Health Benefits of Millet



Are Millets Good For You? What Are The Benefits And Nutritional Facts About Millets?

Are Millets Good For You? What Are The Benefits And Nutritional Facts About Millets? StylecrazeOctober 9, 2019

The world has seen many health foods come and go. Some turned out to be a hoax, some did no good to the body, some increased hedonic hunger pangs, while some erased the traces of hunger. But a few are here to stay.

This is where millets come into the picture – rich in essential carbs, fiber, and the more important micronutrients. Native to the eastern side of the world, millets are an age-old solution to an active body. These cereals are getting famous in many countries as a gluten-free substitute.

Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Scroll down and get to know what the magic millets can do to your body!

Table Of Contents

What Are Millets?

Millets are whole grains that have been around for thousands of years and are found in many diets around the world. Millets are the leading staple grains in India and are commonly eaten in China, South America, Russia, and the Himalayas ().

As gluten-free whole grains, millets are an excellent grain option for those in need of alternatives. They are super easy to prepare (you’ll know!) and more accessible across the globe.

Millets are incredibly versatile – they can be used in everything from flatbreads to porridges, side dishes, and desserts. Their delicate flavor is enhanced by toasting the dry grains before cooking. In some places, they’re even fermented and consumed as an alcoholic beverage.

Millets can be found in white, gray, yellow, or red colors. They look beautiful when arranged on a plate. Millets are also grown as high-fiber feed for cattle, livestock, and birds.

Scroll down to get a glance of the commonly grown millets around the world.

What Are The Commonly Found Types Of Millets?

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Millets are a group of grains that includepearl millet(Pennisetum glaucum ),foxtail millet(Setaria italica ),proso millet(Panicum miliaceum ),finger millet or ragi(Eleusine coracana ),barnyard millet(Echinochloa crus-galli ),little millet(Panicum sumatrense ),kodo millet(Paspalum scrobiculatum ),fonio millet(Digitaria exilis ), andadlay milletorJob’s tears(Coix lachryma-jobi ) ().

Here’s some more information about the different types of millets:

NameLocal nameGrown in
Pearl millet Bulrush millet (Australia), cat tail millet, bajra (Hindi), milheto (Brazil), gero (Africa), sajje (Telugu) Africa, India, Pakistan, and the Arabian peninsula
Finger millet Ragi (Telugu, Kannada), keppai (Tamil), mandwa (Urdu), kurakkan (Sinhala), nachani (Marathi), susu (Japanese), Africa, Nepal, India, and China
Proso millet common millet, broomtail, kashfi, hog millet Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Argentina, U.S, and Australia
Foxtail millet Kaon dana (Bengali), navane (Kannda), korralu (Telugu), kangni (Hindi), kavalai (Tamil), awa (Japanese), China, India, Indonesia, the Korean peninsula, and Europe
Fonio millet Western Africa
Barnyard millet Cockspur grass India
Little millet Kutki (Hindi), sama (Bengali), gajro (Gujarati), samalu (Telugu), sava (Marathi), suan (Oriya) India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Myanmar
Kodo millet Arikelu (Telugu), varagu (Tamil), kodra (Hindi) Western Africa, and India
Adlay millet Job’s tears, YiYi (Chinese), coixseed, tear grass Southeast Asia

Let me share some more details about the heroes behind millets’ superpowers. Scroll down to know the nutritional and phytochemical profiles of millets.

Nutritional Profile Of Millets

Calorie InformationCarbohydratesFats & Fatty AcidsProtein & Amino AcidsVitaminsMinerals
Amounts Per Selected Serving %DV
Calories 756(3165 kJ) 38%
From Carbohydrate 600(2512 kJ)
From Fat 70.6(296 kJ)
From Protein 85.3(357 kJ)
From Alcohol (0.0 kJ)
Amounts Per Selected Serving %DV
Total Carbohydrate 146 g 49%
Dietary Fiber 17.0 g 68%
Starch
Sugars
Amounts Per Selected Serving %DV
Total Fat 8.4 g 13%
Saturated Fat 1.4 g 7%
Monounsaturated Fat 1.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4.3 g
Total trans fatty acids
Total trans-monoenoic fatty acids
Total trans-polyenoic fatty acids
Total Omega-3 fatty acids 236 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids 4030 mg
Amounts Per Selected Serving %DV
Protein 22.0 g 44%
Amounts Per Selected Serving %DV
Vitamin A 0.0 IU 0%
Vitamin C 0.0 mg 0%
Vitamin D
Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol) 0.1 mg 1%
Vitamin K 1.8 mcg 2%
Thiamin 0.8 mg 56%
Riboflavin 0.6 mg 34%
Niacin 9.4 mg 47%
Vitamin B6 0.8 mg 38%
Folate 170 mcg 43%
Vitamin B12 0.0 mcg 0%
Pantothenic Acid 1.7 mg 17%
Choline
Betaine
Amounts Per Selected Serving %DV
Calcium 16.0 mg 2%
Iron 6.0 mg 33%
Magnesium 228 mg 57%
Phosphorus 570 mg 57%
Potassium 390 mg 11%
Sodium 10.0 mg 0%
Zinc 3.4 mg 22%
Copper 1.5 mg 75%
Manganese 3.3 mg 163%
Selenium 5.4 mcg 8%
Fluoride

Also, take a look at how the nutrients are distributed across various millet species and whole grains:

FoodProtein (g)Fat (g)Ash (g)Crude fibre (g)Carbohydrate (g)Energy (kcal)Ca (mg)Fe (mg)Thiamin (mg)Riboflavin (mg)Niacin (mg)
Rice (brown) 7.9 2.7 1.3 1.0 76.0 362 33 1.8 0.41 0.04 4.3
Wheat 11.6 2.0 1.6 2.0 71.0 348 30 3.5 0.41 0.10 5.1
Maize 9.2 4.6 1.2 2.8 73.0 358 26 2.7 0.38 0.20 3.6
Sorghum 10.4 3.1 1.6 2.0 70.7 329 25 5.4 0.38 0.15 4.3
Pearl millet 11.8 4.8 2.2 2.3 67.0 363 42 11.0 0.38 0.21 2.8
Finger millet 7.7 1.5 2.6 3.6 72.6 336 350 3.9 0.42 0.19 1.1
Foxtail millet 11.2 4.0 3,3 6.7 63.2 351 31 2.8 0.59 0.11 3.2
Common millet 12.5 3.5 3.1 5.2 63.8 364 8 2.9 0.41 0.28 4.5
Little millet 9.7 5.2 5.4 7.6 60.9 329 17 9.3 0.30 0.09 3.2
Barnyard millet 11.0 3.9 4.5 13.6 55.0 300 22 18.6 0.33 0.10 4.2
Kodo millet 9.0 3.6 3.3 5.2 66.6 353 35 1.7 0.15 0.09 2.0
Oats 17.0 6.0 2.6 11.0 66.0 390 54 4.7 0.22 0.12 3.2

Coming to the phytochemical composition, millets are packed with phenolic acids, polyphenols, anthocyanins, flavonoids, saponins, and lignans that give you all the protective benefits.

Millets and their seed coats have gallic acid, ferulic acid, protocatechuic acid, coumaric acid, cinnamic acid, caffeic acid, sinapic acid, quercetin, kaempferol, luteolin glycoside, phloroglucinol, apigenin, catechin, epicatechin, glucosylvitexin, glycovitexin, vitexin, and several other phytochemicals ().

Woah! That’s a lot of nutrition in one grain! What do high-value foods like millets do to your body? What parts of your body do they help? Read on to find the answers.

Five Fundamental Benefits Of Adding Millets To Your Diet

1. Ideal For Individuals Who Have Diabetes

Compared to other cereal crops, such as wheat and maize, millets are high in nutrition, gluten-free, and have a glycemic index between 54 to 68.

They provide high energy, high dietary fiber, proteins with a balanced amino acid profile, many essential minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants – all of which play a substantial role in lowering diabetes.

Foxtail millets improve glycemic control and insulin sensitivity in such individuals. They also can reduce HbA1c antigen levels, fasting glucose, insulin, total cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL concentrations.

These signs show that millets have a positive dietary impact on diabetes when supported with right medication ().

2. Help In Weight Management

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Obesity is a major cause of a variety of metabolic disorders. And diet plays a critical role in controlling obesity. Following a low-carb and high-fiber diet, along with regular physical activity, can reduce body weight to some extent.

Including whole grains like millets, brown rice, whole wheat, oats, barley, sorghum, etc. can have an incredible effect on the BMI (body mass index) of obese individuals.

Consuming about 3 servings of whole grains per day can also reduce fat accumulation, improve gut microbiota (good gut bacteria), and help you feel lighter and physically active ().

3. Lower Cholesterol And Protect Heart

Pearl, finger, kodo, and other varieties of millets are all rich in micronutrients like iron, zinc, phosphorus, and calcium, and amino acids such as leucine and valine.

Millets have polyphenolic acids, β-glucans, flavonoids, anthocyanidins, condensed tannins, lignans, and policosanols that are potent antioxidants. They also reduce the plasma LDL levels and total cholesterol and keep the blood vessels dilated and healthy.

This way, consuming millets can prevent lipid peroxidation and associated cardiovascular diseases and ischemic strokes ().

4. Healthy For Children And Pregnant Women

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As millets contain fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals like calcium and iron, they can be given to children and pregnant women.

Many traditional Asian and African dishes given to pregnant women prior to delivery contain millets. Kenyan women consume ugali, which is made from a mixture of sorghum and finger millet flour. It is cooked to a dough-like consistency and eaten with local vegetables, meat stew, or fermented milk ().

Popped millets can be served as healthy snacks to children, especially if they are malnourished. Carbs, essential fatty acids, and calcium give children the strength and immunity they need while growing up ().

5. Could Have Anti-Cancer Effects

Apart from antioxidant and antidiabetic effects, millets might possess anticancer effects too. Recent research points out that few millet proteins (from foxtail and proso varieties) could inhibit the growth of cancerous cells in various tissues.

Millet phytochemicals showed antiproliferative effects against cancer cells of the colon, breast, and liver without damaging the surrounding normal cells. The antioxidant phenolic acids and anthocyanidins make a promising remedy for many cancers. Further research in these areas can reveal more about the anticancer properties of millets (), ().

Millets are such miraculous grains, don’t you agree?

How can you absorb all this goodness of millets? The simplest way is to add them to your food. Find out how!

Two Ways To Make Millets Tasty

Barring the boring porridge, you can try out these super simple, tasty, and quick ways of cooking millets. These dishes can make a great brunch or dinner. Check them out!

1. Vegan Millets – Curry Style!

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What You Need
  • Millets: 1 cup
  • Olive oil: 2 tablespoons
  • Onion: 1, diced
  • Garlic: 2 cloves, diced
  • Water: 2½ cups
  • Cumin: ½ teaspoon, ground
  • Curry powder: 2 teaspoons
  • Salt: 1 teaspoon or as required
  • Skillet: medium-large sized
Let’s Make It!
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, add the millets and pour enough water over them to cover by at least 2 inches.
  2. Leave them open to soak the millets for8 hours to overnight. Drain the water.
  3. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  4. Add the onion and garlic in the hot oil, and stir and cook them until onion is lightly browned (for 10 to 15 minutes).
  5. Mix the millets, two and a half cups of water, salt, and cumin into the onion mixture. Give them a slight stir.
  6. Cover and simmer until millets are tender and the water is absorbed. This might take about 20 minutes.
  7. Add the curry powder to cooked millets and stir well until they get thoroughly mixed.
  8. Squeeze a lemon wedge and sprinkle some chopped coriander.
  9. Serve hot with a cup of strong ginger tea!

2. Yummy Millet Muffins

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What You Need
  • Whole wheat flour: 2¼ cups
  • Millets: ⅓ cup
  • Baking soda: 1 teaspoon
  • Baking powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt: 1 teaspoon
  • Buttermilk: 1 cup
  • Egg: 1, lightly beaten
  • Vegetable oil: ½ cup
  • Honey: ½ cup to 1 cup
  • Mixing bowl: 2, medium-large sized
Let’s Make It!
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Grease 16 muffin cups.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, millets, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, vegetable oil, and honey.
  4. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture just until it is evenly moist. Whisk thoroughly.
  5. Transfer the batter to the greased muffin cups.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  7. Serve warm with some cranberry crush or piping hot black coffee!

Conclusion

Millets are a gluten-free and drought-tolerant source of long-lasting energy. The bran and fiber in these whole grains slow down the breakdown of starch into glucose. Thus, they maintain a steady blood sugar rather than causing sharp spikes. In other words, millets are ideal for those with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

These grains have high levels of fiber that help lower cholesterol and move waste through the digestive tract (bulking agent). It’s high time you chose millets over white rice – because they are three to five times nutritionally superior to the latter.

As they are versatile to cook and tasty, you don’t have to bore yourself with a millet porridge. Whip up our quick and simple recipes and enjoy with your family. Yes, the kids will love them too!

We eagerly await your feedback about those dishes. Use the box below to share your comments, suggestions, and relevant information about this read and help us get better.






Video: Why You Should Moderate Your Millet

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Date: 12.12.2018, 11:52 / Views: 53143