Millet is a part of our Indian tradition, and has been forgotten by most of us. In fact, there is a negative attitude towards it especially in urban population who normally think of it is a layman’s food or they call it as village food as they are unattractive and forgetting the fact that they were part of our meal way back 50 to 60 years.
Millet's are group of cereals other than rice, wheat, maize and barley. They are tiny in size, round in shape, and ready to use as it is. They are widely grown around the world as cereal crop. For centuries millet has been a prized crop in India, China, Africa and Egypt. It was also called as treasured crop in the bible!
It can also be used as traditional cereal or it can also be used in porridge, snacks and other breads, since it’s very high in starch, like most other grains. These tiny grains are very good source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. They are also called as power house of fiber, calcium and iron. They are even gluten free, so celiac sufferers can turn to millet's as their source of grains.
There are 6000 varieties of millet throughout the world with grains varying in color from pale yellow to grey, to white and red. Today I would focus on the 4 most commonly used grains in India.
NUTRITIVE VALUE OF MILLETS:
Millet's are superior to rice and wheat by all of the nutritional parameters. They have a very high mineral content compared to rice and wheat. Finger millet has three times more calcium than rice while every other millet has at least twice the amount of calcium compared to rice. While most of us seek a micro nutrient such as beta-carotene in pharmaceutical pills and capsules, millets offer it in abundant amounts. The most privileged rice ironically has zero quantity of this precious nutrient. Therefore, it is extraordinarily superior to rice and wheat in all possible comparisons, and is a solution to micro-nutrient deficiency that affects a vast majority of Indian population.
DIFFERENT NUTRIENTS IN DIFFERENT MILLETS
Nutritive values are for 100 gm of each millet
Health Benefits of Millet's:
Diabetes is a disease found in millions of people around the world. One of the important health effects of millet is to help reduce type 2 diabetes, thanks to the significant levels of magnesium found in these grains. Magnesium is considered one of the most
important minerals for increasing the efficiency of insulin and glucose receptors in the body,
hereby preventing this disease. A 30% reduction in diabetes has been seen in populations who included millets in their diet.
Increases Heart Health
Millet's are a great source of potassium, which keeps blood pressure low by acting as a vasodilator. Reducing blood pressure and optimizing circulatory system is one of the best ways to protect cardiovascular health. Furthermore, the plant lignans found in millet can be converted to animal lignans by the micro flora in our digestive system, which help to protect against certain chronic diseases.
Detoxifies the Body
Lot of the antioxidants found in millets, in addition to their beneficial impact on neutralizing free radicals, which can cause cancer, they can also clean up other toxins from our body, such as those in our kidney and liver.
Research has come to light showing that millet can significantly improve the quality of life for people suffering from asthma, and can also prevent it from developing in the first place. The positive is that millets are gluten-free grains too so it can be well tolerated by many.
Still not convinced?
“It takes only one to three weeks for our body to adapt to new food. Be patient and you’ll start liking millets”