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Top Health Benefits of Millets

by Melanie Peterson

One of the oldest cultivated grains dating back thousands of years, millet provides all kinds of benefits one wishes to get from superfoods. This backs up the statement that millets are the best of the grains.

Millet Categories:

1. Naked Grains:

Naked grains do not have any outer coatings and thus do not need to go through winnowing. They can simply be threshed out instead. This makes them popular, as they are easier to make right after the harvest. E.g., Bajra, Ragi, and Jowar.

2. Husked Grains:

These millets have indigestible seed coats that cannot be eaten and therefore need to be removed before consumption. They need to go through winnowing for this purpose. This makes it harder for normal consumption than naked grain.

These types of millet are rich in calcium, phosphorus, and iron. They are also hard to digest, which makes them ideal for diabetes patients as it does not spike the blood sugar level as compared to other grains. E.g. Kodo millet, Foxtail millet, and Little Millet. Use of millet food products have been all the increased in the past few years, and all for the right reasons!

Types of Millets

Bajra aka Pearl Millet

It is undoubtedly one of the most popular millet types, as evidenced by being one of the most grown crops in India. It is a good source of dietary fiber and a rich source of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and proteins.

Benefits of Pearl Millet

Good for heart health: The dietary fibers make them good for heart health. Additionally, it also has cholesterol-lowering properties.

Good for Diabetes: The carbohydrates present in bajra help slow down the digestion process and do not fluctuate the glucose level for a long time period. This is the reason why it is recommended for diabetes patients.

Prevents Constipation: Bajra is known to promote gut health. Pearl millets have insoluble fiber present in them which relieves any kind of stomach conditions along with constipation.

Helps Reduce Acidity and Stomach Ulcers: To prevent stomach ulcers from forming and reduce the chances of acidity discomfort in the stomach that usually occurs due to the consumption of low-fiber food, pearl millets are one of the few foods on the top of the list.

Lowers Blood Pressure: The abundance of potassium in Bajra helps lower blood pressure. As potassium-rich foods flush out sodium from your body. This results in decreased blood pressure.

Bajra for Gluten Intolerance and Celiac Patients: It is known to reduce insulin sensitivity and reduce the level of triglycerides. As pearl millet is gluten-free, it can be easily tolerated by anyone.

Perfect for Vegetarians: As mentioned above, bajra is rich in protein, which is why it is so ideal for vegetarians and meets their protein quota. Since they cannot get proteins from other foods like fish and meat, bajra becomes the perfect replacement and can be cooked in a variety of ways. Its flour can be used with other pulses like moong dal, chana dal, etc.

Kangni, aka Foxtail Millet

It is the second-most widely grown crop in the world after pearl millet and a powerhouse of nutrition. It offers the daily dose of nutrients needed by the body.

Benefits of Foxtail Millet

Foxtail Millet Weight Loss: There is an ample amount of tryptophan in foxtail millet. These are known to avoid hunger pangs. This makes foxtail millet the ideal food for losing weight, as it prevents the accumulation of fat in the body.

Manages Diabetes: The reason why foxtail millet is preferred by many in place of rice is that it prevents hunger pangs by keeping you full for long hours. Also, the gluten-free aspect of millet helps prevent sudden sugar level spikes. Being a low-glycemic-index food, it helps reduce glycosylated hemoglobin.

Boosts Cardiac Health: Due to its abundance of protein, low carbs, and gluten-free nature, foxtail millet is the best for heart health. It also contains amino acids, which help regulate cholesterol.

Strengthens bones: Iron and calcium are abundant in foxtail millet, which strengthens bones and fights osteoporosis, arthritis, and spondylitis.

Stronger nervous system: It is rich in iron, which helps reduce progressive Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s along with maintaining oxygenation to the brain. Also, being high in B1 helps keep neurological disorders away.

Helps improve Immunity: Foxtail millet is the ultimate powerhouse of nutrition. It not only gives you stamina, but it also builds your immunity to fight various diseases and keeps you stronger.

Ragi, aka Finger Millet

It is a crop that can be easily grown and can be made into many different kinds of food, such as dessert, bread, etc. This is the reason for its immense popularity and why it is widely used as a substitute for wheat and rice.

Benefits of Ragi

Diabetes Control: Being a low-glycemic-index food, ragi takes longer to digest as it has lower levels of simple sugar compared to the high levels of complex carbs. This results in no blood sugar spike after a meal, managing the blood sugar levels.

Heart Health: It controls bad cholesterol, which is the cause of many heart diseases. This happens due to the soluble fiber present in ragi, which raises good cholesterol levels, and the food fats.

Anti-Cancer Properties: The antioxidants prevent excessive oxidation, which is the cause of cell damage and leads to cancer and aging.

Slows Down Aging: The antioxidant properties mentioned above enable the cross-linking of collagen. Collagen is necessary for skin elasticity which is the main reason for staying young.

Sama, aka Little Millet

It is one of the smallest millets. Though tiny in size, its nutritional value is quite the opposite.

Benefits of Sama

Gluten-free: Sama is gluten-free and an excellent alternative for people with celiac disease or gluten-sensitive enteropathy. They make a perfect addition for people opting for a gluten-free diet.

Weight loss: The phosphorus content in little millet is great for tissue repair, energy production for strenuous activities, and weight loss. Also a great detoxifier. The high water-soluble content keeps you full for longer. Hence, it is often recommended to people who are dieting or have disorders like obesity, and other cardiovascular conditions.

Respiratory conditions: It treats respiratory conditions like asthma.

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