Ragi for Calcium

Ragi for Calcium

Calcium is a vital mineral that keeps our teeth and bones healthy and strong. Although it is widely known that women especially are prone to Osteoporosis, Calcium deficiency can hurt anyone. Lack of Calcium in everyday food, over a period of time, weakens the bones, making them susceptible to injuries and fractures. A simple BMD (Bone Mineral Density) test can reveal the strength of your bones.

How much Calcium do we need everyday? Adults require an everyday intake of 1000-1200mg of Calcium. While for infants, children and lactating mothers it varies (Refer link at the bottom of the page for a detailed list). Popping an OTC (Over The Counter) Calcium pill may appear to be an easier step, but it is likely to come with side effects. Excess consumption and improper absorption can end up affecting normal functioning of the kidney. So, providing Calcium to the body through food, in moderation, is a safer way.  

Now, when we talk about Food and Calcium first thing most people suggest is, "Drink Milk!." While it is true that diary products score high on Calcium, Milk in particular is not the best source of Calcium. Cow Milk provides 120mg (approx) of Calcium per 100g. The popular misconception 'Milk means Calcium' is primarily due to decades of propaganda by the diary industry. We too spread this misconception and vouch for it  without verifying facts.

The modest Ragi (Finger Millet - Eleusine coracana) on the other hand is a healthier alternative to Milk. Ragi scores better than Milk in terms of Calcium. It provides 350mg (approx) of Calcium per 100g, way ahead of Milk. The fiber rich Ragi is also easy on the digestive tract, suitable for children and old people alike. In children it boosts growth and in adults it provides them sufficient Calcium to keep their bones healthy and strong. For aged people Ragi is an ideal food with balanced nutrition and ample Calcium. It is Vegan and the best alternative for those who are lactose intolerant. It is also the most cost-effective millet that can fit into everyday consumption across all economic segments of the society.

When it comes to using Ragi, it can be easily processed and used like any other cooking flour like wheat. The simplest and quickest dish you can prepare with Ragi is Porridge. Ragi flour can be boiled in water into a Soup or Porridge and had everyday. Ragi flour can be cooked as semi-solid balls. In South India it is called as 'Kali' and had with mashed Greens or Brinjal chutney. Ragi flour can be added to the regular Dosa batter or prepared exclusively to make 'Ragi dosas'. It can also be made into a Roti/Rotla with ginger and other garnishing. It is an amazing millet with a rustic flavor and taste. 

A word of caution: Whenever you add Calcium rich food to your diet, calculate the total value of Calcium your body gets through different types of food that you consume in a day and ensure that it is well within the prescribed everyday nutritive limit. You also need enough Vitamin D for the body to absorb Calcium. Excess unabsorbed Calcium in the body can result in the formation of kidney stones. So ensure that you expose yourself to Sun in the early hours of the day or if you are living in a region where access to Sunlight is less, consider consuming any plant based Vitamin D supplement, which is authentic and safe.

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