Grown in West Africa, this cereal, which comes in the form of small grains similar to quinoa, is full of health benefits. An overview of its benefits with Marie-Laure André, dietitian-nutritionist.
It is a source of vegetable protein
With 8% vegetable protein, fonio is well endowed with this essential nutrient.
“But its great advantage is that it provides methionine and cysteine: these two essential sulphur amino acids participate in the synthesis of proteins in the body, but while they are often deficient in cereals and legumes, fonio has the advantage of containing both”, explains Marie-Laure André, dietician-nutritionist.
Therefore, this cereal has its place in a vegetarian and vegan diet to provide the body with the necessary amino acids to ensure the building and renewal of muscles, bones, hair and nails.
Another piece of good news for people with gluten intolerance or allergy: fonio is completely gluten-free, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of this cereal without risk to their health.
It ensures a good intestinal transit and stops our cravings…
Your trump card? Its high fiber content. It contains almost 4 g, more than the integral rice (2.3 g) or the integral paste (3.3 g).
An amount that allows this cereal to gently revive lazy intestines: by absorbing the water contained in the digestive tract like a sponge, its fiber increases the volume of feces and stimulates intestinal contractions. In 48 hours, constipation is a thing of the past!
Its fibers also have the advantage of calming us down quickly and well because of the swelling in the stomach. This quickly suppresses the desire to eat!
It gives us encouragement and stimulates our grey cells
“This cereal contains a good amount of complex carbohydrates (about 85%), a source of long lasting energy. Therefore, it is a dish of choice before a sports competition or an exam”, says Marie-Laure André.
It is also a source of vitamins B1, B2 and B3, which are involved in the proper functioning of the brain, the production of red blood cells and the transmission of nerve impulses.
As for the minerals, there is no need to overcome them: they contain magnesium with anti-fatigue and anti-stress properties, as well as iron, a mineral often missing in women (about 25% are deficient according to the Assurance Maladie – June 2017) and whose deficit leads to a general weakness.
Therefore, it is the food that must be added to your menu to recover your physical and intellectual vitality.
Finally, it is also a source of calcium, an essential mineral throughout life, as it helps build the skeleton in children, preserves bone density in adulthood and prevents osteoporosis in old age.
Improves our immune system
To overcome the ailments, we depend on this African cereal. It contains a cocktail of zinc, iron, manganese and copper that act synergistically to stimulate the production of B and T lymphocytes.
Its function is to neutralize and destroy bacteria, viruses, microbes and other pathogens that manage to enter our body before they cause disease. Goodbye colds, sore throats and other bronchitis!
Keeps disease at bay
“Thanks to its richness in fiber and antioxidant nutrients (copper, zinc, manganese), this cereal contributes to the prevention of aerodigestive cancers (colorectal, pharynx, esophagus, stomach…) and reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, especially heart attacks”, states our expert.
Its fibers also have the advantage of fighting type 2 diabetes: by slowing the speed of food digestion, particularly of carbohydrates, they decrease the glycemic response of the food and, by rebound, the secretion of insulin, the pancreatic hormone responsible for regulating blood glucose levels.
With its light nutty flavor, fonio is an excellent alternative to cereals classiques : it is used instead of oats to prepare porridge, instead of semolina to cook couscous or rice for an original risotto.
It is also eaten cold and is an excellent base for a mixed salad.
Mixed with a few small vegetables, it is a wonderful accompaniment for fish or meat.
Its preparation is simple:
After rinsing to remove impurities, pour one part of phonium (about 50 g raw per person) into 2.5 parts of cold water in a pan.
Boil it for 7 minutes and then let it swell from the fire for 3 minutes.
You will also find this cereal in the form of flour, to be used alone or mixed with others, to make cakes, pancakes, pies, muffins and other breads.
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