Loaded with health-benefits, Millets not only boosts our health but also helps in weight loss – owing to the rich content of fiber and bioactive compounds in them.
In recent times, many health-conscious people around the world are realizing the forgotten benefits of consuming a diet rich in millets. Many celebrity fitness experts have vouched for the extraordinary benefits of eating millets.
With easy access to junk-food, many of us have indulged ourselves in unhealthy food habits. No one could deny how consumption of junk food on a long term basis is detrimental to our health in multiple ways. Hence, to promote a healthy lifestyle, we would suggest you replace your unhealthy eating habits with healthier options. And including millets, in a variety of types, in your diet is one of such healthy food habits.
Including millets as a part of our daily diet is not a new concept. Before the Green Revolution made rice and wheat more accessible, many parts of central and southern India consumed millets regularly. But, as the government proactively pushed rice and wheat in the subsidized public distribution system, millets became sidelined as a staple food grain in India.
If you are planning to completely replace rice or wheat with millets, we want to warn you that it won’t be healthy for your body. At IFORHER, we promote a healthy practice of grain diversity in your diet for wholesome nutrition. But in case you are looking for substantial weight loss, then we would like you to know that Millets are supernatural foods for weight loss.
Here what you all need to know about Millets:
What are Millets?
Types of Millets
Millet Side Effects
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
What are Millets?
Rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fibers, millets – the coarse grains contain high nutritional value. Unlike cereals, millets need little water and ground fertility. Due to its affordability, Millets have been called “poor man’s food grain” for a long time now. However recently, many fitness-centric experts have started building awareness about the forgotten wellness potential of millets.
Millets are generally divided into two broad categories:
1. Naked grains
Without hard, indigestible husk that some millets have, Ragi, Jowar and Bajra fall into this category. As these millets don’t require any processing, they can simply be cleaned and used. Because of their ease of use, Ragi, Jowar, and Bajra – are the major millet types that are quite popular.
2. Husked grains
Not so popular – Foxtail millets, Little millets, and Kodo millets belong to this second type. As these millet types have indigestible seed coats, they need processing before human consumption. Since the processing of these grains was never mechanized, the husk on them is removed by hand, which makes them less favorable than other millets.
Millets contain a host of micronutrients such as iron, calcium, and phosphorus. Also, they take time to digest, which doesn’t cause the blood sugar spike associated with easily digestible food. Introducing millet into your diet can help control diabetes for the same reason.
Types of Millets in India:
Being one of the largest producers of millets, India enjoys prime importance.
In this article, we’ll bring you the different types of millets and the health benefits so that you could also reap in their extraordinary benefits.
1. Foxtail Millet (Commonly known asKakum/ Kangni)
One could easily find Foxtail Millets in the form of rice, semolina (Rava), or fine-textured flour. Because of it’s affordability and easy access, you could find it in any grocery store near your home.
Rich in dietary fiber
Loaded with minerals – like iron and copper, which helps in reducing bad cholesterol and strengthening the immune system
Rich in blood-sugar balancing healthy carbohydrates – the special kind which doesn’t increase the blood sugar levels immediately but slowly releases glucose into the bloodstream
2. Sorghum (Commonly known as Jowar)
Jowar and Jowar Rotis are quite popular across India. It is not without a reason why our grandparents preferred Jowar Rotis over regular Wheat Rotis. The benefits of Jowar might be forgotten but they are extremely important.
Research has confirmed that Jowar could aid in substantial weight loss
Packed with iron, protein, and fiber. Research has found that a typical sorghum wax is rich in policosanols which helps in reducing the levels of cholesterol
Being gluten-free grain, it is a great substitute for many gluten intolerant people
Rich source of micronutrients, they could solve many nutrition-related problems
3. Finger Millet (Commonly known as Ragi)
From Ragi Dosa to Ragi Pulav to Ragi snacks, Ragi has re-entered into our diet to make it healthy. Because of its affordability and easy access, you could find it in any grocery store near your home. Due to its nutritional value, it can be considered a good replacement for rice and wheat.
Store-house of protein and amino acids
Studies suggest Ragi’s positive effect on blood glucose level and hence, great for people with diabetes
4. Pearl Millet (Commonly known as Bajra)
From Bajra Roti to Bajra Khichdi to Bajra Chilla, Bajra has re-entered into our diet to make it healthy. With various benefits of Bajra, it is one of the most popular millets.
With iron content 8 times higher than rice, Pearl millet or Bajra is a storehouse of Iron
Rich in protein and other minerals such as calcium and magnesium
With good fiber content, pearl millet/Bajra eases constipation and digestion issues
High nutritional value makes it a good lactagogue. Lactagogue is the component that helps in efficient milk secretion, and hence, induces lactation.
5. Barnyard Millet
Barnyard millet is one of the best millets to include in our everyday diet. Because of highly nutritious value, it can be considered as an ideal replacement for rice in dosa/idli/dhokla batters.
Loaded with a considerable amount of fiber that helps maintain satiety
Rich source of bone-building minerals like calcium and phosphorus
Loaded with great antioxidant properties, it reduces the complications of non-communicable diseases and degenerative disorders like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, etc.
6. Kodo Millet
If you are a rice lover, then Kodo millet should definitely be on your list. In addition to being easy to digest, Kodo millet has many other benefits.
Rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants, all of which help prevent major lifestyle diseases
For weight loss enthusiasts, it will assist in healthy weight loss
Loaded with minerals, it reduces knee and joint pain
Rich in calcium, magnesium, and iron leads to the regulation of the menstrual cycle
7. Little Millet
Rich source of B-vitamins, minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, potassium among others, little millet is a healthy addition to our diet.
Containing 5.2 grams of fat with good content of unsaturated fat, it ensures a healthy metabolism and hence, a healthy weight loss.
High fiber content makes it an ideal replacement for rice in foods like Pongal or even kheer.
8. Proso Millet
Loaded with antioxidants and minerals like magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, it helps in preventing conditions like osteoporosis.
Health Benefits of Millet Grain
Do you believe millets are just for weight loss? You must know that Millets are not just a healthy alternative to regular cereal grains, rather they are loaded with their innumerable health benefits.
1. Lower Risk Of Type-2 Diabetes
Millets are rich sources of magnesium. Magnesium is a special mineral that helps in starch digestion. It contributes to the production of many carbohydrate-digesting enzymes, even the ones which manage insulin’s action. As per research, magnesium-rich whole grain can help lower the risk of type-2 diabetes.
Also, due to the presence of complex carbohydrates, the glucose release in the bloodstream is well-regulated.
2. High in Nutrients as Fruits & Vegetables
Cornell University Researchers have found that millets contain a high content of antioxidants just like fruits and vegetables. However, antioxidants in millets are in the bound form. Hence, they are released on the fermentation by bacteria, which makes the health benefits of millets similar to vegetables.
3. Reduces The Risk Of Heart Diseases
Millets are rich in phytonutrients – Lignans (Lignans are pre-biotic fiber which ferments in our gut). As per various studies, Lignans on fermentation produces enterolactone, which protects against heart disease and breast cancers.
4. Prevents Gallstones
As per scientific studies, consuming foods high in insoluble fiber could prevent gallstones. Those who ate insoluble fiber reported a 17% risk reduction of gallstone surgery. So, eating millet would help you stay healthy and gallstones free.
5. Reduces Childhood Asthma
In case your kids suffer from wheezing, then the whole grains like millets and fish could be helpful.
How Could You Include Millet In Your Diet?
As Millets have multiple benefits, hence it would be a good idea to include millets in your diet in the following healthy and delicious ways.
1. Replacement of Rice
You can have Millets in form of Millets Pulav. Like rice, you could cook 1 glass of millet with 3 cups of water. If you want you could include various vegetables.
You can eat this cooked millet with sambhar or rasam.
2. Millets in khichdi or Pongal
If you love khichdi – the combination of Rice and dal – you would definitely like Millets Khichdi or Pongal. Just by replacing rice with millets, the nutritional value will increase without compromising the taste. Definitely try Bajra Khichdi, Jowar Khichdi, or Foxtail Millet Khichdi.
3. Millet Upma
Replace traditional Wheat, Rava with millets, and make upma.
4. Millet Salads
5. Millet Rotis
Side Effects Of Millets
Warning: Do Not Consume too many Millets
Millets have a number of health benefits but it could cause issues if consumed in large quantities.
As millets contain goitrogens, it could be an issue if you have thyroid problems. Hence, it is better not to eat it every day like wheat or rice. Please get in touch with your dietician or a nutritionist if you are planning to consume it in large quantities.
But if you don’t have thyroid, then millet could be a great replacement for rice. They are not only gluten-free but also rich in complex carbohydrates, fiber, antioxidants, and other vitamins and minerals. It is definitely good for people with diabetes and PCOS.
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is Millet protein or carbohydrate?
A: Millet is considered as Carbohydrate.
Q: Can celiac patients consume millets?
A: As the millets are gluten-free, it is safe to consume in case of gluten sensitivity.
Q: Are millets healthy for infants or aged people?
A: Being easy-to-digest and loaded with nutrients, millets are healthy for consumption by every age group.
Q: Are millets bad for thyroid patients?
A: People suffering from thyroid should check with their dietician or nutritionist first as millets contain goitrogens that suppress thyroid activity causing goitre.
Q. Oats or Millet – Which is better?
A: Being rich in high fiber grains, both are good to be considered healthy. However, as rolled oats are processed, it may less healthy compared to whole millets as they are not processed.
Q. Which is the best millet?
A: Given multiple varieties of millets, it is important to know that all of them have their own positives. We would recommend you to consume them in the right amounts to improve your overall health.