Finger millet or ragi is one of the ancient millets in India (2300 BC), and this review focuses on its antiquity, consumption, nutrient composition, processing, and health benefits. Of all the cereals and millets, finger millet has the highest amount of calcium (344mg%) and potassium (408mg%). It has higher dietary fiber, minerals, and sulfur containing amino acids compared to white rice, the current major staple in India. Despite finger millet's rich nutrient profile, recent studies indicate lower consumption of millets in general by urban Indians. Finger millet is processed by milling, malting, fermentation, popping, and decortication. Noodles, vermicilli, pasta, Indian sweet (halwa) mixes, papads, soups, and bakery products from finger millet are also emerging. In vitro and in vivo (animal) studies indicated the blood glucose lowering, cholesterol lowering, antiulcerative, wound healing properties, etc., of finger millet. However, appropriate intervention or randomized clinical trials are lacking on these health effects. Glycemic index (GI) studies on finger millet preparations indicate low to high values, but most of the studies were conducted with outdated methodology. Hence, appropriate GI testing of finger millet preparations and short- and long-term human intervention trials may be helpful to establish evidence-based health benefits.
View details for DOI 10.1016/B978-0-12-410540-9.00001-6
View details for PubMedID 23522794