Millets are small seeded grasses and cereals and coarse grains which were initially grown as human food and animal fodder. They were predominantly grown in Asia and Africa. These super grains have been a staple for the last 5000 years, until rice and wheat took over. But millets have been making a comeback in recent years.
With the advent of the internet, fitness enthusiasts are more aware of the benefits of this superfood and millets are making a comeback to the mainstream.
Now, what makes millets so special?
An independent scientist in India, Dr Khader Valli claims ‘There are no conditions which cannot be cured when you stop eating rice and wheat and switch to millets’.
A bold claim backed with having multiple reasons to avoid rice and wheat, with all their harmful side effects.
Millets on the other hand are a powerhouse of nutrition. It is gluten free and contains a host of micronutrients such as iron, zinc, potassium, calcium and phosphorus. Also, they are loaded with fibre so they take time to digest, which regulates the insulin levels in our blood and doesn’t cause the sugar spike associated with easily digestible food.
For this very reason, Millets should be in your diet if you are looking to control your diabetes.
Millets are not only good for us but the environment too. They require minimal amount of water as compared to the others which are largely rain-fed crops. This in turn saves us a humongous amount of water every year.
Moreover these grain crops do not attract pests and so, they don’t need the use of pesticides and can grow perfectly well organically.
What are the different types of millets ?
Millets are broadly classified into two types:
1. Naked grains which consist of the three popular millet types namely, Ragi, Jowar and Bajra. These don’t have that distinct hard and indigestible husk.
2. Husked grains like Foxtail millets, Little millets and Kodo millets, on the other hand consist of an indigestible seed coat. The husk on them needs to be removed before they are ready for human consumption.
Benefits of millets:
Millets are nutrient dense and pack a host of benefits. Incorporating them in your daily diet could have innumerable benefits.
1.They aid in weight loss
They have a two pronged benefit for anyone thinking about weight loss.
Firstly, they contain an extremely low calorie content. This is a great alternative to rice for those looking to cut those extra calories.
Secondly, millets take time to get digested and absorbed by the body. And because of this, your body feels full for longer and removes the craving for a mid-meal snack.
2. Millets are gluten free
Gluten causes the celiac disease in 1 out of every 133 people. Millets are gluten free and are an extremely healthy option to whe
3. Millets have a low Glycemic Index
Glycemic Index is a measure of how fast the food gets digested and the resulting increase in blood sugar levels.
This bring us to the next benefit.
4. Keeps your blood sugar levels under control
Because of the low GI, millets get absorbed slowly and do not cause a spike in the blood sugar levels.
Studies have shown that replacing rice based dosas with ones made of foxtail millet can significantly bring down sugar levels in those suffering from type-2 diabetes.
5. Boosts your immunity
Millets are host to a plethora of micro-nutrients like iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, thiamin and magnesium. These micro-nutrients aid in strengthening the immune system and prevents invisible deficiencies to the body.
6. Millets reduces risk of cardiovascular related diseases
Our body needs energy to perform. Millets contain natural fat which provides our bodies with a dose of energy while preventing the deposit of excess fat in the muscles and coronary blockage. This thereby lowers the risk of cholesterol and strokes.
The Potassium and Magnesium present in millets help in regulating blood pressure and reduce the risk of a heart attack.
7. Millets help prevent asthma
Studies have shown that increasing the intake of millet can reduce cases of childhood asthma by a huge percentage. The also help reduce migraines and are free from any issues of asthma inducing allergens such as wheezing.
8. Millets help in improving digestion and reduces risk of colon cancer
Millets contain fibre and phytonutrients. Fibre helps on smooth bowel movement while the phytonutrients provides the necessary boost of nutrients to have a digestive system working in pristine order.
9. Millets acts as natural antioxidants
Millets are loaded with certain essential components such as curcumin, ellagic acid, Quercetin and catechins. These help in removing foreign agents and free radicals and detoxifying the body.
10. Millets are good for the environment.
Millets require a fraction of the amount required as compared to any of the other seeds or grains. Additionally, millets do not require any fertilizers and in reverser act as nutrition for the soil. The embed the soil wit nutrients so that other crops can also be grown on it.
The benefits of millets cannot be understated. You have start eating it to believe it right!
We at Mego love this wonder food and want to provide healthy snack alternatives while saving the world.