Thursday, April 15

What is fonio and what are the benefits of this cereal

Fonio is a cereal of the same genus as millet, and it is widely cultivated in Africa. According Healthline, fonio has an important sociocultural significance in some African countries, also fulfilling an important role in food safety.

Beyond its sociocultural importance, fonio has quite an interesting nutritional content, and that results in various benefits that make fonio a cereal that could help us a lot to be integrated into our diet.

1. Benefits of fonio

Fonio is a very good source of B-complex vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin, which are necessary for the proper growth, development, and function of cells, as well as for energy production.

FAO suggests that fonio has the highest calcium concentration of all grains. This would make it an interesting alternative for those who do not consume or cannot consume dairy, such as vegans or lactose intolerant.

The fonio also contributes iron, copper, zinc and magnesium. Iron and copper assist in the formation of red blood cells and connective tissue, while zinc plays a role in immune function, protein synthesis, and cell growth and division.

For its part, magnesium helps in numerous biochemical reactions, and is necessary for energy production.

Flowers Thailand, Chom Fonio Flower Tassel
Fonio is a widely cultivated cereal in Africa. Source: Shutterstock.

2. Ways to consume fonio

There are two main ways to take fonio and thus include it in our diet. One is the fonio in grain, and the other is fonio flour.

2.1. Fonio in grain

Grain fonio can be used for stews, especially legumes, or to prepare dishes similar to those that would be made with rice, although with a slightly longer cooking time. Like millet, it pairs very well with quinoa.

To cook the fonio, boil 2 parts of salted water and when they start to boil, add 1 part of previously washed fonio. Turn off the heat and cover for 5 minutes so that the fonio hydrates.

2.2. Fonio flour

Fonio is used in confectionery thanks to its binding capacity, which is quite useful when you want to make products without eggs.

One of the benefits of fonio flour is its lack of gluten, which allows its consumption by people with celiac disease.

The use of fonio is not very common in the West, so maybe you can take full advantage of it in the first few changes. However, with some practice, fonio will be more likely to offer you all the benefits that this food can give you.

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