Millets are tiny grains that date back to the ancient East Asian Regions. It has been a staple food for many civilizations for over centuries. Some hold the opinion that Millets have their origin in North Africa and consumed since prehistoric times. Millets are essentially seeds and generally referred to as grains because of its grain like consistency. They are referred to as `Siruthaniyam` meaning rich grains which can supersede the nutritional value of that of rice and wheat.
The different kinds of millets are Ragi (Finger millet), Arke (Kodo millet), Sama (Little millet), Bajra ( Pearl millet), Chena (Proso millet), Jowar (Sorghum), Korra ( Foxtail millet) and Sanwa (Barnyard millet).
Different types of millets have their own nutritive value. Millets like Sama and Bajra are high in fats while Ragi is low in fat content. However, Ragi is also known to have the highest calcium content among all food grains. Millets like Little Millets and Pearl Millets are high in fats, while Ragi is low on fat content. According to popular study, it is said that eating Korra could help bring down blood glucose in diabetics. Millets have low impact on blood sugar, especially finger millet that is known for promoting healthy blood sugar.
Nutrition Power Houses – Millets
- Millets are healthy grains that offer many benefits due to their excellent nutritional value. They contain high reserves of protein, vitamins, minerals, and fibre.
- They are rich sources of nutrients like iron, copper, calcium, manganese, Vitamin E & B, folate, choline, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous and zinc.
- The presence of magnesium can help reduce the effects of migraines and heart attacks. The high magnesium content is good for lowering blood pressure
- The phosphorus content builds energy and helps in fat metabolism and body tissue repair.
- The potassium content helps in lowering hypertension.
- They are a good source of protein – a rich source of amino acids.
Health Giving Millets
- It is said that including a healthy amount of dietary fibre has shown a direct correlation with a healthy heart. Millets have high – fibre content which produces beneficial effects of vascular health.
- Poor eating habits with excessive intake of processed grains like white rice and flour have led to increase in diabetes and cardio vascular diseases. Consuming millets in place of refined grains is recommended for weight loss and overall health.
- The insoluble dietary fibre present in millets demonstrates the less risk of developing gallstones. The dietary fibres eliminate LDL cholesterol and promote healthy effects of HDL cholesterol thereby regulating the cholesterol levels in your body.
- There is growing demand for gluten-free foods especially grains, as more people are developing sensitivity to gluten. Millets are gaining popularity because it is a gluten free grain that is easy to digest and low in calories.
- They are a rich source of anti-oxidants like phenolic content, curcumin, ellagic acid, quercetin and other beneficial catechins that help in cleaning up toxins from your body. Antioxidants from food help protect body cells from damage caused by free radicals which can otherwise cause cancer and increase risk for many chronic diseases.
Embrace Goodness of Millets
Millets are a delicious way to start or end your day. Nutritionists assert that there is a need to include millets in one’s diet for a healthy living. Millets being considered a whole grain can be taken in place of refined grains for health benefits. Non -sticky, not acid-forming Millets are a good food choice for those looking for whole grain options.