Over the last few years, we have witnessed a magnanimous food revolution. There’s been a steady surge in the consumption of exotic berries and nutrient-rich cereals, thanks to a rise in health consciousness amongst people around the world. Millets have surfaced as a fad amongst millennials due to the umpteen health advantages it offers.
Millets are primarily grown in the tropical areas of Asia and Africa, which account for about 97% of the world’s total millet production. Other than these regions, millets are being grown in China since 8000 BC while Egyptians are also cultivating millets since early 3000 BC.
Given its tremendous health benefits, you must surely consider including millet in your daily diet. Walkthrough this brief post to understand how millets can improve your overall health and keep several common bodily ailments at bay.
An Overview on Millets
Millets belong to a group of extremely small-seeded and variable grasses that are grown extensively in the world and serve as livestock fodder, human food grain, or cereal crop.
Developing nations are the primary cultivator of millets; however, the potential of millet to comfortably grow in an extremely dry, arid, and harsh environment, makes it just the perfect crop for numerous nations.
Though there are several varieties of millets grown in different parts of the world, its most widespread cultivar is Pennisetum Glaucum, referred to as pearl millet.
Millet originated in the tropical regions of Africa and later spread across the Middle East and Asia some 10, 000 years ago. Its dependability to grow in a harsh and hostile environment made it just the ideal crop for these regions and is preferred for the same reason even today.
Millets are widely used as a traditional cereal and consumed as snacks, porridge, and several other types of bread, thanks to its high starch content. Millets are a great source of organic compounds, minerals, vitamins, and nutrients that can substantially boost your health in ways more ways than one.
As an ideal staple food that adds value to different types of diets, millets offer high energy value, B-vitamins, as well as most fats.
[Also Read: Benefits of Black Rice]
What are the Different Types of Millets That You Can Use in Your Diet?
Several types of millets grow in different parts of the world, such as:
1. Sorghum (Jowar)
Sorghum is primarily grown in different parts of Asia and is widely used to make flatbreads. Packed with the nutritional benefits of fiber, protein, and iron, Sorghum helps reduce cholesterol and is a good grain for those having a wheat intolerance.
2. Finger Millet
Used commonly as a healthy alternative to wheat and rice, Finger Millet is undeniably a nutrition powerhouse(1). Packed with the goodness of amino acids and protein, the finger millets enhance the brain development in children.
3. Foxtail millet
This type of millet is available as rice flour and semolina. Rich in healthy carbohydrates known for their blood-sugar balancing properties, calcium and iron, Foxtail Millet helps strengthen the immunity.
4. Pearl millet
Pearl millet is rich in fiber(2), protein, iron, and several important minerals, including magnesium and calcium. Daily consumption of Pearl Millet helps improve energy levels and your overall health.
5. Barnyard millet
Weight loss is one among the list of Barnyard millet benefits as it is rich in fiber. Also, this staple contains phosphorus and calcium that helps build strong bones.
6. Proso millet
Proso millet helps balance blood sugar level and has a low glycemic index that helps keep your body weight in control.
10 Millets Benefits
While millets offer numerous benefits to enhance your overall health, the following ten are the most significant ones:
1. Enhances Digestion
Millets are rich in fiber that enhances your metabolism, keeps your gut healthy, and prevents various illnesses related to your digestive systems such as colon cancer, peptic ulcers, diarrhea, and more.
2. Asthma Prevention
The nutritional composition of millets helps your respiratory system and organs, thus preventing asthma(3).
3. Cholesterol Regulation
The fiber content in millets performs an in-deep cleaning process in your body to remove LDL cholesterol, thence preventing you from several critical diseases.
4. Flushes out Toxins
Millets contain catechins like Quercetin that aids in keeping the liver and kidney functioning properly to flush out harmful toxins from your body.
5. Diabetes Management
Millets are rich in magnesium that helps your body to produce more insulin efficiently, hence prevent diabetes.
6. Cancer Prevention
Millet is a good source of antioxidants, quercetin, pantothenic acid and selenium that protects your body from cancer-producing cells.
7. A Healthy Heart
Millets are rich in magnesium that helps regulate your blood pressure as well as potassium that functions as an efficient vasodilator.
8. Prevents Anemia
The iron, folate, and folic acid content in millet helps form new red blood cells and maintain adequate levels of hemoglobin in your body. Also, it is rich in copper that also helps form red blood cells. Consequently, millets help prevent anemia.
[Also Read: Natural Remedies for Anemia]
9. Helps Repair Body-Tissue
Millets are a great source of phosphorus, the mineral that helps build cell structures in the body and helps keep the nervous system working efficiently.
10. Prevents Gallstones
Millet helps prevent gallstones, thanks to its fiber-rich composition that helps reduce bile acid secretion and intestinal transit time.
What are the different ways to incorporate Millets in your diet?
There are several ways in which you can consume millets, such as:
- Add millet to muffin and bread recipes.
- Buy millet-rich breakfast porridge and baby food.
- You can add millets to your daily salad.
- Instead of potatoes and rice, serve millets.
- You can use it in chopped vegetables as well
- You can also add millets to soups.
- You can use millets as a stuffing in cabbage rolls.
- You can ferment millets into non-alcoholic beverages.
Healthy DIY Recipes Using Millets
1. Finger Millet Muffin
Desserts are a delight, aren’t they? Try this mouth-watering Finger Millet Muffin and leave everyone spellbound with your culinary skills. Finger millet is one of the most beneficial cereal options out there.
Ingredients of Finger Millet Muffin
- 200-gram millet flour
For The Main Dish
- 200-gram powdered jaggery
- 200-gram low-fat butter
How to prepare Finger Millet Muffins
For making this healthy dessert, mix the jaggery and butter. to millet flour
Knead the dough properly in a folding method.
Once the blend is ready, you can add it in a muffin tray. Simply bake it for some 20 minutes at 180-degrees, and that will be it. Serve it warm.
2. Jowar Dates Laddoo
Jowar Dates Laddoo is one of the most preferred desserts in India and is loved equally by a large number of people around the world.
- 1/2 cup millet flour
- 1/2 cup water
- De-seeded, chopped black dates – 12
- Two tsp Ghee
For The Main Dish
- Two tablespoon chopped almonds, 1/2 teaspoon flax seeds, One tablespoon chopped walnuts,
How to make Jowar Dates Laddoo
- On low, mild flame, start with dry roasting the millet flour in a kadhai or pan for some 5 to 8 minutes. Once the floor turns golden, remove the pan and keep aside.
- Now add water and chopped, de-seeded dates in a pan, and stir it well on medium flame.
- Add chopped nuts and roasted millet floor when the water gets absorbed and the dates become mushy.
- Stir the mixture well for around 2 minutes on a medium or low flame. You can remove it from the flame after 2 minutes.
- To start making laddoos, grease your palms with some ghee and begin making round laddoos or balls.
- Store the balls in an airtight bowl and enjoy anytime.
What are the possible side-effects associated with the use of Millets?
While millets are safe, excessive consumption can induce several adverse effects. Millets are rich in goitrogen which disturbs the creation of thyroid hormones along with inhibiting iodine uptake and use by our thyroid gland, leading to iodine deficiency.
Deficiency of iodine can result in an enlarged thyroid gland, called goiter. You can easily identify it by the symptoms of like dry skin, depression, slow thinking, and anxiety.
Millets are rich in fiber and several essential minerals such as magnesium, selenium, and phosphorus. Regular consumption of millets is known to prevent several critical ailments such as Celiac disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, menstrual cramps, asthma, obesity, and more. Millets are also known to prevent asthma. As wheat is mostly a popular allergen related to wheezing and asthma, millets – that have an entirely different component – work well to prevent asthma and other respiratory diseases. Include millet in your diet and cure all the health issues coming your way.