Ragi - Benefits, Nutrition, Uses, Side Effects & Recipes

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Aman Priya Khanna
Written by Sangeeta Sharma, last updated on 23 December 2023
Ragi - Benefits, Nutrition, Uses, Side Effects & Recipes

Did you know that ragi is known as the wonder grain for weight loss? However, the health benefits of the grain extend beyond weight loss. With its adaptability as a food, ragi has become a staple food in many parts of the world. 

Say hello to strong bones, steady energy, and a happier gut, as ragi brings magic to your plate. Want to learn more about ragi benefits and how to incorporate it into your diet? Continue reading to find out.

What is Ragi?

Ragi or Raagi, scientifically known as Eleusine coracana, is a nutrient-rich cereal grain cultivated for thousands of years, primarily in Africa and Asia. Being a very adaptable crop, Ragi is well-suited to the Indian climate. 

It is typically ground into flour and used to make various dishes, such as porridge, flatbreads, and baked goods. Several other names in different languages know the grain. These names include:

  1. Finger millet in English

  2. Nachni in Marathi

  3. Madua in Bengali 

  4. Ragulu in Telugu

  5. Kezhvaragu in Tamil

What sets ragi apart is its impressive nutritional profile. It is a good source of dietary fibre, complex carbohydrates, protein, and essential minerals like calcium and iron.

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Nutritional Value of Ragi

Ragi is known for its impressive nutritional content. The following is a breakdown of the ragi nutritional value per 100 grams of ragi: 


328 kcal


72.75 grams



7.41 grams

Dietary Fibre

3 grams


  1. Polyunsaturated Fat

  2. Saturated Fat

  3. Monosaturated Fat

1.37 grams

  1. 0.717 grams

  2. 0.249 grams

  3. 0.232 grams


66 mg


2 mg

Ragi Health Benefits

Incorporating ragi into the diet can be a flavorful and healthful choice. It offers an array of benefits that contribute to your overall well-being. The most common benefits of eating ragi include:

  1. Weight Management

    One of the most important ragi benefits is its ability to help lose weight. The dietary fibre in ragi provides a feeling of fullness, reducing excessive food consumption. 

    Ragi is most effective when enjoyed during your morning meal. The grain contains tryptophan, an amino acid that supports weight loss. It curbs appetite and reduces hunger, helping you manage your food intake. 
  1.  Excellent Source of Proteins

    Ragi is a rich source of protein. The high protein content of ragi helps prevent malnutrition. It holds a special protein, eleusinin, which can be easily incorporated into the body. Plus, it packs vital amino acids like tryptophan and methionine, which are deficient in most grains.

    1. Tryptophan is used to make proteins. It also produces certain neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the body).  
    2. Methionine makes proteins and other compounds in the body. 

    Methionine makes up 5% of the ragi’s protein content. This makes ragi a good source of protein, especially for vegetarians. 
  1. Helps Control Diabetes

Ragi’s seed coat boasts a wealth of polyphenols and dietary fibres compared to rice, maize, and wheat. Polyphenols are plant chemicals that slow the digestion process. The grain’s remarkable feature lies in its low glycemic index.

It effectively curbs food cravings and ensures gradual digestion. As a result, this helps maintain blood sugar levels within the recommended range.

  1. Gluten-Free Alternative

    Many individuals develop gluten intolerance, particularly to wheat found in common Indian dishes. Being naturally gluten-free, Ragi makes an excellent replacement for wheat in recipes like chapatis, dosas, and sweets.

    This makes it a go-to choice, especially for those with celiac disease (a chronic digestive disorder triggered by an abnormal reaction to gluten). However, it is important to note that ragi is best consumed in the morning for optimal digestion due to its fibre-rich nature.

    Nighttime consumption might not be suitable, especially for those with digestive issues or gluten allergies.

  1. Prevents Anaemia

    Iron deficiency anaemia is a common problem in India. It results in excessive fatigue and low productivity levels. But not with ragi! Its high iron content is one of the most important ragi or finger millet benefits.

    It helps combat iron deficiency anaemia. Regular raagi dosa or roti consumption can help increase haemoglobin and overall energy levels.

  1.  Improves Bone Strength

    Ragi is rich in calcium. As a result, it helps maintain strong and healthy bones. It is especially beneficial for individuals at risk of osteoporosis.

    It also promotes bone development in growing children. Younger individuals can consume ragi daily. However, middle-aged and older adults should eat controlled portions to avoid gastrointestinal and kidney complications.

  1. Prevents Skin Ageing and Hair Loss

    Ragi stands as a natural skincare ally that helps with anti-ageing. The numerous ragi benefits for the skin include: 

    1. Protection against rashes

    2.  Wrinkles

    3. Dull complexion

This happens due to essential amino acids, including methionine and lysine, in ragi. Both methionine and lysine are needed to make proteins not made by the body. You need to get them through the diet. Furthermore, the antioxidants in ragi combat bodily stress, effectively counteracting ageing. By revitalising skin cells, it bestows a fresh and vibrant appearance.

One of the most important ragi benefits for hair is preventing hair loss. Abundant in proteins, ragi can help promote healthier and stronger locks. Plus, it prevents premature greying of hair.

  1. Enhances Nervous System Performance

Incorporating controlled portions of ragi into your daily diet aids in improving the conduction of nerve impulses. It stimulates memory centres in the brain and induces a calming effect on the mind. 

This effect is attributed to the increased presence of the amino acid tryptophan. By regulating serotonin levels (a key neurotransmitter), ragi alleviates anxiety and insomnia concerns. The result? A positive mood and a restful sleep!

  1. Increases Lactation

Next on the list of mandia benefits: Increased production of the mother’s milk. Consuming soaked ragi in the morning benefits pregnant and lactating women significantly. 

Ragi’s abundant iron and calcium content helps boost milk production and ensures hormonal balance in expectant and new nursing moms.

  1. Fulfills the Child’s Nutritional Needs

Ragi’s rich nutritional profile renders it an ideal choice for fulfilling the nutrient needs of growing children. In many parts of India, infants and young kids are often introduced to a ragi flour-based kanji or malt. 

This is especially true during weaning (switching a baby’s diet from breast milk to other drinks and foods). Incorporating ragi malt or kanji into a child’s diet promotes wholesome growth and nourishes their young bodies.

How to Consume Ragi?

Incorporating ragi into the diet is easy and versatile. Whether sweet or savoury, ragi can be a valuable addition to your meals, offering various health benefits. Some popular ragi uses include:

  1. Ragi Porridge or Kanji: Prepare a nourishing porridge by cooking ragi flour in milk or water until it thickens. Sweeten with honey and flavour with cardamom for a comforting breakfast option. You can also prepare salted kanji by adding salt. Ragi porridge benefits include weight gain in kids and babies. 

  2. Ragi Roti: Mix ragi flour with water to form a dough, then flatten and cook it to make nutritious flatbreads. These can be enjoyed with vegetables, curries, or chutneys. Ragi roti benefits the health of a person more than wheat flour roti. 

  3. Raagi Dosa: Blend soaked ragi grains with other ingredients to create a batter, and then make dosas (crepes) on a tawa. These can be served with various chutneys or sambar. The recipe helps you get ragi dosa benefits and enjoy a delicious variation of this South Indian dish. 

  4. Ragi Malt: Prepare a cooling and nutritious drink by mixing ragi flour with water or milk. You can add dry fruits and flavouring of your choice. 

  5. Ragi Laddu: Combine ragi flour with jaggery, ghee, and nuts to make energy-packed ragi balls or laddus. One of the most important ragi laddu benefits is weight management. 

  6. Ragi Idlis: To make a batter, blend ragi grains soaked in water with other ingredients. Steam it in idli moulds to create healthy and light idlis.

  7. Ragi Cookies: Add ragi atta benefits into cookie dough for extra nutrition and a unique flavour. 

  8. Ragi Halwa: Made with ragi powder, sugar, ghee, milk, and cardamom, it is a healthy dessert for toddlers and kids. 

  9. Ragi Noodles: Ragi flour uses are versatile. With this flour, you can achieve a healthier alternative to conventional wheat-based noodles. 

Side Effects of Ragi

Ragi is generally safe, nutritious, and well-tolerated by most individuals. However, there are side effects to be aware of. These side effects include:

  1. Interference of Mineral Absorption: Like other whole grains, ragi contains phytic acid. It can hinder the absorption of certain minerals like iron, calcium, and zinc in the body. However, this can be mitigated by soaking ragi before use. 

  2. Thyroid Impact: Ragi contains goitrogens. This can disrupt thyroid function and contribute to some individuals' thyroid gland enlargement (goitre).

  3. Digestive Discomfort: Some individuals might experience digestive discomfort like gas, bloating, or indigestion when consuming ragi. This is especially true if the individuals are not accustomed to a high-fibre diet or consume ragi in excess amounts. 

  4. Kidney Complications: Ragi contains oxalates. These compounds can contribute to kidney stone formation in some people.

  5. Allergic Reactions: While rare, some individuals might be allergic to ragi. Allergic reactions can include symptoms like:

    1. Itching

    2. Swelling

    3. Hives

    4. Difficulty breathing

Precautions to Take With Ragi

While ragi offers numerous health benefits, it is wise to take certain precautions. This helps ensure its safe and effective consumption. These precautions include: 

  1. Moderation: Like any food, moderation is key. Avoid excessive consumption of ragi, as overindulgence can lead to increased oxalic acid and digestive discomfort. 

  2. Prefer Mornings Over Night: Proteins and carbohydrates in ragi require sufficient time for breakdown and assimilation. Therefore, ragi dishes should be consumed in the morning or afternoon. However, if you drink ragi kanji or malt to treat insomnia or low moods, consume it 2-3 hours before bed. 

  3. Method of Preparation: To reduce the impact of antinutrients like phytic acid, consider soaking or sprouting ragi before consumption. These methods can help enhance nutrient absorption.

  4. Allergies: If you are trying ragi for the first time, monitor for adverse symptoms. Discontinue consumption if you experience allergic reactions. 

  5. Thyroid Concerns: People with thyroid issues must consult a healthcare professional before adding ragi to their diet due to its goitrogenic properties.

  6. Consumption by Babies: Introducing ragi to infants or young children requires caution. Consult a paediatrician before including it in a child’s diet.


Adding ragi to the diet can be a healthful choice with various benefits. From supporting weight management to boosting lactation, ragi offers a nutrient-rich addition to your meals. Embrace the goodness of this ancient grain to enhance your overall well-being and nourish your body from within.

Navigating ragi benefits and side effects can be made easier with the support of a healthcare professional. We at HexaHealth can help you connect with healthcare providers who are experts in this field. Trust us to provide valuable insights for your well-informed dietary choices. Schedule an appointment today to address your concerns about food choices or other health conditions. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is ragi?

Ragi, also known as finger millet, is a nutritious cereal grain cultivated for centuries. Its gluten-free nature makes it versatile for various dishes. It offers several health benefits, packed with calcium, iron, and fibre.

What are the health benefits of consuming ragi?

The numerous ragi benefits include:

  1. Helps in weight management

  2. Excellent source of protein

  3. Gluten-free alternative

  4. Controls diabetes

  5. Improves bone strength

  6. Augments skin and hair health

  7. Enhances nervous system activities

  8. Prevents anaemia

  9. Increases the production of the mother’s milk

  10. Provides nourishment and growth to children

How does ragi flour contribute to a healthy diet?

Ragi flour contributes to a healthy diet by providing essential nutrients like dietary fibre, iron, and calcium. Some important ragi flour benefits in a healthy diet include:

  1. Reduces the risk of diabetes

  2. Prevents malnutrition

  3. Provides nourishment

  4. Enhances bone strength

What is ragi java?

Ragi java, or ragi malt or porridge, is a nutritious beverage made from ragi flour. It is boiled with water or milk and often sweetened with jaggery. The drink offers a wholesome option rich in fibre, calcium, and essential nutrients.

Are ragi rotis a good option for a nutritious meal?

Yes, ragi rotis are a nutritious choice. Packed with fibre, calcium, and iron, ragi roti benefits people in the following ways:

  1. Weight management

  2. Aids digestion

  3. Supports bone health

  4. Provides sustained energy

Its gluten-free nature makes it a wholesome addition to a balanced diet.

How can ragi malt be beneficial for overall well-being?

Ragi malt offers multiple benefits for overall well-being. Packed with nutrients like calcium, iron, and amino acids, it has the following advantages:

  1. Aids bone health

  2. Enhances digestion

  3. Manages blood sugar levels 

  4. Supports growth and development in children

What are the advantages of adding ragi atta to your diet?

Some important ragi aata benefits include:

  1. Supports digestion

  2. Improves bone health

  3. Boosts energy levels

  4. Helps with weight loss

  5. Controls blood sugar levels

Can ragi ball be a wholesome dietary choice?

Yes, ragi balls are a wholesome dietary choice. Packed with calcium, iron, and fibre, they promote bone health and aid digestion. Their gluten-free nature adds to their nutritional value.

What are the benefits of drinking ragi juice?

Drinking ragi juice offers several benefits. Some important ragi juice benefits include:

  1. Supplying nutrients like calcium, iron, and amino acids

  2. Supporting bone health

  3. Improving digestion

  4. Augmenting hair and skin health

  5. Controlling diabetes

Is ragi beneficial for improving skin health?

Yes, ragi is beneficial for enhancing skin health. Loaded with amino acids and antioxidants, it helps the skin in the following ways:

  1. Supports collagen production

  2. Fights oxidative stress

  3. Aids in skin rejuvenation

Its nutrients contribute to a radiant and healthy complexion.

How can raagi dosa enhance your diet?

Ragi dosa enhances the diet by infusing it with valuable nutrients. Its low glycemic index makes it a favourable choice for balanced eating. Rich in fibre, calcium, and iron, ragi dosa benefits include:

  1. Helps with digestion 

  2. Improves bone health

  3. Enhances nervous system function

  4. Supports weight management

What nutrients does ragi powder provide?

Nutrients provided by ragi powder include:

  1. Carbohydrates

  2. Protein

  3. Dietary fibre

  4. Calcium

  5. Potassium

  6. Iron

Ragi powder’s rich nutritional profile makes it valuable to a balanced diet.

How does ragi nutrition compare to other grains?

Ragi nutrition stands out with its exceptional attributes. 

  1. It boasts a higher calcium content than other grains, aiding bone health.

  2. Ragi has huge amounts of fibre compared to other whole wheat grains, which is beneficial for weight management. 

  3. Daily consumption of ragi can help stabilise blood sugar levels.

Is ragi rich in vitamin D?

Yes, ragi is one of the few natural sources of vitamin D. Ragi contains vitamin D and calcium to strengthen bones.

Is ragi hot or cold in nature?

Ragi is cool. This makes it a good choice to cool the body during scorching summer days. Some ragi dishes to eat during summer include roti, halwa, malt, kanji, dosa, etc.

Can ragi porridge be a good breakfast option?

Yes, ragi porridge is an excellent breakfast choice. Nutrients like calcium, iron, and fibre make it a wholesome and satisfying option. Consuming it in the morning allows ragi to break down and assimilate.

Is ragi beneficial for promoting hair health?

Yes, ragi offers benefits for hair health. Rich in amino acids and nutrients, ragi benefits for hair include:

  1. Supports hair growth

  2. Strengthens follicles

  3. Combats hair loss

  4. Prevents premature greying of hair

What are the potential side effects of consuming ragi?

Potential side effects of consuming ragi include:

  1. Mineral absorption interference due to phytic acid

  2. Thyroid disruption from goitrogens

  3. Digestive discomforts like gas or bloating

  4. Kidney stones due to oxalates

  5. Rare allergic reactions

Moderation and proper preparation methods can mitigate these concerns.

Does ragi cause gas?

Yes, ragi can sometimes cause digestive issues like gas. This usually happens when people are not accustomed to a high-fibre diet or excessively consume ragi.

How does ragi contribute to weight management?

Ragi is an excellent choice for weight management. The dietary fibre in ragi provides a feeling of fullness, reducing excessive food consumption. Furthermore, it contains tryptophan, an amino acid supporting weight loss. It curbs appetite and reduces hunger pangs. This helps manage an individual’s food intake.

What is the nutritional value of ragi millet?

The nutritional value of ragi millet is as follows:

  1. Calories: 328 kcal

  2. Carbohydrates: 72 grams

  3. Dietary Fibre: 11.5 grams

  4. Protein: 7.3 grams

  5. Fat: 1.3 grams

  6. Potassium: 408 mg

  7. Calcium: 344 mg

  8. Iron: 3.9 mg

Can ragi be a rich source of essential nutrients?

Yes, ragi can be a rich source of essential nutrients. It includes several important nutrients, such as:

  1. Carbohydrates

  2. Proteins

  3. Fibre

  4. Calcium

  5. Iron

What are the benefits of including finger millet in your diet?

Some important finger millet benefits include:

  1. A rich source of carbohydrates, protein, dietary fibre, iron, etc. 

  2. Strengthen bones and teeth

  3. Controls blood sugar levels

  4. Helps you feel full for long

  5. Provides growth to children

How does ragi compare to other grains in terms of benefits?

The benefits of ragi compared to other grains include:

  1. A good source of calcium, protein, and fibre

  2. Helps control diabetes

  3. Good for people who are trying to lose weight

Who should not consume ragi?

People who should not consume ragi include those with:

  1. Kidney problems, as its high protein content can damage kidneys

  2. Constipation, as ragi is digested slowly

  3. Thyroid problems, as it contains goitrogens, which can interfere with thyroid function

What happens if we eat ragi daily?

It is usually safe to include ragi in your daily diet. This nutritious whole grain, rich in fibre, calcium, and iron, offers several benefits when consumed daily. These benefits include:

  1. Helps in weight management

  2. Controls diabetes

  3. Improves bone strength

  4. Enhances skin and hair health

  5. Improves nervous system activities

  6. Provides nourishment and growth to children


All the articles on HexaHealth are supported by verified medically-recognized sources such as; peer-reviewed academic research papers, research institutions, and medical journals. Our medical reviewers also check references of the articles to prioritize accuracy and relevance. Refer to our detailed editorial policy for more information.

  1. Devi PB, Vijayabharathi R, Sathyabama S, Malleshi NG, Priyadarisini VB. Health benefits of finger millet (Eleusine coracana L.) polyphenols and dietary fiber: a review. J Food Sci Technol. 2014 Jun;51(6):1021-40. doi: 10.1007/s13197-011-0584-9. Epub 2011 Nov 22. PMID: 24876635; PMCID: PMC4033754.link
  2. Shobana S, Krishnaswamy K, Sudha V, Malleshi NG, Anjana RM, Palaniappan L, Mohan V. Finger millet (Ragi, Eleusine coracana L.): a review of its nutritional properties, processing, and plausible health benefits. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2013;69:1-39. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-410540-9.00001-6. PMID: 23522794.link
  3. Kumar A, Metwal M, Kaur S, Gupta AK, Puranik S, Singh S, Singh M, Gupta S, Babu BK, Sood S, Yadav R. Nutraceutical Value of Finger Millet [Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn.], and Their Improvement Using Omics Approaches. Front Plant Sci. 2016 Jun 29;7:934. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00934. PMID: 27446162; link
  4. Karkada S, Upadhya S, Upadhya S, Bhat G. Beneficial Effects of ragi (Finger Millet) on Hematological Parameters, Body Mass Index, and Scholastic Performance among Anemic Adolescent High-School Girls (AHSG). Compr Child Adolesc Nurs. 2019 Jun;42(2):141-150. doi: 10.1080/24694193.2018.1440031. Epub 20link
  5. Devi PB, Vijayabharathi R, Sathyabama S, Malleshi NG, Priyadarisini VB. Health benefits of finger millet (Eleusine coracana L.) polyphenols and dietary fiber: a review. J Food Sci Technol. 2014 Jun;51(6):1021-40. doi: 10.1007/s13197-011-0584-9. Epub 2011 Nov 22. PMID: 24876635; PMCID: PMC4033754.link
  6. Sahaya Rani G, Swaminathan A, Vijayaraghavan R. Effectiveness of Physical Activity and Finger Millet-Based Food Supplement on Biochemical Parameters and Bone Mineral Density among Premenopausal Women. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2021 Oct 18;2021:4757991. doi: 10.1155/2021/4757991. PMID: 3470link
  7. Hassan ZM, Sebola NA, Mabelebele M. The nutritional use of millet grain for food and feed: a review. Agric Food Secur. 2021;10(1):16. doi: 10.1186/s40066-020-00282-6. Epub 2021 Mar 29. PMID: 33815778; PMCID: PMC8005370.link
  8. Puranik S, Kam J, Sahu PP, Yadav R, Srivastava RK, Ojulong H, Yadav R. Harnessing Finger Millet to Combat Calcium Deficiency in Humans: Challenges and Prospects. Front Plant Sci. 2017 Jul 26;8:1311. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2017.01311. PMID: 28798761; PMCID: PMC5526919.link
  9. Chaudhary JK, Mudgal S. Antidiabetic and Hypolipidaemic Action of Finger Millet (Eleusine coracana)-Enriched Probiotic Fermented Milk: An in vivo Rat Study. Food Technol Biotechnol. 2020 Jun;58(2):192-202. doi: 10.17113/ftb. PMID: 32831571; PMCID: PMC7416116.link

Updated on : 23 December 2023


Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

MBBS, DNB General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, FIAGES

12 Years Experience

Dr Aman Priya Khanna is a well-known General Surgeon, Proctologist and Bariatric Surgeon currently associated with HealthFort Clinic, Health First Multispecialty Clinic in Delhi. He has 12 years of experience in General Surgery and worke...View More


Sangeeta Sharma

Sangeeta Sharma

BSc. Biochemistry I MSc. Biochemistry (Oxford College Bangalore)

6 Years Experience

She has extensive experience in content and regulatory writing with reputed organisations like Sun Pharmaceuticals and Innodata. Skilled in SEO and passionate about creating informative and engaging medical conten...View More

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