Millets – Its Types and Health Benefits

Millets – Its Types and Health Benefits

Millet is one of the oldest cultivated grains in the world and has been cultivated in Africa and Southeast Asia for thousands of years. Millets are an inexhaustible source of nutrients. They have regained their place in the kitchen of those most concerned about health. Millet can be used to make bread, beer, cereals, and other dishes. Even today, millet is a staple food throughout the world. Millet is gaining in popularity due to its versatility and ease of cultivation. Improve your health and improve weight loss. People have benefited from the nutritional properties of millet for thousands of years.

The crop is favoured for its productivity and short growing season in dry, high-temperature conditions. Millet grows extremely fast, maturing in almost half the time required for rice and wheat. This makes it the ideal crop, contributing to its rapid expansion throughout Asia and Europe. Millet is a drought-tolerant and low-maintenance grain. People often use it to feed livestock, but consumer interest is growing. Millet is now the sixth most important cereal in the world. 

Millets are coarse grains that have been traditionally grown and consumed in the Indian subcontinent for more than 5,000 years. They have a high nutritional value and are rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. This grain offers various health benefits and has multiple uses in the kitchen.

Indian cuisines have come a long way in recent years but at the same time have proudly returned to their roots. In India, millet has been mentioned in some of the oldest Yajurveda texts, identifying foxtail millet, barnyard millet and black finger millet, indicating that millet consumption was very common and dates back to before the Bronze Age of India (4500 BC).

Millets however, nutrients that are critically important to a person’s body.┬áMillet contains a large number of micronutrients such as iron, calcium and phosphorus. Plus, they take time to digest, which doesn’t cause the blood sugar spike associated with easily digestible foods. Therefore, introducing millet into your diet can help control diabetes for the same reason. Therefore, millet is good for health. Millet production is good for the environment. This is because it is mainly rainfed crops. Therefore, they do not put pressure on our already scarce water resources. Furthermore, these cereal crops do not attract pests and can grow perfectly without pesticides.

Millet is safe when consumed in moderate amounts. However, consuming too much millet could have an adverse effect. Millet contains goitrogen, a substance that interferes with the production of thyroid hormones and inhibits the absorption and use of iodine by the thyroid gland. Iodine deficiency is a major health problem that leads to the development of an enlarged thyroid gland, known as a goitre. Goitre causes dry skin, anxiety, depression, and slow thinking.

Millets are divided into two categories:

Naked Grains

Naked kernels refer to the type of millet that does not consist of the hard, indigestible shell called the husk. This type of millet does not require treatment after harvest. They can be eaten immediately after cleaning. Therefore, these millets are cultivated today in a significant way and are also called major millets. Ragi, Jowar and Bajra fall into this category.

Husked Grains

Foxtail, Little, Barnyard and Kodo millets belong to this type. They consist of an indigestible seed coat that must be removed before consumption. These are also known as minor millets. Shelled or hulled millet can be used to feed birds.

Types of Millet

1. Foxtail Millet

Foxtail millet, also known as Kangni/Korralu. Contains blood sugar which balances healthy carbohydrates. The iron and calcium content in it also helps to boost immunity. Additionally, foxtail millet helps regulate blood cholesterol and increases HDL cholesterol levels in the body. Although rich in iron and calcium, it maintains healthy blood levels and strengthens bones. It is also well known for promoting good heart health and keeping hair and skin in good condition. It can be used in dosas and more.

2. Little Millet

Little millets are also called samsalu. They are also a great option for fitness enthusiasts looking to lose weight. You can consume it as a substitute for rice. It contains a high content of fiber and is high in mineral numbers such as potassium, zinc, iron, calcium and vitamin B3 that boosts the fat metabolism, reduces the cholesterol and the production of energy and functions as a para antioxidant. his body.

3. Barnyard Millet

Barnyard is widely known as Udalu/Kodisama. Farm millet tastes almost similar to broken rice when cooked, which is why it is called “sanwa rice”. Barnyard millet is a small, white, round grain larger than semolina (rawa) and smaller than sago (sabudana). This millet is a gluten-free source of insoluble and soluble fiber. It is easily available all over India, very cheap and tasty food for all age groups. To include it in the diet, you can make porridge, Khichdi and even Pulao.

4. Kodo Millet

Kodo millet is also known as Arikelu. They are rich in fiber and iron. Kodo millet grain helps prevent constipation and control blood sugar. Kodo millet is a storehouse of nutrients, an excellent substitute for rice and wheat, it is also a rich source of fiber and carbohydrates. In addition to the impressive presence of calcium, iron, polyphenols and various other nutrients. The humble grain can be used to make Chapatis, Idli, etc.

5. Pearl millet

These are known as Sajjalu/Bajra which are incredibly rich in nutrients. Bajra is a popular grain in northwest India including Rajasthan and Haryana. It is packed with minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron that are valuable for improving overall health. An immense amount of protein and dietary fiber helps control diabetes and promote weight loss. Practice a regular consumption of pearl millet to fight against type II diabetes.

6. Finger Millet 

Ragi is the common name for Finger millet. It is used as a healthier grain alternative to rice and wheat. Ragi is gluten-free and rich in protein and amino acids that promote growth and stimulate brain development in growing children. Whether you’re making Roti or Cheela, finger millet will enrich you with multiple macronutrients and micronutrients like vitamin B3, folic acid, and calcium.

7. Sorghum

Sorghum is commonly called Jonnalu. Sorghum is a warm season crop, intolerant of low temperatures but fairly resistant to serious pests and diseases. It is rich in a variety of nutrients, including B vitamins, which play essential roles in metabolism, neural development, and healthy skin and hair. Additionally, sorghum is rich in antioxidants such as flavonoids, phenolic acids, and tannins. A diet high in these antioxidants can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in your body.

Health Benefits of Millet

1. Millet controls Blood Sugar

Millet, compared to wheat and corn, is nutrient-dense, gluten free and has a low glycemic index of 54-68. The presence of a large amount of dietary fiber, a protein with all essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals helps stabilize blood sugar. Millet can be part of a healthy diet for diabetes patients which makes it easier for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar levels and promote insulin sensitivity.

2. Millet Improves Digestive Health

Millet contains dietary fiber, which contributes to digestive health and helps regulate bowel movements. Millet also contains an insoluble fiber called prebiotics, which stimulate the growth of probiotics in the microbiome. This is important for gut health and the immune system in general. This type of fiber is also important for increasing stool bulk, which helps maintain regularity and reduces the risk of problems such as stomach/colon and kidney/liver cancer.

3. Millet Promotes Weight Loss

Millet is a boon for all weight watchers who want to shed those extra pounds. Not only for those looking to lose weight, but it is also beneficial for the fitness conscious. The calorie content of millet is low and it is an excellent food for weight loss. It helps them maintain their energy levels throughout the day without having to eat to constantly recharge. Including millet in the regular diet, such as millet flour or millet for breakfast, can greatly help reduce BMI in obese people. Swapping rice with millet daily can reduce fat storage, improve gut health, and help you achieve sustained weight loss. When you consume them, you feel full longer because they take time to be digested and absorbed by your body. This prevents snacking and overeating.

4. Millet Boosts Your Immunity

Protein intake is responsible for building the immunity of the body. Millet provides an excellent source of protein and can help build and strengthen our immunity. Stronger immunity means less risk of contracting diseases.

5. Millet acts as an Antioxidant

Millet helps your body detoxify with its antioxidant properties; Quercetin, curcumin, ellagic acid and other valuable catechins eliminate toxins from your body and neutralize the enzymatic actions of your organs. The high amount of antioxidants present in millet fights free radicals present in the body, thus slowing down the aging process.

6. Millet Prevents Asthma

The magnesium content of millet may reduce the frequency of migraine headaches. It can also reduce the severity of your asthma problems. The reason is that, unlike wheat, they don’t contain the allergens that cause asthma and wheezing.

7. Millet Reduces Cardiovascular Risks

Millet contains essential fats, which provide our body with good fats that prevent excessive fat storage and effectively reduce the risk of high cholesterol, stroke and other heart diseases. Consuming millet in large amounts helps reduce triglyceride levels in the body. It thins the blood to prevent the buildup of platelets, thereby reducing the risk of heatstroke and coronary heart disease. The potassium content of the millet regulates blood pressure and optimizes the circulatory system. Millet contains an impressive profile of antioxidants which play a crucial role in lowering LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and helping to maintain healthy blood vessels and clear clots, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke cerebrovascular.

8. Millet Helps Relieve Menstrual Cramps

Due to its high magnesium content, millet is an excellent food for women who suffer from excruciating pain and cramps during their menstrual cycle.

9. Millet Helps Sleep

The tryptophan contained in millet increases the level of serotonin in the body, which helps reduce stress. A cup of millet porridge every night can help you get a deep and peaceful sleep.

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