One of its unique features is its curved branches that hold its multi-coloured seeds. Once cultivated, seeds are dried and sold as raw ragi grains or ragi flour.

People today have started to recognize finger millet’s importance and look for different ways of consuming them.

This excellent grain is full of nutrients and offers various health benefits.

Nutritional Value Of Ragi

Below is the nutritional value of 100 grams of finger millet [1]:

Crude Fibre3.6
Calcium344 mg
Phosphorous250 mg
Iron6.3 mg

Finger millet is a superfood and is rich in fibre. You can use it as an excellent alternative to rice and wheat.

Additionally, if you wish to know how much fibre is present in food products you eat, including ragi, you can check it via the meal plan. You will have to enter food information related to your breakfast, lunch or dinner with its portion size. It will show the amount of fibre present in each food item you consume.

It is also an excellent way to learn about the fibre ratio and accordingly, you can include more fiber-rich products in your diet. 

Health Benefits of Using Ragi or Finger Millets

finger millet benefits

Incorporating ragi/finger millet into your diet can indeed provide you with numerous health benefits. It is readily available in supermarkets or grocery stores.

You can buy ragi flour and add it to your diet plan. Here are some significant health advantages of eating finger millet regularly.

1. Finger Millet For Digestion

Finger millet flour is rich in insoluble fibre that supports easy digestion. The dietary fibre in this millet plays a crucial role in promoting a healthy digestive system [2].

It also helps improve the food movement in the body and supports the easy flowing of food through the intestines. Moreover, it is also excellent in retaining your body’s water levels, which is needed for waste excretion.

Ragi also has a calming effect on the stomach, making it great for people with gastric issues. It can support your stomach by reducing inflammation and soothing the digestive system.

As we all know, digestion plays a vital role in developing the overall health of your body.

To know if your body has a sound and robust digestive process, take this digestive quotient test to check your digestive score out of 100.

2. Finger Millet As A Plant-Based Protein

Finger millet contains a good amount of protein essential for supporting muscle development, repairing tissues, and various other processes in the body [3].

It is an excellent plant-based protein, making it a valuable ingredient for vegetarians and vegans. Combined with chickpeas, lentils, or beans, it can enhance the overall protein content of your meal.

3. Nachni For A Gluten-Free Diet

These days, many people suffer from gluten allergies, which restricts them from enjoying most Indian dishes. Since ragi is naturally gluten-free, it can be used as an alternative. Your tummy will be happy tummy if you have a gluten allergy and decide to switch to ragi.

You can also try Aashirvaad Ragi Flour, which is naturally gluten-free, full of iron, calcium, and protein, and high in fibre. It will also support you significantly in your gluten-free journey.

4. Ragi For Bone Health

Finger millet is an ideal source of calcium which is needed by people of all ages [4]. Calcium is the primary source that promotes healthy and strong bones. Including ragi in your children’s diet will help them grow strong and healthy bones.

Moreover, it will also help older people in restoring their bone density.

5. Ragi For Weight Loss

Do you wish for the magic to shed those extra kilos?

Say hello to finger millet and make it your friend. Finger millet, or nachni, is a fibrous ingredient that can be used to combat weight-related issues.

People who wish to go on a diet to control their weight can try to add more ragi-based products to their daily meals.

Due to its fibre-rich property, it will make you full for an extended period, thus, eliminating any cravings [5]. It will also support you in healthy and balanced eating.

6. Ragi For Skin

Do you want to unlock young and radiant-looking skin? Ragi can be your secret weapon. It is packed with phenolic acids and flavonoids, two kinds of antioxidants that are great for your skin [6].

These antioxidant properties support healthy skin and also help in promoting new skin cell formation, and remove fine lines and wrinkles.

Additionally, the abundance of amino acids present in finger millets helps smoothen the skin. It can also reduce acne, boils and pimples on the skin through its anti-inflammatory properties.

7. Finger Millets For Pigmentation

You should try a ragi face mask if you face hyper-pigmentation problems due to spending much time outside in the sun.

You can mix ragi flour with some milk and honey and make a natural face mask to protect your skin from UV rays and repair any uneven skin complexion.

This nourishing face mask will make your skin feel more relaxed and rejuvenated.

8. Nachni For Hair Fall

Including finger millet in your diet or using it as a hair mask can promote hair growth [7]. It is because finger millet is full of amino acids, a leading supplement for hair growth.

The same amino acid also helps reduce dandruff and soothes the hair roots. Applying a ragi hair mask can help remove scalp dryness and itching.

9. Ragi For Hormones

Ragi can be the natural warrior that can support you during hormonal changes. Finger Millet has an abundance of amino acids, and our bodies use them for multiple purposes.

One of its purposes is to produce serotonin, a feel-good hormone in the body. If the body produces this hormone, it promotes a happy mood and reduces stress.

It makes our bodies feel more calm and relaxed.

10. Finger Millet For Better Sleep

You can say goodbye to stress with finger millet. Finger millet possesses certain elements that help in increasing melatonin in the body. Our bodies use melatonin to help relax and thus promote better sleep.

For a night of good and sound sleep, you can drink finger millet malt prepared by adding milk to finger millet flour before bedtime.

It is the best ingredient to add to your diet if you face trouble sleeping.

11. Finger Millet For Inflammation

Finger millet is also an excellent prebiotic source for your body. It has elements that can help reduce inflammation and help your body fight infection [8].

Finger Millet has tannins, a plant compound that has anti-inflammatory qualities. It helps to relax muscles and thus reduce inflammation.

Creative Ways Of Using Finger Millet

The versatility of this grain gives you the space to be creative and try out different dishes according to your taste and preference.

For instance, in southern India, ragi is given to younger children, especially infants, during their weaning-off period.

Below are some more ways in which you can incorporate ragi into your diet:

1. Nachni As A Porridge

Finger millet tastes delicious when served as a porridge.

You can mix 2-3 tablespoons of its flour & mix it with milk to make a thin consistency. Add chopped almonds or pistachios as garnishment.

You can even add honey or cardamom powder to enhance taste and flavour. It can be given to your kids as a great breakfast option.

2. Finger Millets For Staple Dishes

Ragi is a superfood and can be used in multiple ways to be incorporated into your diet.

For a healthy breakfast, you can use finger millet flour to make some staple Indian dishes such as dosa, idli, upma, roti, paratha, puttu, and adai.

Since it is loaded with proteins and other vital components, it will fulfill your body’s daily needs. Moreover, eating these for breakfast will help in the digestion process, making your tummy happy tummy.

3. Nachni For Halwa

You may have had suji, atta, or besan halwa throughout your life. But have you ever tried this delicious and rich ragi halwa?

If not, this time, when you plan on cooking a simple dessert at home, go for nachni halwa. It can be easily prepared just like any other halwa. You can even add dried fruits for extra flavour.

4. Ragi For Laddoos

Just like you can prepare its halwa, you can even prepare delicious laddoos from its flour.

You can dry roast the flour in ghee and add coconut, dried fruits, ground nuts, and black sesame seeds. Add the required sugar and let it cool for some time.

Grease your hands will ghee and roll small laddoos from the prepared mixture. It can be used as an excellent evening snack.

5. Ragi For Pakoda

Yes, you read it right. You can make your all-time favourite pakodas using this super-rich and nutritious flour.

You can use the vegetable of your choice and add this flour and besan with all the spices. Give it a good mix and make a thick batter using little water.

Dip your chopped veggies and fry them until they are golden. You can pair these amazing pakodas with your evening tea.

6. Ragi For Cookies

Ragi cookies will be a great addition to healthy eating. You can use finger millet flour to bake cookies next time and offer them to your family members as a healthy snack alternative.

Since these are loaded with nutrients, you can even pack them in your kid’s lunchboxes.

Should You Eat Ragi At Night?

Wondering if you should include this power-packed ingredient for dinner?

So, what is the reason why it is preferred to be a breakfast thing than dinner? Here are your answers:

Finger millet contains many macronutrients, such as complex carbohydrates and proteins, which take time to break down in your body. That is why it is recommended to use this great millet either during breakfast or lunch.

Saying that does not mean you should avoid it altogether during the night. If you wish to include it as a dinner meal, go for a glass of ragi malt or kanji.

Just remember to keep a gap of at least 2-3 hours before sleep for it to process correctly.

How Much Ragi To Eat Per Day?

Finger millet is good in calories, and you should eat it in moderation daily. You can have three servings of 15 to 16 grams of uncooked finger millet grains or flour.

So the total consumption for the day will be around 45 to 50 grams of uncooked flour. Eating the required amount will support you in your weight loss journey.

Side Effects Of Using Finger Millet

Nachni is a naturally gluten-free superfood with many potential health benefits. Although there are not many side effects, here are some that you should be aware of:

  1. This superfood is full of calcium, so people with prior kidney problems should avoid or use it in moderation.
  2. Excessive eating of finger millet can cause nausea, tingling sensation, and chest pain.
  3. There are goitrogenic polyphenols found in finger millet that can affect the thyroid functions of the body.
  4. You should also consult a doctor in case of ongoing medication to avoid complications.


To conclude, finger millet is a true nutritional powerhouse that offers a wide range of health benefits. From managing digestion and weight to improving hair and skin, it has got you covered.

Its versatile nature also lets you be creative and cook delicious Indian dishes. Incorporating it into your diet can contribute significantly to your overall health.

So, what are you waiting for? Make this ingredient a part of your kitchen today.


1. How do you add ragi to your diet?

Ragi is loaded with nutrients and can be a must-add cereal. You can make the regular staple savory dishes such as chapatti, roti, and dosa, or you can even go for sweet ones such as kheer, porridge, or halwa.

2. Can nachni be given to an infant?

Yes, in southern India, people often use nachni as a weaning off food product. It can be an excellent semi-solid food introduction for infants and can be used by mixing ragi flour in water or milk.

3. Will eating ragi increase weight?

Ragi is a good source of fibre that makes your stomach full for a more extended period. It is a dietary fibre with other nutrients that supports delaying the stomach emptying process. Hence, if you include it in your meals, you will not feel hungry quickly, making you limit your food intake, which will further help in losing or maintaining your overall weight.

4. Can you eat ragi every day?

Ragi has a lot of benefits and can be great for your body if consumed regularly. You can include ragi in your everyday meals for a good digestive process.

5. Who should avoid eating finger millet?

People with existing kidney-related problems should avoid or limit their finger millet consumption since it is very high in calcium and can affect them negatively.

6. Is finger millet hot or cold in nature?

The natural property of finger millet is to cool the body. So, it has cooling properties and can be great for consumption during the summer months.