7 Amazing Health Benefits of Fonio(Acha)

Fonio, also known as Acha, is an ancient food that is nutritious, delicious, and has a low glycemic index. Acha is from the millet family. Discussed below are the Amazing Health Benefits of Fonio(Acha).

Fonio is a popular grain grown in West Africa, and it grows very quickly even on lands where other crops won’t grow. It is an alternative to rice, couscous, and quinoa. It is a west African food that is quite popular in Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Mali, Senegal, and Guinea.

It is often known as ‘hungry rice’ as it is considered a poor man’s food. They mature in 6-8 weeks and give nourishment during the growing season when other crops are still immature to harvest. Due to this, they are called the ‘grain of life’.

Fonio was formerly reserved for important people and kings in Togo, Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Mali, and was eaten during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and during festivals like baptisms and weddings. In some parts of Togo, fonio is used to prevent blood clots after childbirth and it helps breastfeeding mothers produce more milk.

Fonio is a crop that has been underutilized, not studied well, and primarily cultivated by subsistence farmers. This tide is gradually changing. Fonio is now one of the most important crops in West Africa.

Recently, it has been in strong competition with other popular grains like quinoa. Due to its nutritional benefits and its ability to diversify one’s diet, it can be found in food markets all around the world.

Nutrition Profile

Fonio is naturally low in sodium cholesterol and fat. Approximately half cooked cup contains:

Calories: 170

Protein: 2 grams

Sugar: 0 grams

Fat: 0.5 grams

Carbs: 39 grams

Fiber: 4% of the Daily Value

Iron: 4% of the Daily Value

Fonio is a good source of the B vitamins, including niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin, which are important for the function of cells, energy production, and growth and development. It contains sulfur and cysteine in abundance compared to other cereals.

It is also a good source of methionine that is an antioxidant. Methionine protects the body from harmful radicals. It also detoxifies harmful substances in the body, such as heavy metals. Methionine also improves skin tone by increasing the production of collagen.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says that Fonio has the highest calcium content of all grains. This may make it a good choice for those who do not consume dairy, such as vegans or individuals with lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance is the inability to fully digest the sugar lactose in dairy products.

It is due to the absence of the enzyme known as lactase. Calcium helps to grow strong bones and teeth, helps muscles to contract, helps in blood clotting, and helps nerves to transport messages between the brain and other parts of the body.

Fonio also contains iron, copper, magnesium, and zinc. Iron is used to make hemoglobin for the body, a protein that transports oxygen throughout the body, and also myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen to the muscles. Iron also makes some hormones for the body. It also participates in DNA synthesis and a variety of metabolic processes in the body.

 Copper helps the body to form red blood cells, maintain healthy blood vessels, bones, nerves, and immunity, and helps with iron absorption. It also forms some important enzymes, helps in the processing of cholesterol, and is important in the growth and development of babies in the womb for pregnant women.

Magnesium provides a healthy immune system, protects the heart, helps develop strong bones, and helps maintain normal nerves and muscle function. It also helps adjust glucose levels and helps in the production of energy.

Zinc helps build the immune system, contributes to cell division and cell growth, assists in wound healing, and helps in the breakdown of carbohydrates.

Amazing Health Benefits of Fonio(Acha)

There are several health benefits of Fonio, but we shall be discussing seven of them in this article. They are as follows:

1. Gluten-free

One health benefit of Fonio is that it is gluten-free. This means that people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance can consume it without worries. It does not contain any of the proteins found in gluten.

Celiac disease is an immune reaction caused by eating gluten. This reaction damages the lining of the small intestine and causes the malabsorption of nutrients. Symptoms of celiac disease include diarrhea, bloating, weight loss, fatigue, and anemia.

2. Good for diabetics

Fonio is good for diabetics as it has a low glycemic index and no sugar content. It does not cause sugar spikes in the body. Doctors also recommend it for diabetics to add it to their food regimen.

Fonio is also good for diabetics because it contains a higher amount of insulin-secreting amino acids, which are Valine, leucine, and isoleucine compared to other cereals such as rice, maize, and millet.

3. Weight loss

Fonio (Acha) is rich in fibers which makes it a filling food and ideal for weight loss. It makes it difficult to have cravings, which may contribute to overeating.

4. Prevents constipation

The fiber in Acha makes it easy for food to digest and for easy bowel movement. Eating Acha will help people suffering from constipation and also prevent colon cancer.

5. Heart health

Fonio is a wholegrain cereal that is rich in phytochemicals and fiber and it helps to prevent and to treat cardiovascular diseases like hypertension.

6. Anaemia prevention

Acha is rich in iron which makes it ideal for preventing anemia. It also prevents fatigue and helps with many metabolic processes in the body. Acha is an ideal food for pregnant women and convalescing people.

7. Wholegrain

Fonio is eaten entirely which makes it a whole grain. Unlike refined grains, it still contains all three parts of the kernel; the bran, endosperm, and the germ. According to the Whole Grains Council, about 25% of a grain’s protein is lost when the bran and germ are removed.

Nutrient losses also occur in many other important nutrients contained in the grain. Whole grains aid in weight loss and gut health. They also help to prevent type 2  diabetes, heart disease, and various forms of cancer.

Conclusion: Health Benefits of Fonio

Fonio (Acha) is a superfood that has been neglected for a while. It is very nutritious and quite beneficial for the body. Endeavor to add Acha to your diet, for a wholesome diet and a beneficial one.


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