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Everything You Need to Know about the Fonio African Grain and Its Nutrition Contents

what is fonio

Could this newly found grain be replacing the well-known quinoa and rice? Fonio is an ancient African grain that was actually one of the oldest discoveries of West Africa, however a recent discovery for the rest of the world. This grain is considered to be packed full of nutrients, naming it one of the world’s “super grains” as a result of all the health benefits it offers. It is also one of the best discoveries for the plant-based community as it is considered a great source of amino acids that are most commonly only found in animal-based and derived products. Here are some of Fonio nutrition facts and health benefits that may entice you to get your hands on a bag of this ancient grain.

What Is Fonio?

Fonio is one of Africa’s oldest grains and is considered to be the oldest cultivated cereal that the continent has. It is part of the diet in West Africa and is a staple ingredient for those living in mountainous areas such as Faso, Guinea, and Senegal. Fonio also goes by other ancient names such as Acha, Iburura, and “Hungry Rice”. Iburura grows extremely well in the dry conditions of West Africa and is considered to not only be a part of their diet but of their culture too.

Fonio Nutrition Information

There are many health benefits of acha that have been a big part of survival in Africa through the years. It is naturally low in cholesterol, sodium, and fat and provides 39 grams of carbohydrates per serving. Fonio is also a good source of Vitamin B and has the highest calcium content of all grains. Some fonio benefits include :


Many people’s first question when it comes to the grain is “is Fonio gluten-free?” Well lucky for you it most definitely is. It is a naturally gluten-free grain that is perfect for those with gluten sensitivity, allergies, or celiac disease.

Whole Grain

Fonio is considered to be a whole grain which is extremely beneficial for weight loss or weight management and can actually help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.

Aids Blood Sugar Management

It is said that Acha is considered to be a resistant starch that helps increase insulin sensitivity and lowers blood sugar levels. The grain also has a low glycemic index which means that it does not spike your blood sugar when consumed.

Fonio vs Quinoa

fonio benefits

So where does this ancient grain stand, in and amongst one of the other healthiest and most consumed grains quinoa? Fonio and quinoa although very similar are actually quite different. Fonio sits between quinoa and couscous and is almost a perfect combination of the two. Acha is a much cheaper and easier grain to harvest and is considered healthy for people of any age. Both grains are plant-based and provide a good amount of protein and the main difference is really your preference in taste and flavor.

As you can see Fonio is a brilliant grain from the heart of Africa, it is not only delicious but extremely nutritious too. It has so many health benefits and is a great way to support the poorer countries in Africa and contribute towards world sustainability. So the next time you’re creating your favorite dish try opting for a grain alternative such as Forino and test it out for yourself.

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