Millets – Precious Meal

millets

What are Millets?

In today’s world, we forget to eat good foods or we do not have knowledge about them. Millet is one of those food which is better and more nutritious than rice and wheat but we all forget about it.

Millet consists of small round seeds with a nutty flavor and provides good amounts of iron, calcium, potassium, and the B vitamins. Typically cheaper than rice, millet is available at most health food stores.

Millets are major food sources in arid and semiarid regions of the world, and feature in the traditional cuisine of many others.  You may recognize it as birdseed, but its not just for the birds!  Millet is a delicious and nutritious grain that can accompany many types of food.

Features of Millets

  • Millets do not demand synthetic fertilizers.
  • Millet are pest free crops.
  • Each of the millets is a storehouse of dozens of nutrients in large quantities. They include major and micro nutrients needed by the human body. Hence they can help people withstand malnutrition.
  • Millets grow under non-irrigated conditions in such low rainfall regimes as between 200 mm and 500 mm. Thus, they can also face the water stress and grow.

Why should we eat Millets?

They are highly nutritious, non-glutinous and not acid forming foods. Hence they are soothing and easy to digest. They are considered to be the least allergenic and most digestible grains available. Compared to rice, especially polished rice, millets release lesser percentage of glucose and over a longer period of time. This lowers the risk of diabetes

Millets are particularly high in minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium. Finger millet (Ragi) is the richest in calcium content, about 10 times that of rice or wheat. Click here for the nutrient composition of millets as compared to wheat and rice.

Millet should also be included on your list of heart-healthy choices because of its status as a good source of magnesium. Magnesium has been shown in studies to reduce the severity of asthma and to reduce the frequency of migraines. Magnesium has also been shown to lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack, especially in people with atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease.

A cup of cooked millet provides 19% of the daily value for magnesium.

Other Benefits:

Development and Repair of Body Tissue
Substantially Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Prevent Gallstones
Protective against Breast Cancer
Protective against Childhood Asthma
Cardiovascular Benefits for Postmenopausal Women

What kinds of millets are available?

  • Barnyard Millet (Hindi: Jhangora; Tamil: Kuthiravaali; Telugu: Odalu)
  • Finger Millet (Hindi: Mandua; Tamil: Kelvargu; Telugu: Ragulu; Kannada: Ragi; Malayalam: Koovarugu)
  • Foxtail Millet (Hindi: Kangni; Tamil: Tenai; Telugu: Korra; Kannada: Navane; Malayalam: Thina)
  • Kodo Millet (Hindi: Kodra; Tamil: Varagu; Telugu: Arikelu; Kannada: Harka)
  • Little Millet (Hindi: Kutki; Tamil: Samai; Telugu: Sama; Kannada: Same; Malayalam: Chama)
  • Pearl Millet (Hindi: Bajra, Tamil: Kambu, Telugu: Gantilu, Kannada: Sajje)
  • Proso Millet (Hindi: Barri; Tamil: Panivaragu; Telugu: Varigulu; Kannada: Baragu)
  • Sorghum (Hindi: Jowar; Tamil: Cholam; Telugu: Jonna; Kannada: Jola; Malayalam: Cholum)

How to cook millets?

Most millets can be cooked like rice. Millets can replace rice in various dishes such as idli, dosa, payasam/kheer. Millet flour can be used to make rotis.

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