The way we lead our lives today is quite different from the lifestyle we led decades ago. Today, the world is getting competitive day by day, resulting in a hectic daily routine. Preparing your kid for life means laying a strong foundation of a healthy body and mind. And, this includes a nutritious diet. One of the foods that can fulfil your baby’s nutrient requirements for a strong body and mind, is ragi.
Ragi, also known as finger millet or Nachni, is a nutrition-packed grain. This slow-growing crop is mainly cultivated in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Uttarakhand. The grain showers various nutritional benefits.
Benefits of Ragi
Aids in Bone Development & Teething
Calcium is essential for healthy bone & teeth development in infants. Ragi is a power-house of calcium. It contains 9 times more calcium than that in other alternatives like brown rice and wheat. Thus, it supports the growth & development of your baby’s bones and teeth.
Helps Brain Development
Loaded with 7 times more iron, Ragi provide nutrition that helps support brain development. By the age of 2, an infant’s brain is approx. 80% of the size of an adult brain. Thus, these rapidly growing cells need iron for effective development & function. Iron also helps support the brain functions of learning, motor control, memorising, and concentration.
Supports in Building Immunity
Ragi contains up to 3 times more Zinc than other grains. Zinc helps cells fight against foreign pathogens and bacteria. A 6-month-old baby’s immune system is yet to mature. Zinc contributes to the development of an effective normal immune system function that protects babies from infection and diseases.
Why Fortified Ragi for Infants?
At times, it can be difficult to determine if your baby is getting an adequate amount of nutrition as per her age requirement.
Breastfeeding is the ideal form of nutrition for your baby. The nutrition from breastmilk is sufficient to fulfil the nutritional requirement in the initial 6 months of life. Post 6 months of age, there is an increased need for nutrition and thus, complementary food should be introduced at this age. Although ragi is highly nutritious, the bioavailability and bioaccessibility of calcium and iron can be challenging due to the inhenrent presence of anti-nutritional factors. This is where fortification comes into the picture.Food fortification or enrichment is the process of adding micronutrients (essential vitamins and minerals) to food.When Ragi is fortified with micronutrients, it increases the nutrient content, helps in better nutrient absorption, and may also help in preventing the risk of micronutrient deficiencies in your baby.
So, if you’ve not thought of including ragi in your baby’s diet, it’s time you do now! A diet that includes breastfeeding, a healthy bowl of fortified ragi along with homemade preparations like khichdi and dal makes the perfect choice for your baby.