Touted as the next quinoa, fonio is an ancient grain growing in small pockets throughout rural West Africa. Its grain is the smallest in the millet family, and is harvested using traditionally-made tools to remove the seed from the husk before it is washed and dried. Fonio is customarily used as a staple side dish for breakfast, lunch and dinner in various preparations. It is high in protein, iron and fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Getting to Know Fonio
Fonio is almost unknown in Western Countries, but it has actually been around for more than 5,000 years. It is native to rural areas in Mali, Ghana, Senegal and Burkina Faso. Organic by nature, the fonio plant remarkably produces its own anti-parasitic substances, making chemical treatments unnecessary. It is drought-resistant and tolerates poor soil with little water, so it can grow even in places where nothing else will. It requires no treatment with herbicides or pesticides and is ready to harvest in as little as six weeks.
Health Benefits of Fonio
The gluten-free fonio is a perfect grain for a healthy and balanced diet. It is rich in protein and essential amino acids, and is a great source of fiber, B-vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, among many others. Its low glycemic index and high digestibility makes it ideal for consumers of all ages. Listed below are some of the health benefits of fonio.
- Fonio gives energy. Long been used as a staple food to meet daily energy needs, fonio gives 3.6 calories per gram of grain, similar to other cereals. Its advantage, though, is that it is simple to digest and does not spike up blood sugar levels.
- Fonio promotes digestion. Fonio is easier to digest, making it ideal for children and older people. Its good fiber content will ensure a smooth-working digestive system for better bowel movements. It also improves appetite and promotes the secretion of digestive juices.
- Fonio aids cardiovascular function. Because it is consumed in its whole form, fonio can decrease chances of cardiovascular problems, including heart disease and stroke. Fonio’s barm and germ are teeming with vitamins and minerals that will keep the heart healthy.
- Fonio is good for diabetics. Its lower glycemic index makes fonio a great diabetic food. It is also believed to have insulin-secreting qualities, helping manage blood sugar levels in the body. Fonio has amino acids believed to decrease inflammation.
- Fonio helps with weight loss. Fonio has a great fiber content that will give a full feeling for a longer time. In fact, it is now already touted in the west as a weight loss food. Also, its low glycemic index can help decrease flood cravings.
- Fonio benefits women. Teeming with important amino acids, folic acid and iron, fonio plays a big role in iron metabolism, helping prevent anemia. This grain is also suitable for pregnant and lactating women.
- Fonio for beauty. Fonio contains methionine which is essential for cartilage formation. It strengthens the hair and nails. Methionine also has an antiaging effect on the skin that can slow down the aging process.
How to Enjoy Fonio
Fonio can be used for salads in the place of farro and quinoa, and in any recipe with meat or fish. It is great for vegan burger or croquettes, as well as stuffing for vegetables in place of meat or bread. Fonio is also available in flour form, and is delicious for any kind of baked goods like cookies, breads and cakes. This ancient super grain is now available in a whole range of products that will take you on a journey to healing and to a healthier lifestyle.