Fonio- Is This Super Grain All Set To Replace Our Darling Quinoa?

What is fonio?

Fonio is the name for cultivated grass Digitaria grasses which are remarkable in western Africa. They’re small grain millets. Fonio is an advantageous nutritious food. It is primarily consumed in the countries of West Africa, where it is also grown. Native to Western Africa, the region of Burkina Faso, Guinea, Senegal, Mali, and Nigeria is a staple that is most frequently seen in the mountain range. Acha, iburura, and hungry rice are also known as fonio.

White fonio, Digitaria exilis, is a perennial grass grown for its grain in the Poaceae family that is used to produce porridge. Fonio is an upright, fragile tillering grass with alternating leaves and sticks. The bladder leaves can reach a length of 15 cm (6 inches) or are linear or tapering. The plant makes pickles in branched, spike-like panicles in which the grain is grown. One single fluorescence has 2-5 racemes in which spikes have a lactation appearance, arranged in pairs or threes or fours.

Like rice, fonio is very good and after cooking swells to almost twice their size. Fonio generally is often used to make a porridge meal, but in most recipes, you can also replace your favourite grain. A grain bowl with a few roasted vegetables can be made, served as a salad on the side, or mixed with fonio pilaf’s nuts and raisins. It’s a simple substitute for bulgur or a suitable couscous stand-in.

Fundamental conditions Fonio is a tropical plant that needs to grow properly during the summer months. The plant is best grown in areas where the average plant rainfall varies from 900 to 1000 mm at temperatures between 25 and 30° C (77–86° F). Fonio is cultivable in a variety of soils and is typically cultivated in soils found to be too low in nutrients for other crops. In light sandy soils, the plants are best cultivated and they are mostly cultivated with corn, sorghum, or millet rotations.

Funio belongs to the millet family and has two major forms :
  1. Digitaria iburua: The black or brown grain is grown mostly in parts of Nigeria, Togo, and Benin. 
  2. Digitaria Exilis: The white grain is produced both in Senegal, Chad, and Central Nigeria. It is the most widely consumed of the two species and is easier to acquire outside Africa.

Nutritional content

Includes 1/4 (45 g) of dry fonium – about 1/2 cup cooked – in addition to being naturally low in cholesterol, sodium, and fat:

  1. Calories: 170
  2. Protein: 2 grams
  3. Sugar: 0 grams
  4. Fat: 0.5 grams
  5. Carbs: 39 grams
  6. Fibre: 4% of the Daily Value (DV)
  7. Iron: 4% of the DV

Fonio is a good source of B vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin that is important for cell growth, development and function, and the production of energy. FAO indicates that fonio has the highest calcium content of all grains. It is also known as Food and Agriculture. For those who may not drink the milk, such as vegans or people with lactose intolerance, this could be a good option. The iron, copper, zinc, and magnesium are given by Fonio.

Iron and copper help shape red blood cells, connective tissues, and blood cells, while zinc is essential to cell growth and cell division, protein synthesis. The production of magnesium is important to sustain various biochemical reactions.

Fonio uses

Fonio tastes aromatic and nutty with a couscous-like texture. It can be quickly integrated into a wide range of kitchens and preparations. Fonio can be consumed in the same way as other grains: hot or cold, sweet or savoury, such as millet, quinoas, or oats. It is normally split and can then be eaten as a bowl of sweet, creamy cereal or introduced into a soup, salad, or stew, or into a veggie burger.

Fonio can also become mealy and be used in cookies or brownies, for example. In the kitchen with these versatile grains there seem to be countless possibilities for the imagination. Some recipes in which you can include Fonio are:

  • Replace any crop, including rice, couscous, millet, sorghum, quinoa, and barley with fonio.
  • Using it in porridge the way you would have used oats.
  • Fill it with soups and raisins.
  • In salads, you can sprinkle it.
  • In baked goods such as pizza, cookies, cakes, and bars, utilizing fonio flour.

Fonio benefits

  • Gluten-free 

In certain parts of the world, gluten allergy and celiac disease are on the rise, and the only way to treat them is by not consuming gluten-containing foods. Fonio is gluten-free and contains no proteins contained in gluten, meaning even if you have celiac disease, it is completely healthy to eat.

  • Is good for the heart

Whole grains are regarded as important for cardiovascular and heart health and Fonio is no exception. Indeed, Fonio offers many more heart-friendly vitamins, minerals and Fonio in your diet helps minimize the likelihood of cardiovascular problems than other grains do.

  • Good for digestion

Fonio, because of its very high fibre content, can also be very quickly digested and pass through the body, decreasing constipation and improving digestive activity.

  • Helps in weight loss
what is fonio
Asian woman weight loss and diet concept

Thanks to its low glycemic index and high fibre content, Fonio can also be a useful food to consume when you want to lose weight. It will fill you up easily and hold you full for a while. It also contributes to preventing food cravings after a meal through its permanent release of energy.

  • Diabetes management

Fonio’s glycemic index is relatively low, so it slowly absorbs into the body and does not cause blood sugar spikes as other processed grains do. It also includes sulfur, chromium, and amino acids, and studies have shown that in diabetes it can also be a method of regulating blood sugar levels.

Fonio is an African cereal, also known as an ancient cereal, eaten primarily in West Africa. It is naturally gluten-free and provides a strong amino acid profile and other possible nutritional benefits, such as better control of blood sugar. Fonio is easy to cook and flexible, making it fit for many delicious dishes.

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