Millets are cereal crops and small seed grasses, used for human consumption as well as fodder for animals. Millets are quite popular in the regions of Asia and Africa and they are consumed almost regularly as a staple food, at least until the Green Revolution made wheat and rice more accessible. Millets, available in different types, are a healthy choice. They contain high nutritional value and are abundantly rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, fibers.
When talking about nutritional value, millets offer a lot of health benefits for you because of the great number of nutrients and minerals they are rich in. So, let’s move ahead and have a look!
What are the benefits of millets?
Let us discuss in detail the top benefits of millets, which can make the consumption of millets a lot more encouraging for you.
Millet is a gluten-free grain, and hence, a really good choice for people who want to adopt gluten-free diets. People with gluten intolerance or celiac disease need to avoid gluten since it can trigger harmful digestive symptoms in them. For them, millet can be a good dietary choice.
- Controlling blood sugar levels:
Millets are rich in fibers and non-starchy polysaccharides. These compounds majorly help in the control of blood sugar levels. Studies have also confirmed this benefit. A reduction in blood sugar levels as well as a decrease in insulin resistance.
With its low glycemic index, it is one ideal grain for people with diabetes.
- May help lower cholesterol:
The fibers contained in millet produce a viscous substance in your gut which traps fat and hence, helps reduce the levels of cholesterol in the body.
A study was conducted on mice who were fed with millet protein concentrate. The results showed a decrease in their triglyceride levels and an increase in the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.
- Weight loss:
Millets can greatly help in weight loss, primarily because of their low-calorie contents. Eating millets can help you maintain your energy levels for the entire day. The energy that millet consumption gives you is lasting, unlike the energy given by carbohydrates that get worn out quickly. Millets take time to get digested and absorbed into your body, and hence your body feels full for long.
- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases:
Loads of nutrition that millets contain aid in the improvement of your heart health. The magnesium in millets can be really helpful in reducing blood pressure and the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
Millets also help excess fat from being deposited over the muscles of the body, which in turn reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, high cholesterol, strokes, etc.
The potassium in millets also helps regulate the body’s blood pressure levels and optimize the circulatory system.
- Act as antioxidants:
Millets are rich in antioxidants like quercetin, curcumin, ellagic acid, etc. This helps remove the toxins from the body, thus detoxing the body and neutralizing the enzymatic actions of your body organs.
Different types of millets of millets available in the market
Generally speaking, all millets can be given a broad division of two categories. These are:
- Naked grains:
Naked grains are given their name because they do not contain the hard husk that some millets contain. They can be used right after they’re cleaned and do not require to be processed. This is the major reason for their popularity and heavy usage. There are three naked grains: Ragi, Jowar, and Bajra.
- Husked grains:
Unlike naked grains, these millets contain an outer seed coat, which is like a husk and is indigestible. These types of millets become suited for human consumption.
These millets are little time to digest, which is the reason they do not cause a spike in blood sugar, like other easily digestible foods.
They also contain a lot of nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, and iron, which add to their benefits.
Let us discuss the different types of millets in detail now.
- Foxtail millet:
This millet is available as rice flour or semolina. Its high calcium and iron content helps majorly in boosting immunity, while the carbohydrates help balance the levels of blood sugar. It also helps increase the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol in the body.
- Pearl millet (Bajra):
Pearl millet is rich in a lot of nutrients and minerals like calcium, magnesium, protein, etc. this nutrient-dense grain helps the body fight against Type II diabetes., and is extremely beneficial for your health.
Of the various benefits that millets have, weight loss is one important point in the list, and the buckwheat millet can be helpful with this. It helps lower blood pressure levels, is a healthy food option for diabetic people, and helps with cardiovascular health as well.
- Little millet:
This also works great for people looking to lose some of their pounds. It is often consumed as a replacement for rice as well. It is rich in antioxidants and Vitamin B, and minerals like zinc, iron, potassium, calcium.
- Finger millet:
Finger millet is commonly known as Ragi and can be consumed as a substitute for rice and wheat. It is rich in proteins, amino acids, and is gluten-free as well, making it a good food option for wheat intolerant people.
- Sorghum (Jowar):
Jowar is highly rich in proteins, fibers, and other minerals. It helps in reducing cholesterol levels, and also works great for people who are intolerant to wheat.
- Barnyard millet:
This is also a nutrient-dense millet and has high fiber content, which can work in your favor if you’re looking to lose some weight. Additionally, its high levels of phosphorus and calcium also help in building bones and in fighting bone diseases in the body.
This is all about millets, millet types, and their various benefits. You can look out for various unique recipes as well, that can make millet consumption interesting as well as healthy for you. We hope this article helps you. Eat healthily, stay healthy!