A coarse grain with a long tradition of cultivation & consumption in India and neighboring Asian countries. They are a powerhouse of proteins, vitamins, minerals & fibers. A gluten free alternative to a common item Wheat. A blessing for gluten intolerant people. Not just health benefits that millets offer but also the farming requirements are minimum as they need less water and ground fertility. Plus, they are pest resistant, so no or very less use of pesticides in farming millets.
Millets are classified as two types, Major millets as they do not have any husk(covering) and are ready to eat. Minor millets have covering called husk, that needs to be removed before humans can consume.
Foxtail, Finger (Ragi), Pearl (Bajra), Buckwheat & Little Millets are the most common ones we can get in the market.
How do millets help us in staying healthy?
Millets contain complex carbohydrates that take time to digest hence releasing the sugar in blood slowly and not causing any spikes like white rice. Diabetics should strongly consider including millets in daily meals. Millets have low Glycemic Index making they ideal for sugar control.
Slow digestion also means reduced hunger cravings and less eating. In general, they are low in calories, so for those going in for calorie deficit should certainly include millets in diet plan. Energy levels are maintained in the body further reducing the need for snacking & overeating.
Heart Health Management
Fiber of millets creates a gel like substance in gut that traps bad fats in the body helping in reducing cholesterol & triglycerides. For people suffering from high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases, millets are a welcome addition to their diet.
Millets have proteins, so they aid in building stronger immunity. Less number of infections and better position to fight of unknown diseases as well is a result of strong immunity.
Fiber content of Millets help maintaining proper digestion, keeping away bloating, gas, cramping & constipation. Healthy gut is required to absorb all the vital nutrients from the food that we eat, fiber in millets ensure that.
Body Cleansing Rich in antioxidants reduces the oxidative stress on our body. They contain elements that can help in reducing metal poisoning in the body.
When should Millets be avoided?
Millets have content a compound that is known as Goitrogenic, that may impair thyroid function. Avoid having millets and thyroid medication together.
Millets contain phytic acid that inhibits nutrient absorption in our body. So avoid directly eating Millets, keep them soaked overnight, sprout them or use millet flour.
For people suffering for Celiac disease or other Gluten intolerance conditions, Millets are a blessing. Gluten is a protein found in most used grains like wheat, barley & rye. Millets offer a variety of choice as all of them are Gluten-free.
Millets have lots of essential macro and micro-nutrients and offer variety and taste, while helping us achieve a lot of health benefits. You can even replace the daily wheat and rice with millets. A lot of recipes that we have in our day-to-day cooking can be enjoyed by adding or replacing existing ones with Millets.