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    Ragi During Pregnancy: Benefits & Nutrition Value

    Diet & Nutrition

    Ragi During Pregnancy: Benefits & Nutrition Value

    Updated on 12 July 2023

    Medically Reviewed by


    Diabetes, Weight Loss, Thyroid, PCOS - Masters in Food & Nutrition

    If you're pregnant or planning to be, you've probably heard a lot about the importance of eating a healthy, balanced diet. But did you know that certain foods can offer extra benefits for both you and your growing baby? One such food is ragi, also known as finger millet. This humble grain has been a staple in many cultures for centuries, and for good reason. Not only is it packed with essential nutrients, but you can also get multiple benefits by eating ragi during pregnancy.

    In this article, we'll take a closer look at the nutrition value and benefits of ragi during pregnancy, and why you might want to consider adding it to your diet.

    What is Ragi?

    Ragi is a popular millet in India and is used for making different types of dishes. This millet resembles mustard seeds and is called finger millet in English. Ragi flour is used to make dosas, idlis, Ragi adai, and porridge. It is an unpolished millet, as it is too tiny to be processed. The high iron and carbohydrate content of ragi makes it an ideal breakfast food for everyone.

    You may also like: Benefits of Millets During Pregnancy

    Is It Safe to Consume Ragi During Pregnancy?

    Yes, it is safe to consume ragi in pregnancy. In fact, ragi is highly recommended for pregnant women due to its numerous health benefits. It is a nutritional superfood for pregnant women and is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, calcium, iron, natural fats, and other essential nutrients.

    Benefits of ragi during pregnancy include cell and tissue repair, boosts energy, and helps in dealing with insomnia. Consuming ragi during pregnancy also helps in milk production, controlling cholesterol levels, and reducing the risk of gestational diabetes.

    Despite the many health benefits of ragi, some pregnant women avoid eating it. This is because they believe that eating ragi during pregnancy makes baby dark. This is an absurd myth, as there is no scientific proof that ragi affects the baby's complexion. A baby's complexion is purely dependent on the genetic traits they inherit.

    Ragi Nutritional Information

    Ragi is considered a powerhouse ingredient as it is packed with essential nutrients.

    • Ragi has a variety of micro- and macronutrients along with essential vitamins, proteins, iron, and fats.

    • Ragi is an excellent plant-based source of amino acids such as isoleucine and valine.

    • Ragi also has high contents of vitamin C, vitamin E, folic acid, and calcium.

    • Ragi has a high carbohydrate content of around 336 kcal per 100 g.

    Benefits of Ragi During Pregnancy

    Ragi's benefits during pregnancy cannot be undermined, as this is an excellent superfood for mom and baby. The high nutritional value of ragi helps provide the necessary energy for the mother and aids in proper fetal development.

    The health benefits of ragi during pregnancy include the following:

    1. Source of essential nutrients

    Ragi is jam-packed with essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and natural fats. These nutrients are vital for maintaining the health of pregnant women and ensuring proper fetus development.

    2. Manages insomnia

    Sleeplessness and insomina during pregnancy are common. The amino acids in ragi help pregnant women fight insomnia triggered by pregnancy hormones.

    3. Enhances breastmilk production

    As ragi is high in amino acids, calcium, and iron, it helps boost breast milk supply. These nutrients make ragi an essential food for pregnant and postpartum moms keen on breastfeeding their babies.

    4. Prevents gestational diabetes

    Doctors recommend ragi to expectant mothers at a high risk of developing gestational diabetes. This is because ragi has a high content of polyphenols, which helps reduce blood sugar levels naturally.

    5. Relieves stress

    Pregnant women under much stress or are prone to depression should include ragi in their diet. The amino acids in ragi help to reduce stress levels and depression during pregnancy. Relieving stress is a significant but often overlooked health benefit that ragi provides.

    6. Controls cholesterol levels

    High cholesterol levels during pregnancy pose a significant risk to both the mother and the unborn child. High cholesterol levels can lead to hypertension and other medical complications. Ragi has good levels of lecithin and methionine, which help keep the mother's cholesterol levels in check.

    7. Prevents anemia

    Preventing iron deficiency and anemia in pregnancy is critical as it can hamper fetal development. Ragi contains high iron and vitamin C levels that help prevent anemia during pregnancy.

    How Much Ragi is Safe to Eat During Pregnancy?

    It is recommended to consume ragi in moderation during pregnancy. It can be eaten in various forms, such as rotis, porridge, adai, dosa, ragi chips, millet noodles, instant upma mix, and ragi balls.

    Ragi is a nutrient-dense food, and it is generally recommended to eat to 3-4 teaspoonful of ragi flour in a day during pregnancy. However, pregnant women need to be extra cautious with their diet as it can affect their health adversely. Following the doctor's recommended diet plan is important during pregnancy.

    One easy ragi recipe during pregnancy is ragi porridge. Here's a simple method:

    1. In a saucepan, mix 2 tablespoons of ragi flour with a small amount of water to make a smooth paste.
    2. Add 1 cup of water or milk (dairy or plant-based) to the saucepan and stir well.
    3. Place the saucepan on medium heat and cook the mixture, stirring continuously, until it thickens and reaches a porridge-like consistency.
    4. Optional: Add a natural sweetener like jaggery or dates for added taste.
    5. Serve the ragi porridge warm and enjoy as a nourishing and wholesome snack or breakfast option during pregnancy.

    Are There Any Side Effects of Ragi During Pregnancy?

    Ragi is safe and highly recommended by doctors and elders alike due to its numerous health benefits. However, if you are allergic to ragi, you should avoid consuming it and other food that can cause irritation. Excessive consumption of ragi can lead to bloating, diarrhea, and other digestive issues during pregnancy.

    Ragi should also be avoided by pregnant women who have pre-existing medical conditions such as kidney disease or thyroid imbalance. Ragi's high protein content and goitrogenic compounds can further escalate these medical conditions. Pregnant women should consult their doctor before eating ragi to avoid health issues.


    In conclusion, ragi is a highly nutritious and beneficial grain that can provide numerous health benefits for pregnant women. It is rich in essential nutrients like calcium, iron, fiber, and protein, which are vital for the healthy development of both the mother and the fetus. The consumption of ragi during pregnancy can help prevent anemia, improve digestion, boost immunity, and regulate blood sugar levels. However, it is important to consult a doctor and ensure that ragi is consumed in moderation and as a part of a balanced diet.


    1. Kumar A, Metwal M, Kaur S, Gupta AK; et al. (2016). Nutraceutical Value of Finger Millet [Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn.], and Their Improvement Using Omics Approaches. Front Plant Sci.

    2. Shobana S, Krishnaswamy K, Sudha V; et al. (2013). Finger millet (Ragi, Eleusine coracana L.): a review of its nutritional properties, processing, and plausible health benefits. Adv Food Nutr Res.

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    Medically Reviewed by


    Diabetes, Weight Loss, Thyroid, PCOS - Masters in Food & Nutrition

    Written by



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