Millet is a group of small-seeded grasses, which is cultivated throughout the world for human consumption. It is mainly grown in developing countries. but, its ability to grow in relatively harsh, arid and dry environments makes it a highly versatile crop. India cultivates over 8 million tons of these grains every year followed by Africa and China. It can be used as a traditional cereal and can also be used in porridge, snacks and other types of bread. Cross-contamination is still possible and millet should be purchased from factories that do not produce other grains that contain gluten. Millet is tiny in size and round in shape and can be white, gray, yellow or red like you can see in pictures. Millets are very high in their nutrition content.
The most popular type of millet grain that is grown is called pearl millet, which contains a whole range of nutrients and essential minerals and it tastes good too. Millet is gluten-free, so Celiac sufferers can turn to it as their source of grains, instead of wheat. When in doubt read the packaging. Millet is important because of its uniquely high content of nutrients. Nutrient Database, it contains high starch levels, B vitamins, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, magnesium and fats. It is now a well-proven fact that consuming whole grains on a regular basis may help lose weight, owing to the rich content of fiber and bioactive compounds in them.
Types of Millets
- Pearl millet ( Bajra )
- Barnyard millet ( Udalu )
- Sorghum ( Jonna )
- Foxtail millet ( korra)
- Little millet ( Samalu )
- Kodo millet ( Arikalu )
Health Benefits of Millets:
1.Treats Coronary Artery Disorder:
Consumption of millet in large amount helps decrease triglyceride levels in the body. It thins the blood to prevent blood platelet clumping, thereby reducing the risk of sunstroke and coronary artery disorder.
2. Helps in weight loss:
It will also provide you with a steady source of energy, so you won’t feel the need to eat snacks after you have eaten a meal that contains millet. Millets are high in fiber and satiate hunger quickly, preventing from overeating. People who want to lose weight should incorporate millets in at least one of their main meals. Another one of great health benefits of millet is that adding it to your diet can also help you to lose weight.
3. Good Source of Antioxidants:
The high amount of antioxidants present in millets fights free radicals present in the body which slows down the ageing process. According to their research, most of the studies have explored the ‘free’ forms of antioxidants seen amply in fruits and vegetables.
4. Helps to decrease high blood pressure:
Magnesium in millet relaxes the muscles that line the inside of the arterial wall, which helps to reduce blood pressure. It also reduces the severity of asthma and frequency of migraines.
5. Protects Heart Health:
Millet can be one of the healthier grains to add to your diet if you want to protect your heart. It is a rich source of magnesium, which is an important mineral for reducing blood pressure and the risk of heart attack or stroke. One of the Phytonutrients amply present in millets is lignans. Lignans are known to be prebiotic fiber which is fermented in our gut by bacteria.
6. It provides good source of energy:
It has a high starch content, which provides energy and it is also a good source of fibre and protein. The amino acids that are found in pearl millet are also much easier for the body to digest, than those that are found in wheat.
7. Controls Cholesterol levels:
Dietary fiber also helps to eliminate bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) from the system while promoting the effects of good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol). One of amazing health benefits of millet is that it has also been found to be very effective at reducing the levels of cholesterol in the blood.
8. Controls Diabetes:
Millet is a good source of magnesium, which is known to increase the effectiveness of insulin in the body and help to avoid diabetes developing Millet at its source is a gluten-free whole grain. It is a good source of fiber and has a low glycemic index which has a positive effect in the fight against diabetes. It also helps to eliminate problems like constipation, excess gas, bloating and cramping. Millets increase insulin sensitivity for people suffering with diabetes and also helps to control the sugar levels for non-diabetics especially type 2 Diabetes..
9. Helps to prevent Asthma:
As wheat is a common allergen associated with asthma and wheezing, millet does not have the same components and hence, does not have this negative effect. Studies have found that a combination of whole grains like millets and fish helps reduce the incidence of wheezing in children.
10. Helps in relieving menstrual cramps:
Its high level of magnesium, millet is a great food for women who suffer from unbearable pain and cramps during their menstrual cycle.
11. Improves skin elasticity:
Eating millet fortifies the collagen level to improve skin’s elasticity and makes it less prone to wrinkles. Millet can also be used to add nutrition to smoothies, and one of the amazing health benefits of millet is its ability to help stop premature ageing of the skin.
12. Prevents Anemia:
It has iron, which is what is needed to fight anemia, but it also contains Vitamin C, which helps the body to absorb the iron into the bloodstream. Millet contains a perfect combination of ingredients to combat iron deficiency in the body.
13. Keeps the digestive system Healthy:
Millet contains plenty of fiber both soluble and insoluble that will help the food move through your system properly and keep you regular.
14. Increases the Strength of Bones:
Eating millet will strengthen the bones and the teeth, and it will help to prevent bone diseases. It’s also a great way of providing children with the extra calcium that they need, while their bones and teeth are growing.
It’s so easy to add millet to your diet, because it can be used in many different recipes, including smoothies, in baking, soups and stews.