Eleusine coracana, or finger millet, is an annual herbaceous plant widely grown as a cereal crop in the arid and semiarid areas in Africa and Asia. It is commonly called kodo in Nepal where 877 accessions have been maintained by National Plant Genetic Resource Centre, Khumaltar, Nepal.
1) Finger millet is an excellent source of natural calcium which helps in strengthening bones for growing children and aging people. Regular consumption of finger millet is good for bone health and keeps diseases such as osteoporosis at bay and could reduce risk of fracture.
2) It is now established that phytates, polyphenols and tannins can contribute to antioxidant activity of the millet foods, which is an important factor in health, aging and metabolic diseases.
3) Finger millet’s phytochemicals help in slowing digestion process. This helps in controlling blood sugar level in condition of diabetes. It has been found that finger millet based diet helps diabetics as it contains higher fibre than rice and wheat.
Also, the study found that diet based on whole finger millet has lower glycemic response i.e. lower ability to increase blood sugar level. This is due to presence of factors in finger millet flour which lower digestibility and absorption of starch.
Because of its high nutritional content ragi flour is recommended as a weaning food especially in the southern parts of India.
5) Finger millet is a very good source of natural Iron and its consumption helps in recovery of Anemia. The Ragi based foods are highly suited for expectant mothers and elderly due to there high calcium and iron content.
6) Finger millet consumption helps in relaxing body naturally. It is beneficial in conditions of anxiety, depression and insomnia. It is also useful for migraines.
7) Green ragi (finger millet) is recommended for conditions of blood pressure, liver disorders, asthma and heart weakness. Green ragi is also recommended to lactating mothers in condition of lack of milk production.
8) If consumed regularly, finger millet could help in keeping malnutrition, degenerative diseases and premature aging at bay.