Millets have long been a staple in Indian cuisine. These once-popular grains are making a return as consumers embrace better diets and lifestyles. Supplementing your diet with organic millet offers additional health benefits if you regularly consume rice and wheat.
Niacin, abundant in millet, aids in regulating over 400 enzyme processes in the body. Niacin is vital for normal organ and skin function. Because of its significance, this chemical is often fortified into processed meals.
Even more so than rice, millet, particularly the darker types, is a great way to get your daily dose of beta-carotene. The antioxidant properties of this natural pigment aid the body in fending off free radicals while promoting eye health.
This article discusses the nutritional value, advantages, and disadvantages of millet.
USDA data show that 100g of cooked millet has:
- Water: 71.4mg
- Energy: 119kCal
- Energy: 119kCal
- Fat: 1g
- Carbohydrates: 23.7g
- Fiber: 1.3g
- Calcium: 3mg
- Magnesium: 44mg
- Phosphorus: 100mg
- Potassium: 62 mg
Some of the other health advantages you may get from eating millet are:
Millet meals and drinks are useful and good for your health. For example, they can help prevent diabetes, fight obesity, and improve your heart health. The phytochemicals in millets include phenolics, sterols, lignans, inulin, resistant starch, -glucan, phytates, tocopherol, dietary fiber, and carotenoids, all work together to boost the body’s immune system.
Many individuals all around the globe struggle with diabetes. The high magnesium content of millets makes them a useful tool in the fight against Type II Diabetes. Several carbohydrate-digesting enzymes control insulin activity, and magnesium helps create these enzymes.
It has been shown that millets contain many of the same micronutrients found in modern pharmaceutical supplements, such as vitamins, beta-carotene, and other minerals. The consequence is that all millets are now vastly improved and may help combat the widespread malnutrition and obesity plagues India.
1. Helps Weight Loss
Some research suggests that millets are one of the best sources of complex carbohydrates due to their high fiber content. That’s why they’re good for your health in many ways. There is a common opinion that a diet high in whole grains is a great way to control your weight. Some studies have shown that eating millet, which is high in fiber and bioactive compounds, helps people feel full for longer between meals. As a consequence, it facilitates weight loss without requiring the sacrifice of essential nutrients.
Several studies have shown that eating more fiber may aid with weight control. Eating high-fiber meals has been shown to enhance bowel function and reduce the prevalence of obesity by facilitating better digestion and absorption. This, in turn, reduces the chance of developing chronic illnesses. Several studies have shown that millets are an effective weight loss food because they are low in calories and rich in beneficial nutrients, including carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids, lipids, minerals, and vitamins.
2. Enhance Immunity
Millets, according to the research, may help strengthen the immune system. They boost the immune system and aid in the prevention of disease. The minerals in millet are necessary for the body to operate normally and include iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, selenium, and zinc. Millets boost the body’s defenses against potential illnesses.
3. Maintain healthy blood sugar levels
The millet’s glycemic index is much lower than that of other cereals. Millets are better than other whole grains in their ability to control blood sugar levels. Diabetics or people suffering from carbohydrate sensitivity may safely eat millet as a replacement for other grains.
Millets have many qualities that make them useful for controlling diabetes. Saponin and niacin, which may be found in millets, aid in glucose regulation. Saponin lowers LDL cholesterol and homocysteine levels in the blood. Also, it improves HDL cholesterol while decreasing LDL cholesterol. Several studies, including a meta-analysis, have shown that millet reduces blood sugar levels.
4. Increase Heart Health
Some research suggests that eating millet might help us keep our blood pressure in a healthy range. The soluble fiber in abundance in millet contributes to lowering cholesterol and avoiding heart disease. By reducing levels of harmful cholesterol and triglycerides, they help prevent cardiovascular disease. In addition, the monounsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E included in millet aid in reducing LDL cholesterol and preventing cardiovascular disease.
The high fiber content of millet has led to claims that it may help those with coronary artery disease. Millet dietary fiber contains around 75% carbohydrates by weight, making it a particularly healthy choice for those watching their carbohydrate intake. Therefore, it ferments in the colon, providing some gut-health advantages without being digested or absorbed in the small intestine.
5. Ability to Fight Cancer
Millets, the third-largest grain crop in the world and a staple meal in India, also have medicinal properties. Because of its detoxifying effects, it may be one of the most effective anti-cancer medications.
6. Boost Digestion
Millets have been shown in scientific studies to promote a healthy digestive system by stimulating the formation of hydrochloric acid and the good bacteria necessary for digestion. Moreover, millets help produce pancreatic fluid, which plays a role in digestion and metabolism.
7. Promote bone health
A lack of bone density is a serious problem that must be addressed. Calcium is, of course, necessary for healthy bones. On the other hand, Vitamin D is essential because it facilitates calcium absorption from the diet.
8. Improves Skin Health
Millets enhance the flexibility, hydration, and elasticity of the skin. Several nutrients in millet, including vitamin E, amino acids, magnesium, and fatty acids, are good for the skin. According to experts, millet is associated with improved skin elasticity and smoothness.
On top of all that, millets are rich in iron, making them a great choice for those with anemia. Most millet fields need rain for irrigation, making millet farming a sustainable option. Therefore, they do not contribute to the depletion of our water supply. In addition, these cereal crops do not appeal to pests, so they may flourish without applying pesticides.
9. Suitable for gluten-free diets
Millets are gluten-free grains, making them feasible for persons with celiac disease or adhering to a gluten-free diet.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity are both characterized by an intolerance to gluten because it causes unpleasant digestive symptoms in susceptible people, including diarrhea and a failure to absorb nutrients. To be sure the millets you buy haven’t been contaminated with gluten, seek a label stating that they are gluten-free.
Although millet has many positive health effects, it’s important to note that they also include antinutrients, which may cause shortages if they prevent the body from absorbing necessary minerals.
Phytic acid is one of these chemicals that prevents the body from absorbing potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium. Those who eat carefully, however, should not feel any ill consequences.
Goitrogenic polyphenols are another antinutrient that may hinder thyroid function and lead to goiter (the enlargement of the thyroid gland that causes swelling in the neck). However, this impact is linked only to high polyphenol consumption.
The prevalence of goiter, for instance, was shown to be much higher when 74% of a person’s daily calories came from millet, as opposed to when it contributed just 37% of the daily calories.
It is also possible to greatly reduce millet’s antinutrient content by soaking it at room temperature for a whole night, draining it, and washing it well before cooking.
Moreover, the antinutrient content of foods is reduced during sprouting. Sprouted millet is available at certain health food shops, but you may also germinate it at home. Millet may be stored for longer periods if it is kept moist by placing it in a glass jar and covering it with a cloth that is then sealed with a rubber band.
After 8 to 12 hours each time, invert the container and give the millet a good rinse under running water. After two or three days, you should see the first little shoots. The drained sprouts should be eaten immediately.
It’s important to remember that millet sprouts have a shorter shelf life and are more likely to cause food poisoning if you grow them.
To guarantee safety:
- Keep a clean container for germination
- Avoid using untreated water; instead, get bottled water (NOT tap water)
- Sprouts need to be rinsed often.
- Before storing your sprouts, make sure to drain any residual water.
- A cold, dry place is ideal for storing sprouts.
- Let them sit at room temperature for 8-12 hours before putting them in the fridge.
Millets are an excellent source of protein, antioxidants, other nutrients, and whole grains. They could help reduce your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, among other potential health benefits. Moreover, they’re safe for those with celiac disease or who prefer a gluten-free diet since they don’t contain any gluten. They have a delicious nutty flavor and can be used in various ways, making them a great choice.
In the winter, you should eat millet like bajra and maize. These millets are grown particularly during this season. Therefore, it would be better for your health to have them. They will help in maintaining your body’s temperature.
Nineteen studies on anemic persons found that when consumed regularly (21 days to 4.5 years), millets significantly increased hemoglobin levels by 13.2% compared with usual diets, which only increased levels by 2.7%.
They may safely eat millet. Many millets, like ragi and bajra, are excellent choices for pregnant women because of their high levels of iron and calcium. Millets should be substituted for other grains by pregnant women struggling to manage their glucose levels. Babies exposed to millet during pregnancy have a higher chance of surviving after birth.
Athletes need a steady supply of energy to perform at their best, and carbohydrates provide that. Millets are the only kind of carbohydrates that don’t include starch, and their steady release of energy makes them ideal for sustaining high activity levels over extended periods.