What is Fonio and what are its health benefits?
Fonio is a grain that is grown in West Africa and is becoming increasingly popular is a gluten free, nutritious grain that can be used in cooking and in baking. It has been an important crop in some parts of Africa because it is highly nutritious, it grows very quickly and it can be grown on land where other cereal crops won’t grow. Even though fonio is highly nutritious and is now gaining a reputation as a superfood, up until recently, it had been very difficult to mass produce because, the grain is so small it was too difficult to remove the husk. Now, however, modern technology has found a way, and the grain that is known as “The Hungry Rice” is now far more readily available. Fonio has more nutritional value than most other grains and is rich in calcium, magnesium and zinc. Here are ten of the amazing health benefits of fonio that everyone is talking about.
1. Gluten free
Gluten intolerance and celiac disease are on the rise in many parts of the world and the only way of treating it, is to not eat foods that contain gluten. Fonio is gluten free and it doesn’t contain any of the proteins that are found in gluten, so it is perfectly safe to eat if you do have celiac disease.
2. Heart healthy
Wholegrains are considered to be essential for the health of the heart and the cardiovascular system, and fonio is no exception to that. If fact, fonio contains even more of the heart friendly vitamins and minerals than other grains do and including fonio in your diet will help to the reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
3. Strengthens nails and hair
Fonio contains an amino acid called methionine, which is known to be important for the body’s production of cartilage and it can also help to strengthen the hair and nails. As well as strengthening the hair, which will help stop breakage, it is also believed to be able to help stop hair loss too.
4. Controls diabetes
Fonio has a very low glycaemic index, so it is absorbed into the body slowly and doesn’t cause spikes in the blood sugar levels that other refined grains do. It also contains sulphur, chromium and amino acids that help to control diabetes and studies have indicated that eating fonio might be a way to control blood sugar levels in diabetics.
5. Aids digestion
In Africa, people often eat fonio as a remedy for stomach complaints. It is very easy to digest and, because it has such high fibre content, it also passes easily through the body and will ease constipation and improve the digestive process.
6. Aids weight loss
Because of its low glycemic index and its high fibre content, fonio can also be a very useful food to eat when you are trying to lose some weight. It will fill you up fast and keep you feeling full for some time. Its steady release of energy will also help to avoid food cravings after a meal as well.
7. Helps to prevent anaemia
Fonio is often recommended in Africa as a food for pregnant women. It has a high concentration of iron, so it helps to stop anaemia developing, and it also contains folic acid and other amino acids that are beneficial for women during pregnancy.
8. Provides energy
Fonio provides a great source of energy. Unlike foods that give you a spike in energy and leave you feeling tired later, fonio is easily digested and then provides you with a slow release source of energy that will last through to your next meal. That, along with its great taste, is why is starting to become popular as a breakfast cereal.
9. Detoxes the liver
The essential amino acids that fonio contains, especially cystine and methionine, help to detoxify the liver and the body. They help the liver to function properly and remove unwanted toxins from the bloodstream. Early studies have suggested that eating fonio could help to prevent liver disease and colon cancer.
10. Builds strong bones and teeth
Fonio is also a good source of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, all of which help to build strong bones and teeth. That makes it an ideal food for growing children and a food that will help stop bone diseases like osteoporosis in later life too. In fact, the nutritional content of fonio reads like the label on the back of a multivitamin packet, so it looks like fonio deserves its reputation as a superfood.
Do you know other health benefits of fonio grain?
Stay happy and healthy!