Fonio has been predicted to be one of the hottest food trends of 2020 by Whole Foods and The Times and it’s not hard to see why. In this article we take a look at the top 10 fonio benefits.



Fonio is excellent for celiacs and anyone who are gluten intolerant because it is naturally gluten-free. According to celiac US, eating gluten can cause celiac disease, also known as coeliac disease, a dangerous condition in which the body’s immune system destroys its own tissues. One in 100 persons globally are affected by the widespread celiac disease. Bloating, diarrhea, nausea, wind, constipation, fatigue, and anemia are just a few of the symptoms that can appear. The disease is treated by cutting out gluten from the diet.

Compared to wheat or barley, fonio has a genetic affinity towards millet (subfamily Panicoideae) (sub-family Pooideae). In light of this, fonio is said to have “no harmful effects for anyone with a gluten allergy,” including celiac. Fonio is renowned for being simple to digest and beneficial for those with stomach discomfort or digestive problems because it is free of gluten. 


Based on their overall impact on blood glucose levels, foods with carbs are ranked according to the Glycemic Index (GI). Foods with a sluggish absorption rate get a low ranking because they cause minimal changes in blood glucose. People with diabetes should choose low GI foods since they can help balance blood glucose levels. They may also lower the risk of developing heart disease.

According to studies (Methode Montignaque, France; Sante Diabete Mali; and USDA/Institute of Food Science Technology, Senegal), the GI of fonio ranges from 50 to 66. While brown rice has a GI of 68 and white rice a GI of 73 (Harvard Medical School).


Fonio’s low GI and sugar content helps diabetics by reducing fluctuations in blood glucose and insulin levels. This is widely known in West Africa. Doctors in Nigeria, according to one report, recommend fonio to diabetic patients, and fonio sellers identify diabetic patients as their main customers.

Another reason that fonio is a good choice for diabetics, according to the Collaborative Crop Research Programme (CCRP), is that it contains more insulin-secreting amino acids (valine, leucine, isoleucine) than other cereals like rice, maize, or millet.


Amino acids are essential for human health and form an important element of the human diet. They are the building blocks of protein, which are required for the body’s normal growth and development. There are nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce and must thus be obtained from diet.

Fonio is particularly high in essential amino acids, which distinguishes it from other grains. It is high in cysteine and methionine, two amino acids that are essential for human growth and metabolism but are typically lacking in today’s key cereals: wheat, rice, maize, sorghum, barley, and rye. These two Sulphur-containing amino acids have been linked to improved skin, hair, nail, and general wellness. Methionine has an anti-aging impact on the skin, helps to prevent hair loss, strengthens nails, and aids the liver in fat metabolism. Cysteine is a key component of the proteins that make up hair, nails, and skin, and it plays an important role in detoxification processes in the body. According to one research, fonio protein has nearly twice as much methionine as egg protein, and it contains three times as much as rice protein.


Fonio has 4.6mg of iron per 100g, which is 33% of your daily required consumption (RI). Iron is a vital element in the body that helps with everything from a robust immune system to battling exhaustion and fatigue. Because of its high iron content, fonio is especially beneficial to persons suffering from anemia and iron deficiency.


Fonio Super-Grain is rich in nutrients that support the release of energy in the body. It is a rich source of iron and a source of thiamin (vitamin B1), niacin (vitamin B3) and phosphorus, all of which are essential nutrients for healthy energy-yielding metabolism. Iron and niacin are also essential for the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. As well as being packed with energy supporting nutrients, it is also low GI meaning the release of energy is slow, avoiding energy spikes. Try fonio in your morning porridge to keep you energized all day!


Food is an often-overlooked component of mental health however the body needs certain nutrients to work effectively and this includes our psychological and neurological processes. Fonio Super-Grain is a source of B vitamins including thiamin (B1) and niacin (B3), both of which are essential for the healthy functioning of the nervous system and normal psychological function.


Cognitive function is the term used to describe our mental abilities including learning, thinking, reasoning, remembering, problem solving, decision making and attention. For all these vital processes to work effectively, certain nutrients are required. Fonio is a rich source of iron and a source of zinc, two minerals essential for normal cognitive function.


A healthy cardiovascular system is key to our overall health and wellbeing, ensuring the effective transportation of nutrients, oxygen and water to every cell in the body. Fonio Super-Grain is rich in iron, which supports oxygen transport in the body and a source of thiamin (vitamin B1), which contributes to the healthy function of the heart. It is also low GI helping reduce the risk of heart disease.


A strong immune system helps the body fight off attacks by viruses, bacteria and other foreign bodies that can cause infections and illness. Keeping our immune systems strong is key to our overall health and the foods we eat can help. Iron is one of the essential minerals for the normal function of the immune system and Fonio is a rich source of iron so including it in your diet can help you stay immune strong.


These are what we believe to be the top ten health benefits of Fonio, however, the truth is that there are many more. For example, zinc contributes to the maintenance of healthy skin, nails, hair and vision as well as healthy fertility, reproduction and testosterone levels in the body. It also protects cells from oxidative stress. Niacin contributes to the maintenance of normal skin, phosphorus supports healthy bones and teeth and each of the amino acids in fonio support specific health benefits.

Fonio is suitable for vegans and vegetarians and those following a Kosher diet and contains no additives or preservatives. Incorporating fonio into your diet as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle is an easy and delicious way to improve your wellbeing. Just swap out rice, couscous or quinoa for fonio in any recipe or use it as a side dish to soak up sauces.

Fonio Super-Grain is available from our online store. To find out more about fonio, read our Blog post or check-out our Fonio recipes. Enjoy!


¹ Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains”. Board on Science and Technology for International Development, Office of International Affairs, National Research Council. 1996. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

² Nutritional properties of Fonio: health claims and evidence”, Fibre, Food & Beauty for poverty reduction

³ Celiac Disease Foundation

Bezalel Adainoo, Stay Well Now,

Collaborative Crop Research Programme, 

Fonio, an African cereal. J Cruz et al. 2011. Éditions Quæ, CTA, Presses agronomiques de Gembloux. CIRAD.

All nutrient health claims are taken from the European Commission Nutrition and Health Claims Database: 

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