millet

Millets a superfood

Millets a superfood 1

The staple foods of the Indian diet are cereal grains like rice and wheat. Wheat and rice alone can’t give you a healthy diet because they don’t have enough nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. Diabetes, heart disease, and cancer are just some of the chronic diseases that are becoming more common in India. Even though many people are trying to solve the problem, the number of women and children with iron-deficiency anemia, a type of undernutrition, is rising. According to the World Health Organization, 820 million people are affected by chronic hunger. With a score of 27.5, India is ranked 101st out of 116 countries on the 2021 Global Hunger Index. This means that there is a lot of hunger in the country.

So, if we want to get out of this terrible situation, the agricultural production system needs to make important decisions about how to make crops that are only minimally farmed in places with few resources part of the system. Small millets, which are also called “minor millets,” can give the country food and nutrition security and save the lives of the poor and other people who are left out.

The importance of millet

  • In 2016–17, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare reported a 60% drop in millet cultivation area (14.72 million hectares) owing to changes in consumption patterns, the conversion of irrigated land to wheat and rice production, the unavailability of millets, poor yields, dietary preferences, and demand. This causes malnutrition in mothers and children by lowering vitamin A, protein, iron, and iodine levels.
  • Millets are abundant in minerals, including calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. Other nutrients are also present, including folic acid, vitamin B6, beta-carotenniacin, and niacin. The presence of abundant lecithin is beneficial for boosting the neurological system. As a result, malnutrition may be overcome by regularly consuming millet.
  • Millets have a high concentration of phytochemicals such as tannins, phytosterols, polyphenols, and antioxidants, but they also have certain anti-nutritional effects.
  • Millets are very adaptable since they can thrive in a variety of environments. This includes the lowlands of Andhra Pradesh’s coast, the relatively high elevations of the Northeastern states, and the hills of Uttarakhand. Millets can thrive in many climates and soil types, including rich and barren environments.

Millet is one of the oldest cereals people know about and may have been the first grain used in the home. It is sometimes called a “super-grain,” “wonder-grain,” and other similar names. An initiative to designate 2023 as the Worldwide YMilletMillets was proposed by India and endorsed by more than 70 countries; the resolution was unanimously passed by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), demonstrating international support for recognizing the relevance and advantages of these grains for the global food chain. Ambassador TS Tirumurti, India’s permanent representative to the UN, stated, “There is an urgent need to promote the nutritional and ecological advantage of millets to consumers, producers, and decision-makers, to increase production efficiency, research and development investments, and food sector linkages.”

Benefits of Millet Production:

  • Once known as coarse grains, millets are now more often known as “nutria-millets or nutria-cereals” due to their nutritional benefits. Millet is termed the “wonder grain” or “crop of the future” since it can thrive in tough conditions and requires less effort.
  • Millets give millions of families a stable source of food and income and help make farming more profitable because they can be used for human and animal feed.
  • Millets help lower the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, which is a factor in slowing global warming. On the other hand, wheat is a crop that suffers greatly from heat, and paddy is the main contributor to climate change due to methane emissions.
  • It is not necessary to use synthetic fertilizers while growing millets. The millet harvest is pest-free and will hold up well in storage.
  • All around, the nutritional content of millet is extraordinary. Its nutritional value is around three to five times that of wheat or rice. Polyphenols, antioxidants, and cholesterol-lowering waxes may all be found in significant amounts in sorghum (Jowar).
  • Millets’ high dietary fiber and low glycemic index aid in reducing constipation, obesity, hypertension, and cancer.

How can you incorporate millet into your daily routine?

  • Bajara is a great source of protein and long-lasting energy. To make a pre-workout drink, combine 1 tablespoon of bajara with 500 milliliters of water and 1 teaspoon of jaggery.
  • Millet may be substituted for refined grains like rice and wheat because it acts as an internal cleanser, removing toxic substances from the body.
  • Buttermilk made from ragi is a tasty beverage. High in calcium, it’s also a great choice for young children. For a spicy kick, adults may add some chili powder.
  • Instead of gluten-based snacks, make millet khakhra, millet cookies, energy bars, chakli, and different Namkeen.

Millets are environmentally-friendly:

  • Millets grow like weeds, so most of them are naturally non-GMO and pesticide free, which is good for the environment and the crop. As a result, they are organic in nature.
  • Growing millets does not need a lot of water and does not deplete the soil of its nutrients. Millets are a great alternative to rice since they are both easy to prepare and non-GMO. They also keep a person full for a longer time.
  • The states of Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Maharashtra are the most prolific millet producers in India. Millets are a hardy crop that can withstand extreme weather conditions. Farmers favor millets because they need less time and money to cultivate.

Conclusion:

Millets are an indigenous superfood loaded with beneficial nutrients, including protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Using these grains instead of white rice and refined wheat, you can flush out toxic waste and scrub your digestive tract. Millets can help you lose weight because they slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream and are good for the health of your digestive system and immune system.

Millets are also safer for the environment. Not only do they not require as much water to cultivate as rice or wheat, but they also leave the soil in better condition after harvest. Millets haven’t been genetically changed like the quick-yielding hybrid, and GMO varieties of rice and wheat brought to India during the Green Revolution in the 1970s.

FAQS

1.    What are millet’s primary nutrients?

Millets are a great source of

  • Vitamin A.
  • B – complex vitamins, to be precise.
  • Phosphorus.
  • Potassium.
  • Antioxidants.
  • Niacin.
  • Calcium.
  • Iron.

2.    How does millet impact the body?

Millet is nutrient-dense and contains protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. Millet can help safeguard cardiovascular health, prevent the development of diabetes, aid in weight management, and reduce gastrointestinal inflammation. The millet grain may be used in many different ways.

3.    Is millet safe for everyone to eat?

Intake of millet should be kept moderate since the grains contain chemicals that interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland, leading to negative consequences with high consumption. Millets are abundant in fiber but are slowly digested, which might induce bloating and gas.

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