Is ragi good for diabetes?

Ragi for diabetes

Shopping for groceries, the modern day hunter need not stalk the prey. He or she has to wade through supermarket aisles, resist temptation, and just stick to purchasing what’s needed. There’s the processed food section, the snack section, and the health-conscious food section. Diabetologists in Bangalore ask you to pass through this section with care and caution!

Health foods of the past – Diabetic Diet

When it comes to food, our taste profiles have changed drastically; however, they still revolve around craving for fatty, sugary, and savory substances. With access to a plethora of foods and the superfood bombardment on media, we are almost subliminally guided in our food choices.

As diet is a major contributor for many disease conditions like diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, our choice of foods is vital for our wellbeing. While it is great to pamper your craving for exotic foods once in a while, a diabetic diet is much more than a fleeting fancy in a supermarket.

The comeback of millets and whole grains after the onslaught of polished rice and wheat has given us many more options in terms of food. However, it also poses a “too many to choose from” situation. However, for a person with diabetes, this choice should be made by their diabetes doctor or their certified dietician.

Ragi for diabetes

Finger millets or ragi does not need any introduction for many from Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and many other parts of India. From ancient times, ragi is a food of choice for millions.

Be it the humble stava and sour porridge (ambil), the ragi mudde of Karnataka, bhakri of Maharashtra or the contemporary ragi biscuits, ragi is consumed in many forms. It has a distinct taste and is loaded with nutrients. Ragi health benefits are many; however is ragi good for diabetes? Can it be part of a diabetes diet plan? Let us see.

Ragi health benefits

Diabetologists in Bangalore state that consuming a diet based on finger millets or ragi result in lower plasma blood glucose levels. However, this benefit is more in whole finger millet than in the processed form.

The presence of certain anti-nutritional factors in whole ragi is responsible for increasing the time taken to absorb glucose generated during digestion. That is why consuming ragi-based diets result in low postprandial blood sugar levels, and lower mean peak rise in blood glucose levels.

Ragi is a good inclusion in a diabetes diet plan due to the higher dietary fiber content (higher than rice or wheat). Having said that, one has to be wary of the ragi options available in the supermarket as they are more of processed foods rather than whole ragi which is beneficial. Processed ragi glycemic index is in fact higher and can lead to high blood sugar levels.

Other whole ragi health benefits

  • Has anti-diabetic properties
  • Is gluten-free
  • Has high dietary fiber
  • Contains calcium
  • Rich in vitamin D
  • Assists in weight loss
  • Is full of antioxidants
  • Antimicrobial properties
  • Prevents ulceration of stomach
  • Known to prevent cancer
  • Has wound-healing properties
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Prevents diarrhea
  • Known to reduce risk of atherosclerosis leading to heart problems

Ragi calories are lesser when compared to rice or wheat and so is a good inclusion in a diabetic diet for dinner or breakfast.