Diet and Nutrition

What Is Millet?

What Is Millet?

Millet: The cereal crop

Millet is a group of highly variable and small-seeded grasses, which is grown widely across the world. It's known as a cereal crop, or as grains that's used for food. Millet is one of the most important crops in the dry or semi-arid regions of Asia and Africa, mainly India and Nigeria. One reason why millet is favored over other crops, is because it can be grown quickly during the short growing season or when the temperature is high. There are various types of millet, however, pearl millet is grown the most. It's an important crop in India, as well as certain parts of Africa. A few other important species of millet include, Proso millet, foxtail millet and finger millet.

In the semi-arid regions of Asia and Africa, millet and sorghum have been considered staples for centuries. Both of these crops have high nutritional value. They are rich sources of vitamins, protein and minerals. These crops are grown in harsh environments, where other crops would barely survive. Millet doesn't need too much water to grow, and there is no need for any type of fertilizer as well. Millet is eaten by poor or disadvantaged groups in the community. Millet and sorghum are also referred to as “poor people’s crops”.

Millet is known to be a staple food in one third of the global population. A type of millet called ground millet is used for preparing flatbreads or Indian roti. In Eastern African, millet is used for the preparation of beer. Millet is also an ingredient in fermented drinks, as well as porridges, in Eastern Europe. Millet is mostly used for feeding bird or livestock in Western Europe. However, because of the popular gluten-free diet, there has been a rise of interest in millet. For those who are gluten-free, they should opt for millet because of its nutritional value, fiber, manganese, magnesium, B Vitamins, and phosphorus. It's also very similar to alkaline, which makes it easy to digest and help soothe the stomach.