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Sadza rezviyo: Healthy benefits of finger millet

Sadza rezviyo is a Zimbabwean stiff porridge made from finger millet (Eleusin coracana) flour. A lot of people have asked me if sadza rezviyo is healthy. Well, the answer is yes. Sadza rezviyo is more healthy than you can imagine. Studies show that finger millet is one of the healthiest cereals available. It is richer in beneficial phytochemicals than other grains And in addition, sadza rezviyo have a lesser energy density than maize. Let me explain why sadza rezviyo is a better option.

Finger millet is a good healthy cereal for low income families.
Finger millet is a good healthy cereal for low income families

Also read: Traditional foods in Zimbabwe

Health benefits of finger millet pap/ sadza rezviyo

As I explained above, sadza rezviyo is a  stiff porridge or pap made from finger millet. You may be familiar with maize meal stiff porridge or pap. Finger millet is known as zviyo in Shona, Zimbabwe. In South Africa, it’s known as rapoko.

Finger millet is sometimes considered a super cereal. Because it is one of the most nutritious cereals. So, any food made from finger millet like sadza rezviyo, is just as healthy!

Because of this, I will use sadza rezviyo and finger millet interchangeably in this article. Don’t get confused.

Generally, sadza rezviyo has many benefits when compared to its maize counterpart.

Nutrients facts of finger millet pap/ sadza rezyiyo

Sadza rezviyo is made from finger millet flour. Finger millet is a highly nutritious nutrient-rich grain. Studies show that it has a higher nutrient density than the major grains. These major grains include wheat, maize and barley. This means that if you compare a cup of maize meal to a cup of finger millet flour. Finger millet flour is superior nutritionally.

Finger millet flour is the richest source of calcium among cereals. The calcium content of finger millet is 10 fold higher than that in wheat and maize. And it is 3 fold higher than that of cow’s milk! Now, you may be as surprised as I was. And believe me, this is real. Sadza rezviyo gives you more calcium than cow’s milk.

Finger millet is also an excellent source of iron and dietary fibre. As a result, it’s more nutritious than other cereals.

It is one of the few kinds of cereal that are enriched with essential amino acids. These are amino acids that the body needs but can’t make. As a result, they must come from the diet. Finger millet contains lysine, tryptophan and methionine among other essential amino acids. This makes finger millet a healthy cereal. Because most of the essential amino acids are absent in other plant foods.

Finger millet also contains useful quantities of healthy unsaturated fats. These are important for the development of your central nervous system. They are also important in brain health and neural tissue development.

Minerals and vitamins

Finally, sadza rezviyo is a rich source of other minerals and vitamins. They are good sources of Vitamin A, B complex and tocopherols. They are also good sources of magnesium and phosphorus.

So, sadza rezviyo is a very healthy food. It’s healthier than maize which is mostly starch. And unlike maize finger millet flour is made from the whole grain. This allows you to retain all nutrients in your sadza rezviyo. This is unlike maize which can be dehulled before milling. And the dehulling, removes all the nutrients from the  maize meal.

Health benefits of sadza rezviyo/ finger millet

In addition to all the nutrients, sadza rezviyo/ finger millet is loaded with healthy compounds. These phytochemicals have nutraceutical properties that help your body flourish. The major phytochemicals present are polyphenols. These have are described as lifespan essential compounds. Studies show that they help you maintain bodily functions throughout life. These phytochemicals help minimise disease incidences to regular consumers. So, regular consumers of sadza rezviyo, have protection from several diseases. Phytochemicals in sadza rezviyo can help you improve your health. Here is how:

Antidiabetic activities of sadza rezviyo

Finger millet is good for diabetic people
Finger millet is a good healthy cereal for low income families.

You may know that sadza rezviyo is recommended for diabetic people. This is not surprising due to several reasons. Sadza rezviyo or finger millet can arrest post-meal blood glucose spikes. These spikes in blood glucose after meals are unhealthy. They result in the development of chronic conditions in diabetics. These include diabetic neuropathy and nephropathy.

Post-meal blood glucose spikes are controlled by the diet. Such a diet must include complex carbohydrates and dietary fibre. And finger millet can help alleviate this problem. Because it is rich in complex carbohydrates and dietary fibre. So, when you eat sadza rezviyo, it releases glucose slowly into the bloodstream. Because the complex carbohydrates and fibre complicate the digestion process. As a result, finger millet is slowly digested and assimilated than other cereals.  And this is good for your post-meal blood glucose levels.

Finger millet is a low glycemic load food that is good for diabetic people. Regular consumption of sadza rezviyo/ finger millet reduces your risk of getting diabetes. And it also helps you manage your blood glucose levels.

Benefits of slowed digestion

Due to the slow digestion of the cereal, you also stay satiated for longer. This reduces your meal frequency. It also reduces your risks of overeating. And it becomes easier to control your blood glucose levels.

Phenolic compounds in finger millet partially inhibit alpha-amylase and beta-glucosidase. These enzymes are important in the digestion of starch. So, they also slow down the digestion of starch. And as a result, the assimilation of glucose is reduced.

Sadza rezviyo and other finger millet-based foods help in preventing and treating diabetes.

Finger millet helps in fighting oxidative stress in diabetes patients.

People with diabetes are easily affected by oxidative stress. This oxidative stress cause diabetes complications. These include diabetes retinopathy, neuropathy and vasculopathy. Sadza rezviyo contains phenolic compounds found in finger millet. These phenolic compounds have strong antioxidant properties. As a result, they can protect you from oxidative stress. They reduce your risks of organ damage and the development of complications. Finger millet helps in delaying diabetes linked cataract formation.

Oxidative stress can damage you even if you are not diabetic. Unhealthy diets may cause oxidative stress. This damages your body and results in inflammation and organ damage. The antioxidant power of finger millet can protect you from this damage. So eating sadza rezviyo regularly is beneficial to all!

Sadza rezviyo/ finger millet flour helps in healthier ageing

An anti-ageing food does not stop the ageing process. It delays the effects of ageing. It also allows for healthier and more comfortable ageing.

The glycation of sugars and amino acids is an undesirable process. Accumulation of glycation products in the body is harmful. And it is responsible for many complications related to diabetes and ageing.

Finger millet phytochemicals act as natural therapeutics against glycation. They provide you with the ability to fight the glycation process. They also help prevent the accumulation of glycation products in the body. Therefore, finger millet helps reduce glycation induced complications. And it allows for a healthier ageing process

Finger millet foods like sadza rezviyo also inhibit collagen cross-linking. This also helps in slowing down the ageing process. This is because it reduces the stiffness of elastic tissues in tendons skin and blood vessels.

Sadza rezviyo boosts your wound healing properties

A finger millet diet can help improve wound healing in early diabetes. It can also help improve wound healing in the elderly.

For a wound to heal, your cells on the damaged area facilitate an inflammatory response. This is a protective process that helps facilitate healing. The inflammation results in accelerated tissue repair. However, in diabetes patients and elderly people, oxidative stress prevents this. It damages the static cells at wound sites and impairs healing. As a result, the wound deepens and necrosis occurs. Because the wounds fail to heal. However, we already said finger millet can help you fight oxidative stress. And this improves your wound healing and tissue repair.

Antioxidant activities of sadza rezviyo

The seed coat of finger millet is rich in polyphenolic compounds. These compounds have powerful antioxidant activities. White varieties of finger millet have lower polyphenols than brown varieties. So, the darker your millet or sadza rezviyo the better!

Antioxidants give finger millet the ability to fight oxidative stress. They help in fighting toxicity, diet, disease and environmental-related oxidative damage.

Finger millet polyphenols also enhance the activity of antioxidant enzymes in the body. Therefore they offer both dietary antioxidant protection. And also activate the body’s antioxidant defense mechanisms.

Anticancer properties

Again finger millet is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants. It also contains limited quantities of flavonoids. All these compounds have anticarcinogenic properties.

Carcinogens are cancer-causing agents. Finger millet diets help in preventing carcinogen-induced oxidative damage. It suppresses cellular oxidation and protects you from different types of cancers. Ferulic acid in finger millet blocks carcinogens from harming tissues. Phenolic compounds in sadza rezviyo are also natural chemotherapeutic agents against cancers. Millet consumption also lowers incidences of oesophageal cancer. This can’t happen with wheat or maize consumption.

Sadza rezviyo is good for the heart

A finger millet diet has potent antioxidant properties. As a result, it lowers lipid peroxidation in the body. This reduces your risk of getting atherosclerosis. And therefore it protects against stroke and heart attacks.

Eating a multigrain meal containing finger millet is healthy too. It helps in controlling antioxidant and cholesterol metabolism. This is more common in conditions of hypercholesterolemia (elevated blood cholesterol levels).

Finger millet also reduces the oxidation of LDL cholesterol which can be harmful. The soluble fibre from finger millet reduces the reabsorption of bile acids into the body. And it reduces LDL cholesterol.

Protection from gastrointestinal disorders (GIT)

You may have had gut discomforts at one point in time. And you may know just how unpleasant they can be. Now, finger millet helps in ensuring a healthier gut.

Celiacs disease is a lifelong autoimmune genetic disorder. And ingesting gluten triggers the disorder. This is a protein mainly present in wheat, rye and barley. The only solution is strict adherence to a gluten-free diet. Finger millet is gluten-free. It can therefore be used as a substitute cereal. A healthier one too!

Finger millet is good for celiacs disease.
Finger millet is good for celiacs disease

Finger millet is rich in soluble and insoluble fibre. This dietary fibre resists digestion in the gastrointestinal tract. As a result, it helps prevent gut disorders, colon cancer, coronary heart disease and diabetes!

Dietary fibre also help in bulking up stool through water retention. This helps ease your egestion process in the toilet. It also ensures that you have regular and healthier bowel movements. Soluble dietary fibre also acts as a lubricant that ease bowel movements. Studies show that a finger millet diet has laxative properties. As a result, it helps stimulate bowel movements.

Polyphenols in finger millet also help reduce peptic inflammation. And finally, sadza rezviyo is good for your gut health.

A good cereal for fighting malnutrition

Surprisingly, some NGOs are trying to prevent malnutrition using white maize. White maize is as guilty as they come when it comes to malnutrition. Finger millet and sadza rezviyo on the other hand, are stars.

Finger millet is an easily digestible grain. This means nutrients can easily be made available to the consumer. It has a higher protein content than maize and other cereals. Therefore, we can use it in fighting protein-energy malnutrition. It is rich in essential amino acids that are essential for healthy growth in children. They are also important for your optimum health.

Sadza rezviyo also contains useful quantities of vitamins and minerals. This helps in preventing micronutrient deficiencies that are a common occurrence in Africa.

Osteoporosis and bone ailments

Sadza rezviyo has a calcium content.
Finger millet is rich in calcium

Osteoporosis is a condition in which you can lose bone mass. And it is prevalent in adults especially postmenopausal women. This condition is usually treated with calcium supplements. However, these calcium supplements have side effects.

A high intake of naturally available calcium from food can help. And finger millet is an excellent calcium source. You can therefore use it as a natural calcium supplement. Finger millet can also help boost calcium intake in children and pregnant women.

Reference articles

Conclusion on sadza rezviyo

Sadza rezviyo is made from finger millet. This makes it just as healthy. Including finger millet, sadza rezviyo in your diet is the best thing to do now rather than later. Not only is it going to protect you from disease, but it also helps in minimizing the damage. Can we say the same about maize? No! So, what are you waiting for!  Start eating finger millet now! Its not always good for your to wait till you are sick. Tell me what you think in the comment section.

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