Millet is a low-maintenance and drought-resistance grain. People often use it to feed livestock, but consumer interest is growing. This grain provides various health benefits and has multiple uses in cooking. Millets are a group of highly variable small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains for fodder and human food. Millets are powerhouses of nutrients. They are important crops in the semiarid tropics of Asia and Africa (especially in India, Mali, Nigeria, and Niger) with 97% of millet production in developing countries. This crop is favored due to its productivity and short growing season under dry,high-temperature conditions
Millets have reclaimed their space in the kitchen of those more health-conscious. Millets boost your weight loss, besides being gluten-free. Millet is rich in dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble. The insoluble fiber in millet is known as a “prebiotic,” which means it supports good bacteria in your digestive system. This type of fiber is also important for adding bulk to stools, which helps keep you regular and reduces your risk of colon cancer.
Millets are a powerhouse of nutrients. They have reclaimed their space in the kitchen of those more health-conscious. Millets boost your health and improve weight loss, besides being gluten-free. Speak to any fitness enthusiast, and they will vouch for the miraculous benefits of eating millet.
It is very low in calories but is extremely rich in magnesium, fiber, bioactive compounds, and other important minerals and vitamins. Millets are a vital part of a well-balanced diet and moderate consumption of this whole grain is linked with effective weight loss. The best thing about millet is that it is a naturally gluten-free source and has incredible benefits- weight loss, fighting diabetes, and reducing high blood pressure. With strict working schedules and deadlines, people do not find adequate time to hit the gym, and therefore, they look for healthier food options to reduce their calorie counts.
How do millets aid in weight loss?
Before discussing the best millet for weight loss and its nutrient contents, it’s important to know how millets help in losing weight. Consuming whole grain cereals daily can help in weight loss because of their higher presence of bioactive compounds and fiber. Millets, if consumed in moderation can effectively help in losing weight. Besides this, you can have this instead of rice and other refined food products like white flour.
Millets have high antioxidant particles that help in flushing out harmful radicals from the body. It has antioxidant components like quercetin, curcumin, ellagic acid, and other useful catechins. These help in eliminating toxins and neutralizing enzymes. It prevents health issues.
Helpful in Digestion
- Along with being highly nutritious, millet has a good amount of fiber
- stored. It helps in digestion and prevents constipation, bloating, and acidity. It helps in avoiding digestive issues and prevents gastrointestinal cancer and kidney/liver complaints.
Reduction in Cardiovascular Risks
Cultivation of Millets
- The millets are considered to have been cultivated in India from pre-historic times. Their importance as an article of human food can be realized from the fact that about 30 million acres in India fall under millets.
- Proso millet is grown as a grain crop for human food and is adapted to regions where spring-sown small grains are successful. A short-season crop often requires only 60-75 days from seeding to maturity and is generally grown as a late-seeded, short-season summer catch crop.
Favorable climate to grow millet
A warm climate is required to grow the Millet. They are normally planted from mid-June to mid-July month. A warm, temperate climate is essential for the sprouting and germination of the millet seeds to keep the soil temperature cozy since they are susceptible to damage by cold weather and frosts. The sustainable temperature for millet growth is 20-30 degrees Celsius.
Soil Required for Millets:-
Millet has wide adaptability to different soil from very poor to very fertile and can tolerate a certain degree of alkalinity. The best soils are alluvial, loamy, and sandy soil with good drainage. Kodo millet can be grown in gravelly and stony soil such as in the hilly region.
GERMINATION PERIOD OF SEEDS
Types of Millets
Millets come in different shapes and sizes. The two broad categories discussed above contain numerous kinds of millets. We will take a look at some of these different types below:
1. Foxtail Millet
Foxtail millet, or indigenously called Kakum/Kangni.
Foxtail millet like other millets is a powerhouse of nutrition. Rich in Vitamin B12, these tiny seeds can offer you a daily dose of ample protein, good fat, carbs, and amazing dietary fiber content. Besides copious amounts of lysine, thiamine, iron, and niacin, it also offers copious amounts of calcium.
Foxtail Millet in Ayurveda:
Millets are known as Trinadhanya or Kudhanya in Ayurveda. Ancient Ayurvedic texts like Mahodadhi written by Sushena in the 14th century describe Foxtail millets as sweet and astringent to taste, which increases Vata dosha but balances doshas related to pitta, Kapha, and blood tissues. Millets need to be cooked well for deriving full benefits, however, this particular millet should never be mixed with milk, as it may cause severe indigestion.
Health Benefits of Foxtail Millet:
Foxtail millets are an excellent source of iron and calcium which play a pivotal role in maintaining the health of bones and muscles. Iron deficiency can cause various health conditions including weaker muscles, anemia, and frequent muscle spasms.
Strengthens Nervous System:
Nutritionists strongly recommend the
ake of the Foxtail millet for keeping various neurological disorders at a bay. Loaded with Vitamin B1, this tiny gluten-free cereal gives your 0.59 mg of it, in every cooked 100 grams.
Boosts Cardiac Health:
Millets are in general popular for maintaining good heart health. Being gluten-free, rich in protein, and less on carbs these amazing wonders of nature aid in the formation of neurotransmitter acetylcholine that transfers messages between muscle and nerves besides protecting the heart functions. Eat it daily to protect the heart from various ailments.
2. Finger Millet/Ragi:-
The vitamins, minerals, and fiber found in finger millet can provide important health benefits. The potassium found in finger millet can help keep your kidneys and heart functioning properly. Potassium also helps your nerves transmit signals, which allows your brain and your muscles to work together smoothly.
Finger millet has a low glycemic index. That means that it has lower levels of simple sugars and higher levels of complex carbohydrates, which take a longer time to digest. Foods with a low glycemic index can help prevent your blood glucose level from spiking after a meal. As a result, eating millet — instead of high glycemic index foods like white wheat flour — can help people living with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels.
3. Pearl Millet/Bajra:-
Pearl millet has multiple uses in the dryland regions where cultivation of other crops is limited. Pearl millet grain is suitable as poultry feed and can significantly bring down the cost of the feed. Several research studies have proved that pearl millet can be substituted for corn in feed formulations.
Pearl Millet also offers dry-season forage. Some dual-purpose varieties can provide both grain and high-quality forage. Some hybrids of Napier grass and pearl millet is a perennial forage crop
Consists of complex carbs, bajra helps in weight loss
Bajra is a rich source of insoluble fiber
It is good for heart patients to add bajra to their diet.
Benefits Of Bajra:
1. Weight Management: Consists of complex carbs, bajra is absorbed slowly from our digestive tract, leading to greater satiety while ensuring a continuous flow of energy. This helps prevent overeating and in-between meal bingeing.
2. Gluten Free: The protein content in bajra is gluten-free, making it a good change from the gluten-heavy daily meals we consume.
4. Buckwheat:- Buckwheat is rich in fiber. Fiber allows for regular bowel movements and reduces the potential for experiencing symptoms such as constipation. A diet high in fiber is sure to protect your digestive health. Buckwheat can play a valuable role in controlling blood sugar levels.
Buckwheat is a good source of fiber. Dietary fiber helps improve blood cholesterol levels, which, in turn, reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and obesity.
Buckwheat is rich in fiber. Dietary fiber is a type of plant-based carbohydrate that the body cannot break down during digestion.
Fiber supports the intestines in digesting food efficiently and helps food move through the digestive tract. It may also have other benefits, such as encouraging weight loss and preventing cardiovascular disease.
5. KODO MILLET
Health Benefits of Kodo millet
Kodo millet is a good substitute for rice or wheat. Protein, fiber, and mineral content are much higher than the major cereals like rice. It can be cooked just like rice or ground into flour. It provides balanced nutrition, unlike polished white rice. Listed below are some of the popular health benefits of Kodo Millet
Kodo millet intake is found to reduce fasting blood glucose levels and promotes a significant increase in serum insulin levels. Anti-diabetic compounds in Kodo are quercetin, ferulic acid, p-hydroxybenzoic acid, vanillic acid, and syringic acid. Thus regular use is recommended for diabetic patients.
Government Measures to Increase Millet Production
Despite numerous qualities, utilization of millets as food is confined to the traditional consumers i.e. tribal populations. This is mainly because of the non-availability of consumer-friendly ready-to-eat millet-based products.
Recently, millets have gained attention and efforts are underway to obtain their convenient and value-added processed products. Since many households in dry land and hilly regions depend on millets to meet their food needs, It has now been proposed to enlarge the food basket and include millets like jowar, bajra, ragi, etc in the Public Distribution System.
The government has recognized the role of millet in the food chain. Under the National Food Security Mission – NFSM of the preliminary targets for enhancing food grain production by an additional 25 Million Tonnes, the share allocated for millets is 2 Million Tonnes i.e. 8% of the enhanced food grain production.
The Indian policymakers refocused their attention on millet farming systems and enacted policies to create an enabling environment for the farmers. With respect to millets production, some of the existing schemes by the Government of India include:
- Integrated Cereals Development Programmes in Coarse Cereals ICDP-CC based Cropping Systems Areas under Macro Management of Agriculture -MMA.
- Initiative for Nutritional Security through Intensive Millet Promotion – INSIMP a part of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana” – RKVY which is the only comprehensive initiative to support millet production.
- Rainfed Area Development Programme – RADP: a component of the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana – RKVY
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