Home Diet Millets: The Superfood – Learn About the Nutrition and Health Benefits of Various Millets

Millets: The Superfood – Learn About the Nutrition and Health Benefits of Various Millets

by Shatakshi Gupta

Millets are a group of small-seeded cereal grains that are widely grown in India, Nigeria, and other Asian and African countries. They are considered as ancient grains and have been consumed for thousands of years. Millets are gluten-free, rich in protein, fiber, antioxidants, and minerals. They also have several health benefits, such as lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels, aiding digestion, boosting immunity, and preventing chronic diseases.

Types of Millets:

Millets are divided into two sizes: large and tiny. Pearl, foxtail, proso, and finger millet are among the big millets. Kodo, Barnyard, Little, Guinea, Browntop, Fonio, and Adlay millet are among the small millets. In India, finger millet comes in second place in terms of production and consumption, after pearl millet.

Millets’ Nutritional Value

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Millets are starchy grains that include nutrients like fibre, vitamins, minerals, protein, and carbs. Compared to most other cereals, they have more protein and supply more necessary amino acids than wheat or rice. They also include phytochemicals with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, including as phenolic acids, tannins, phytates, and phytosterols.

One cup (174 grams) of cooked millet provides:

Calories: 207

Carbs: 41 grams

Fiber: 2.2 grams

Protein: 6 grams

Fat: 1.7 grams

Phosphorus: 25% of the Daily Value (DV)

Magnesium: 19% of the DV

Folate: 8% of the DV

Iron: 6% of the DV

Health benefits of different millets:

Pearl millet( Bajra)

The most extensively grown and consumed millet in India is pearl millet. Iron, zinc, and vitamin B6 are all present in good amounts. It can improve digestion, boost immunity, get rid of toxins, keep blood sugar levels stable, lower cholesterol, reduce weight, and prevent cancer.

Foxtail millet ( Kangni)

Foxtail millet is a yellowish-brown grain that has a high protein content and a low glycemic index. It can help regulate blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol levels, reduce weight, improve digestion, boost immunity, detoxify the body, and promote bone health.

Proso millet ( Punarva)

Proso millet is a creamy white grain that has a high protein content and a low phytic acid content. It can help lower blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol levels, reduce weight, enhance digestion, increase immunity, remove toxins, and prevent cancer.

Finger millet ( Ragi)

 is a reddish-brown grain that has the highest calcium content of all cereal grains. It can help maintain blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol levels, reduce weight, aid digestion, boost immunity, eliminate toxins, promote bone health, and prevent cancer.

Kodo millet

Kodo millet is a grayish-brown grain that has a high fiber content and a low glycemic index. It can help regulate blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol levels, reduce weight, improve digestion, enhance immunity, detoxify the body, and protect against diabetes.

Barnyard millet

Barnyard millet is a brown grain that has a high iron content and a low glycemic index. It can help control blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol levels, reduce weight, aid digestion, boost immunity, remove toxins, and prevent anemia.

Little millet

Little millet is a light brown grain that has a high magnesium content and a low glycemic index. It can help lower blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol levels, reduce weight, improve digestion, increase immunity, eliminate toxins, and prevent cardiovascular diseases.

Guinea millet

Guinea millet is a white grain that has a high protein content and a low fat content. It can help maintain blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol levels, reduce weight, aid digestion, boost immunity, remove toxins, and prevent malnutrition.

Browntop millet

Browntop millet is a brown grain that has a high antioxidant content and a low glycemic index. It can help regulate blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol levels, reduce weight, enhance digestion, increase immunity, detoxify the body, and prevent oxidative stress.

Fonio millet

Fonio millet is a tiny white grain that has a high amino acid content and a low gluten content. It can help lower blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol levels, reduce weight, improve digestion, boost immunity, remove toxins, and prevent celiac disease.

Adlay millet

Adlay millet is an elongated gray grain that has a high starch content and a low fat content. It can help lower blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol levels, reduce weight, aid digestion, boost immunity, remove toxins, and prevent diabetes.

Health Benefits of Millets:

Millets have numerous health benefits that can help prevent or manage various chronic diseases. Some of the main benefits are:

Maintaining blood sugar levels: Millets have a low glycemic index (GI), which means they cause a slower and smaller rise in blood sugar levels after eating. This can help people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of complications.

Lowering cholesterol levels: Millets are rich in soluble fiber, which can bind to cholesterol in the digestive tract and prevent its absorption into the bloodstream. This can help lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and protect against heart disease.

Reducing weight: Millets are low in calories and high in fiber and protein, which can help increase satiety and reduce appetite. This can help people lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

Aiding digestion: Millets are easy to digest and can help prevent constipation, bloating, and other digestive issues. They can also promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut and improve gut health.

Increasing immunity: Millets are rich in antioxidants that can help fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress in the body. They can also modulate the immune system and enhance its function.

Eliminating toxins: Millets can help detoxify the body by binding to heavy metals and removing them from the system. They can also prevent the accumulation of toxins in the liver and kidneys.

Promoting bone health: Millets are a good source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamin K, which are essential for bone formation and maintenance. They can also prevent bone loss and osteoporosis.

Preventing cancer: Millets have anti-cancer properties that can inhibit the growth of tumor cells and induce apoptosis (cell death). They can also modulate the expression of genes involved in cancer development and progression.

Conclusion:

Millets are nutritious grains that have been cultivated for centuries in India and other parts of the world. They are gluten-free, high in protein, fiber, antioxidants, and minerals. They have various health benefits that can help prevent or manage diabetes, heart disease, obesity, digestive problems, immune disorders, toxicity issues, bone disorders, and cancer. Millets are versatile grains that can be cooked as porridge, rice, bread, or snacks.