What are millets
Millets, which look like tiny grains are actually seeds belonging to the grass family POACEAE. They are very old small grains once used as a staple food in India.
- They are referred to as grains because of their similarity in looks to the grains.
- It is a yearly plant extensively grown as a cereal in the dry areas of India, especially in the southern part.
- Benefits of millets are known for ages but still somehow the millets got lost in the advent of urban lifestyle and green revolution which gave importance to rice and wheat as major crops.
- Unlike other cereals, millets require little water and ground fertility for growing and can grow in any kind of soil with less maintenance.
- They were once enjoyed the tag of “poor man’s food grain” due to its sheer affordability.
- They are highly nutritious, non-glutinous and not acid-forming.
- Now gluten-free and veganism being in trend and learning of therapeutic aspects of millets, wellness enthusiasts are slowly realizing the importance of millet as a healthy cereal.
- Millets might have been devoured by people for more than 6,000 years and played a vital role in the ascent of multi-crop agriculture.
- 97% of millet production is in the semiarid tropics of Asia and Africa (especially developing countries like India, Mali, Nigeria and Niger).
Consumption of Millets
- Millets can be used as an alternative to rice.
- Don’t consume only one millet continuously or don’t follow a millet only diet for a long time. Try different millets in moderation, excess consumption may cause adverse effects on our body.
- Any age group can consume millets.
- Millets make you full for a longer time than rice and wheat.
Consuming millets can help you to prevent many lifestyle related disorders and diseases.
- Easy to cook (I’ll explain how to cook millet in another post).
Benefits of Millets
Millets are for anyone and everyone, for healthy as well as for unhealthy people, for curing as well as for staying away from an ailment. The benefits of millets are enormous, surpassing those of all other crops.
- Gluten-free: Unlike wheat, millets are gluten-free and thus fit for people suffering from celiac disease.
- Nutrient-Rich: A gold mine of nutrients like copper, magnesium, calcium etc.
- Rich in anti-oxidants: Detox our body by flushing out harmful radicals. This in turn raises our immunity levels.
- Easily digestible: being rich in fibre these are good for digestion. This is the reason in many regions especially in South India, mothers start feeding their babies with Finger millet (Ragi) at the tender age of 8 months.
- Low GI: Because of low GI, millets are good not only for diabetic people but also for non-diabetic by keeping sugar levels in control.
- Less calorie-count: Being low in calories, they are good for calorie conscious people.
- Aids in weight loss: Along with being low in calories millets contain tryptophan, an amino acid that lowers appetite and thus helps in managing weight.
- Treats Insomnia: Tryptophan in millets maintains the serotonin levels which reduces stress and helps in aiding sound sleep.
- Non-acid forming: No fear of bloating or indigestion with these seeds.
- Millets are high in Goitrogens, Oxalates, Inhibitors & Phytates, GI disturbances due to high fibre.
Different types of millets
- Major millets
- Minor millets
- Barnyard Millet
- Browntop Millet
- Finger Millet
- Foxtail Millet
- Great Millet
- Kodo Millet
- Little Millet
- Pearl Millet
- Proso Millet
Source – Health related articles and videos