People today desire to eat clean and healthy, but do not acquire all the nutritional needs which needs cooking of many varieties, due to hectic work schedules, growing responsibilities and lack of time.
This forced me look into our traditional eating habits where we were served one complete meal in a bowl – raagi mudde, ragi roti, varai chi bhaat, millet pulao etc.
These tiny nutty flavored grains alkaline in nature are the power house of fiber, calcium and minerals are easy and quick to cook food and also serve as a complete meal. Millets are gluten free, hence good for people suffering from gluten intolerance, rich in iron and protein hence can be easily used as a daily staple to meet all our nutritional requirements. The high magnesium content in them helps reduce the effects of migraine and heart attacks. These act as prebiotic feeding microflora in your inner ecosystem. Rich in Vitamin B3, so helps reduce cholesterol. Rich in phytate so, helps reduce cancer risks. These millets also hydrate the colon, so helps with constipation and also with ulcers and colitis. These are not only easily digestible and good for weight loss, being high in fiber and low simple sugars, controls blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and are heart healthy foods.
There are 8 types of millets known and extensively used – explaining their nutritional benefits individually.
1. Sorghum (Jowar)
A trusted and gluten free millet for weight loss that are extensively used in Karnataka and Maharashtra. These are high in protein, carbohydrates, calcium and iron. Sorghum is also rich in policosanols that helps in regulating the cholesterol levels.
2. Foxtail Millet (Kangni)
Rich in smart carbs, does not increase blood glucose levels immediately after the meal. Also rich in iron and copper, helps reduce the LDL levels. A very good staple for people with low immunity. Widely used to cure Typhoid and Pneumonia.
3. Finger Millet (Nachani)
A good food for people suffering from ulcers and anemia. This millet helps reduce the body heat so to be consumed mainly in summers. Rich in protein with good amino acids, these contain highest calcium compared to all other grains, so people who are lactose intolerant, you have your new milk here for your calcium requirements.
4. Pearl Millet (Bajra)
Rajasthan is very well known for its Bajra ki Roti no wonder why people there are so strong and active all day. 8 times more iron than rice, Bajra is rich in protein, fiber, calcium and magnesium. This millet is very good for lactating mothers for increased milk production. Being high in fiber, good for constipation and digestion issues and also a very good food to heal stomach ulcers.
5. Barnyard Millet (Jhangora)
High in fiber content, this keeps you satiated for longer. So, an ideal food for people aiming at weight loss. High in calcium and phosphorus, good for building lean muscle mass. A good antioxidant profile helps in maintaining the body temperature.
6. Kodo Millet (Koden)
A good staple for people looking for lifestyle changes. Rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants, this millet will prevent you from major lifestyle diseases. High in fiber, also a good food for weight loss. Low in Glycemic Index, good for people with diabetes and cardiac diseases. A good source of B-vitamins. Help in relieving knee and joint pains. A good food for women suffering from PCOD, as this food nourishes the ovaries and helps with irregular menstruation.
7. Little Millet (Kutki/Saame)
Ideal for people of all age groups. Good for people suffering from stomach issues. High in good fat and fiber that helps in weight loss. A couple friendly food helps in improving semen count in men and women with PCOD and other menstruation related issues. Rich source of B-vitamins, calcium, iron, zinc and potassium.
8. Proso Millet
Millet with highest protein and low glycemic index carbohydrate content. A carb and energy rich food, good for people when working out strenuously or following HIIT routines.
Millets can be used on a on a daily basis or should be included in your diet at least 4 times a week as a replacement for regular roti and rice. They not only add change to the routine staple, are packed with so nutrients adding numerous health benefits.