We are what we eat, or rather, digest. Unhealthy food can ruin health whereas good food can make it stronger. Hundreds of years ago, in Bharat, people ate mixed grains, with more of millets. Slowly things changed and now it’s just wheat and rice which is giving rise to obesity, infertility, incontinence, diabetes and many more diseases.
If you’re into healthy eating, chances are your menu includes quinoa. You are probably willing to spend Rs 1,000 at the supermarket to buy a kilogram of the nutritious grain. But do you know that millets, which cost less than Rs100 a kilogram is actually more nutritious than wheat or rice. Quinoa is good in country where it grows. But we should eat what is grown locally. Why eat that which isn’t growing here? If we eat local food it will be good for our farmers. Millets can be grown without chemicals and less water. If farmers grow millets it will be better for us and farmers too who don’t have to buy harmful chemicals to grow wheat and rice.
Millets are cereal crops, widely recognized as seed grasses, and these are cultivated in semiarid tropical areas of Asia and Africa. Because millets have a short growing season, can withstand dry and high-temperature conditions yet yield well, they are popularly grown in developing nations. It is now a well-proven fact that consuming whole grains on a regular basis may help lose weight, owing to the rich content of fibre and bioactive compounds in them. In developed nations, millets have been relegated to bird feed. However, in developing nations like India, are enjoying rising popularity due to a variety of health benefits of millets.
Millets are super foods for weight loss. Millets in India enjoy prime importance that is because India is one of the largest producers clocking 11 million tons every year. Millets are highly nutritious, rich in fibre and gluten-free, making them easy for the body to absorb. They are rich in a wide spectrum of micronutrients, including calcium, iron, phosphorus, etc. They are slow digesting foods which don’t cause the huge spike in blood sugar which is caused by eating polished rice, therefore, millets help with preventing and controlling diabetes.
Let us know a bit more about the types of millets grown in India:
1. SORGHUM (JOWAR): It is one of the most popular, much-researched millet for weight loss. The calcium content in jowar is closely similar to the content in wheat and rice. It is also packed in iron, protein, and fiber punch. Researchers have found that a typical sorghum is rich in policosanols which helps in reducing the levels of cholesterol. Being a gluten-free grain, it is also much preferred by those who can’t tolerate wheat-based products.
2. FOXTAIL MILLET: Foxtail millets are available in the form of rice, semolina (like rava) or as fine textured flour. Like other millets, foxtail millet is rich in smart carbohydrates, which don’t increase the blood sugar levels immediately but slowly release glucose into the bloodstream. It is rich in dietary fiber, and minerals like iron and copper. Due to this, it helps to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol and keeps the immune system strong as well.
3. FINGER MILLET (RAGI): One of the most popular and commonly consumed millet there could be! Due to ragi’s nutrition, it can be considered a good replacement for rice and wheat. It is a storehouse of protein and amino acids. Studies have suggested a beneficial role of finger millet on blood glucose level and hence its positive effect on diabetic patients.
4. PEARL MILLET (BAJRA): Pearl millet or bajra is said to be a miracle millet with iron content which 8 times higher than that present in rice. It is also rich in protein, fibre, and minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Consumption of pearl millet will help ease constipation issues and any problems with the digestion as well. Because of the nutritional line-up, it can also make for a good lactagogue, as it induces lactation and helps in efficient milk secretion.
5. BARNYARD MILLET: Barnyard millet has a considerable amount of fiber that helps maintain satiety. Apart from this, the millet is a rich source of bone-building minerals calcium and phosphorus. Its good antioxidant profile helps in improving the complications of disorders like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, etc. It can be considered as an ideal replacement for rice in dosa/idli/dhokla batters.
6. KODO MILLET: For weight loss enthusiasts, this is the millet that will assist in healthy weight loss. Cook it like rice once in a while and relish without any guilt. It is easy to digest and is rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants, all of which helps prevent the occurrence of major lifestyle diseases. Kodo millet has shown to reduce knee and joint pain, helps regularize menstruation in women among others. This is attributed to high mineral content like calcium, magnesium and iron.
7. LITTLE MILLET: The little millet may be called little but in no means its nutritional content is little. It is a rich source of B-vitamins, minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, potassium among others. Little millet contains around 5.2 grams of fat with a good content of unsaturated fats that ensures healthy metabolism and subsequently, a healthy weight loss.
8. PROSO MILLET: This is rich in protein and low glycemic index carbs. The developed world cultivates this millet to use it as bird feed. It is yet to be consumed as a mainstream millet. Because of the high content of antioxidants and minerals like magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, it helps in preventing conditions like osteoporosis.
Thus, it can be concluded that including this super nutritious food in your daily diet can amp up the health quotient. A properly calculated intake of millets with other nutrient-rich foodstuffs will aid in desired weight loss. Incorporate millets in your daily life and reap their health imparting benefits.