Millet is a small, highly variable seeded weed, commonly grown as a cereal crop throughout the world. Millet grains can be white, green, yellow or red and are small and round in shape. Millet grains are characterized by their very high nutritional content, in terms of proteins, minerals and vitamins.
Therefore, millet is nutritionally superior to rice and wheat three to five times, as it is rich in B vitamins, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and is gluten-free. It has a low glycemic index , so millet is ideal for people who are sensitive. It is also used for weight loss and suitable for diabetics.
Nutrition facts about millet
It is an excellent source of:
Nutrients per serving
A quarter cup of dry millet contains:
6 grams of protein.
2 g fat.
36 g carbohydrates.
4 g of fiber.
Less than 1 gram of sugar.
Health benefits of millet
What is millet ?
Millet is one of the most important grains in the world and has been introduced to people's diets for thousands of years, and has also been used to feed domestic animals and birds.
After learning about the benefit of millet, the population started consuming it as it contains vitamin B, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc...etc. Below we will mention the benefits of millet.
1- Losing weight
Some studies have shown that adding millet to the diet will reduce obesity and high cholesterol in the blood. It is also gluten-free and since millet is rich in fiber, it prevents the feeling of hunger, and thus helps to lose weight because it is low in calories.
2- It reduces the risk of cancer
Millet contains fiber and phytonutrients that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and this property can help heal damaged DNA if exposed to toxin. It is believed that the phytonutrient property of millet can reduce the risk of colon cancer. Phytonutrients also help reduce the risk of menopausal symptoms, osteoporosis and breast cancer.
3 - Prevents celiac disease
People suffering from celiac disease (an autoimmune digestive disorder that damages the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing nutrients) can consume millet without worry because millet is gluten-free.
4- It regulates the level of sugar in the blood
Millet is low in carbohydrates and thus helps regulate blood sugar level. And due to its high fiber content, in addition to its low glycemic index. It is useful in managing diabetes.
You may be interested in: 12 of the best low-carb cereals for a healthy diet
5- Protecting the heart
Millet is rich in antioxidants such as beta-glucans, flavonoids, anthocyanidins , tannins, lignans, and policosanols. These antioxidants help lower the level of cholesterol in the blood. Therefore, it protects blood vessels from clots and thus, reduces the risk of heart disease. It is also believed that millet can increase the level of good cholesterol.
6- Promotes digestion
The presence of fiber in millet makes it a suitable food for promoting digestion. It also helps to get rid of some diseases of the digestive system such as constipation, flatulence and cramping, and in general it regulates the function of bowel movement and improves digestion.
7 – Reduces muscle deterioration
Millet contains the amino acid lysine, which is responsible for structuring skin tissue. Thus, consumption of millet reduces muscle deterioration and makes the skin more elastic and thus reduces wrinkles.
8- Sleep well
Millet contains the amino acid tryptophan, which increases the level of serotonin in the body. And serotonin helps reduce stress and insomnia. Thus, eating millet regularly can help you sleep well.
9 - Relieves menstrual cramps
Millet has a property that reduces menstrual cramps, because it is rich in magnesium, and thus helps to relax the muscles of the uterus during the menstrual cycle.
10- Boosting immunity
The antioxidant properties present in millet help fight diseases. It also improves the functioning of the body's general immune system. Thus reducing free radicals in the human body, which helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases and aging.
11 - Support kidney function
Millet is rich in potassium, a mineral that supports kidney and heart health and function. It also plays a role in the transmission of nerve signals, which is the way the brain and muscles communicate.
12 - Managing interactions in the body
Millet is rich in niacin, thus helping the body manage more than 400 enzyme reactions. Niacin is also important for healthy skin and organ function. In fact, it is an important compound often added to processed foods to enrich them.
13- Support eye health
Millet, especially the darker varieties, is an excellent source of beta-carotene. This natural pigment acts as an antioxidant and a precursor to vitamin A, helping the body fight free radicals and supporting eye health.
What are the types of millet grains?
Here are 10 different types of millet that are consumed around the world:
1- Finger millet
Finger Millet is popularly known as Ragi. It is usually consumed by those on a weight loss diet as a healthy alternative to rice or wheat. Because it is a kind of gluten-free millet, rich in proteins and amino acids. In children's developmental stage, finger millet is intended to facilitate brain development. It is also high in calcium and contains healthy concentrations of iron and other minerals.
2- Fox smoke
Fox millet is usually available in semolina or rice flour. Because it is rich in carbohydrates that help balance blood sugar levels in the body. This millet contains a high percentage of iron. It can also improve general immunity.
3- Sorghum millet
This is another popular type of millet in India for making rotis and other breads. It is known locally as Jowar. Organic millet is a rich source of iron, protein, and fiber, and due to the presence of policosanol it can help lower cholesterol levels. It can also be consumed by people with wheat allergy. It also contains more antioxidants than blueberries and pomegranates and is richer in calories and macronutrients. It also helps increase metabolism.
4- Pearl millet
Pearl millet or bajra is one of the most popular types of millet, prepared in various ways, including roti and khichdi, with many health benefits, as it contains iron, fiber, protein, and minerals such as magnesium and calcium. It has a role in helping to fight type 2 diabetes.
5. Buckwheat millet (koto)
It is one of the most common types of millet, and it is suitable for diabetics and helps lower blood pressure. It is beneficial for cardiovascular health, and if you want to lose weight, it must be included in the diet. Buckwheat millet also protects against breast cancer, asthma in children, and gallstones.
6 - Amaranth millet
This type of millet is rich in proteins and dietary fibre. It's great for a healthy diet. It helps combat gray hair and hair loss, and also lowers cholesterol levels and the risk of cardiovascular disease. It is also high in calcium and other vitamins and minerals.
7 - Little millet
Little Millet is one of the main types in the list of millet grains, rich in vitamin B and essential minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc and potassium. Little Millet is largely used in the states of South India in many traditional dishes. It is a healthy alternative to rice and does not cause weight gain.
8 - Barnyard Millet
Barnyard Millet is a popular millet grain known as Sanwa. It is rich in high amounts of dietary fiber that helps improve bowel movement and aids weight loss. It is also rich in calcium and phosphorous, which help increase bone density.
9- Broomcorn millet
Broomcorn helps balance blood sugar levels because it has a low glycemic index. It is a good choice for diabetics to be incorporated into their daily diet.
10. Kodon Millet
It is a digestible alternative that contains higher amounts of the amino acid lecithin, which has a significant effect on strengthening the nervous system. Kudu millet is a great source of B vitamins, especially niacin and B6, and folic acid, among other vitamins and minerals.
It contains the minerals calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Being a gluten-free millet, it is great for individuals who are gluten intolerant. For the relief of cardiovascular disorders such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels when taken regularly by postmenopausal women.
How to prepare millet cereal
Millet grains are used in making bread and beer, and can also be used with other grains and prepare many other dishes. Even today, millet is considered a staple food all over the world. Millet is gaining renewed popularity due to its versatility and ease of growth. Millet can also be obtained by buying it dried or puffed like rice, or ground like wheat flour.
Dried millet can be cooked like couscous or quinoa. Millet is a great substitute for whole wheat flour or an addition to baked goods. Puffed millet can be eaten as a substitute for puffed rice, and it can also be used as a snack.
Ways to incorporate millet into the diet
Millet in any form can be a healthy addition to most diets. Try these suggestions:
Replace millet with rice in pilaf (in Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia in particular, pilaf is called Bukhari rice).
Try millet bread with ground millet.
Mix the ground millet with the pancakes batch.
Snack on puffed millet as a substitute for popcorn.
Cook millet as a substitute for couscous.
Since millet helps in improving digestion, it is recommended to eat it in small amounts on a daily basis. You can incorporate millet grains into your salad, which is one of the best ways to eat them.
Millet is a small grain that can be used as a toasted snack during tea time. You can simply roast a handful of millet grains and sprinkle some salt and pepper on them.
Millet can be included in breakfast by adding it to sandwiches with other vegetables.
In general, an adult should consume 30-40 grams of millet per day. And make sure that the amount of millet he consumes does not exceed the recommended level. Make sure to stay hydrated all the time while burning millet because the fiber absorbs excess water from the body and can make the body dry from the inside.
What are the side effects of eating millet?
Safe and moderate consumption is important to avoid side effects caused by excessive consumption of millet. Although millet is rich in health benefits, it causes certain side effects in the body. Consuming millet in large amounts can lead to the following side effects.
Millet is rich in oxalate, which can develop into kidney stones. The correct cooking technique must be followed to avoid this problem.
Phytic Acid in Millet Millet contains some catalyst inhibitors and phytic acid. Where phytic acid acts as a stabilizer that binds important minerals and does not allow the body to benefit from the supplements and minerals. That is, impairs the absorption of nutrients.
Fiber can harm the stomach and cause swelling and malabsorption.
Excessive consumption of millet may lead to iron deficiency.
The presence of Goitrogens in millet are substances that stifle the functioning of the thyroid gland, or may stimulate its enlargement, and prevent the absorption of iodine that causes the thyroid gland. Studies have shown that individuals who only consume millet as a staple food can suffer from either thyroid or kidney stones. To avoid such situations, it is highly recommended to include other grains in the daily diet.
Consuming millet daily and in large doses can lead to iodine deficiency and, consequently, serious health problems such as anxiety, enlarged glands, thyroid gland and kidney stones.
Switching the entire diet to millet grains is not a good idea, although these grains require less water for cultivation, they cannot completely replace rice or wheat, and it is advised not to rely on a specific type of grain, only whole wheat is excluded . That is, different types of grains should be included in the diet depending on health, in order to eat a balanced diet.
Questions and answers
1- Millet contains the highest percentage of fiber?
Numerous studies have recorded that kudu millet and young millet contain 37% to 38% of dietary fiber, the highest among cereals.
2- Is millet the closest relative to rice?
Millet is the closest relative to rice. It is commonly used as a substitute for rice all over the world
3- Which type of millet is good for diabetes?
It has been observed that foxtail millet is suitable for people with type 2 diabetes. It is high in iron and helps in regulating blood sugar levels. It is best to swap rice for millet for best results.
4- What happens if we eat millet daily?
There are countless health benefits of millet. Regular consumption of millet is beneficial for postmenopausal women who suffer from signs of heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It helps women to combat the formation of gallstones because it is rich in fiber.
5- What are the benefits of millet for hair?
Millet grains have the ability to give hair a strong boost of shine, thanks to the omega-6 fats they contain and meliacin.
6 - Is millet poisonous?
Millet is a small, fast-growing summer grass used for hay, pasture, and silage. Because millet does not produce this toxic compound, it can be a safe alternative to pasture-ground Sudangrass. Foxtail millet is primarily used as a fodder crop for silage or hay.
7 - Is millet hard to digest?
Millet is a non-sticky and non-acidic food, which makes it easy to digest when consumed in the right amount.
8 - The benefits of millet for bones
Finger millet contains the highest percentage of calcium, at about 364 mg per 100 grams. It also contains 3 times more calcium than milk. Calcium is necessary to maintain strong bones and teeth. It is good for growing children as well as for the elderly who may be at risk of developing osteoporosis.
9- How many times a day can we eat millet?
According to the National Institute of Nutrition ICMR , one should consume around 270 grams of grains including dietary grains (millet). Therefore, if you are eating millet grains, you can eat about a third of the recommended amount of 90-100g per day.
10 - Does millet cause gas?
Eating too many millet grains can cause stomach pain, bloating, and constipation.
11 - What are the benefits of millet for the uterus?
Millet prevents the risk of uterine fibroids.
12 - Does millet contain prussic acid?
Pearl millet and foxtail millet contain very low levels of cyanogenic glucosides.
13- Which millet is the healthiest?
Millet grains such as sorghum (Juwar), pearl millet (Bajra), foxtail millet (Kangni), finger millet (Ragi), barnyard millet, kudu millet and small millet Proso millet are among the healthiest millet available.
14 - Does millet generate body heat?
Fox millet generates heat, so it must be eaten with milk. To ensure good absorption of nutrients.
15- Which millet is the best?
Top ten types of traditional millet with their health benefits
Pearl millet, good for insomnia, kudu millet: good for diabetics, millet good for thyroid. Sorghum millet: improves digestive health and prevents cancer. Barnyard Millet: Good for weight loss. Small millet grains: they contain good fats that cannot be dispensed with.
16- What are the benefits of millet flour for pregnant women and women who are trying to conceive?
Benefits for pregnant women
Millet is a nutrient-dense cereal for pregnant women because it:
It is rich in iron, protein, antioxidants, dietary fibre, calcium, magnesium, potassium and folate – all of these nutrients that the body needs during pregnancy.
Its high iron content improves hemoglobin levels.
Dietary fiber prevents constipation and helps lower blood sugar levels in gestational diabetes.
Calcium and folate help in the development of the fetus. Magnesium and potassium manage blood pressure.
Women who are trying to conceive
These pills can help. The science behind it is a cereal high in complex carbohydrates and low in refined carbohydrates that prevents increased insulin resistance and keeps ovulation at bay. Women suffering from PCOD should also add these pills in their daily diet. It helps reduce visceral fat and regulates the menstrual cycle
In the end…
Including millet grains in the diet is one of the good decisions that can be taken, because it has multiple health benefits and provides the body with the energy it needs throughout the day. You can also choose between different types of millet grains and get healthy and delicious recipes full of essential nutrients, each with its unique taste and health benefits. Millet, like other grains, such as wheat or corn, is high in calories, so it should be eaten in moderation to help maintain a healthy weight.