What are millets?
Millets are cereal crops and small seed grasses. They are widely used in African and Asian countries. Millets are majorly cultivated in the semiarid tropical regions of Africa and Asia, around 97 percent of world’s overall millet production happens in these regions. These are now known as super foods all over the world. In olden days, Indians used millets to prepare variety of dishes. These have incredible nutrient rich composition.
Also gluten free millets can play a pivotal role in preventing and curing several health issues. Enriched with the goodness of nature, millets are a rich source of fiber, minerals like magnesium, phosphorous, iron, calcium, zinc and potassium. Millets are extremely nutritious and good for health and they can be stored for years, as they have a long shelf life. Millets make for a perfect healthy meal. In fact, it is often advised to prepare millets in the form of porridge for growing kids and aging adults.
Millets are not only healthy but at the same time they have a unique taste. With various culinary innovations, millets like ragi, jowar and bajra are used to prepare several snacks and dishes like Ragi Idli, Millet Khichidi, Apple Ragi Halwa( healthy for toddlers), Ragi Cookies etc. Moreover, millets can make meals palatable and visually appealing. Some of the health benefits of millets are :
1. Rich source of magnesium, which helps in stimulating the level of insulin, thereby increasing the efficiency of glucose receptors in the body, which further helps in maintaining a healthy balance of sugar level in the body. This helps in reducing the chance of diabetes type 2.
2. Rich in fiber, millets make for a healthy cereal, which can help in digestion and can relieve bowel issues. It helps in gastrointestinal problems and can ease in other diseases related to the liver and kidney.
3. Millets are loaded with certain components which further help in removing foreign agents and free radicals and balance the enzymatic reactions in the body. These can naturally detoxify the blood.
Types of millets
Sorghum is commonly known as Jowar in India. Traditionally, jowar was used as a grain to make flat breads/ rotis. Enriched with the goodness of iron, protein and fibre, jowar can help in reducing cholesterol level.
Ragi (Finger Millet)
Ragi is used as a healthy substitute for rice and wheat. Ragi is undoubtedly a powerhouse of nutrition. It is rich in protein and this gluten free millet is good for brain development in growing kids.
Bajra (Pearl millet)
This millet is known for its umpteen health benefits. Packed with the goodness of iron, protein, fibre, and minerals such as calcium and magnesium; the daily consumption or inclusion of this millet can work wonders.
Samvat Ke Chawal (Barnyard millet)
This nutrient dense millet has high fiber content, which can effectively help in losing weight. It is a rich source of calicum and phosphorius, which helps in bone building and its daily caonsumption helps infighting bone diseases.
Chena (Proso millet)
This millet can effectively help in balancing blood sugar level. Its low glycemic index has made it a fad among weight watchers.
Sama (Little millet)
Packed with the goodness of B-vitamins, minerals like calcium, iron, zinc and potassium, little millets can provide essential nutrients, which further help in weight loss. It is a part of many traditional dishes in south India. What’s more, more than anything its high fiber content makes it a healthy replacement for rice.
The name buckwheat causes some confusion as it is related to wheat. But this gluten-free seed is unrelated to wheat, although it can be used in place of wheat grains such as bulgur, wheat berries, spelt using the same cooking method. It is comparatively inexpensive source of high-quality protein.