Although millet is most often associated as the main ingredient in bird seed, it is not just "for the birds." Creamy like mashed potatoes or fluffy like rice, millet is a delicious grain that can accompany many types of food. As with most grains, millet is available in markets throughout the year. Millet is tiny in size and round in shape and can be white, gray, yellow or red. Moreover, the most widely available form of millet found in stores is the hulled variety, although traditional couscous made from cracked millet can also be found. The term millet refers to a variety of grains, some of which do not belong to the same genus.
Nutritive Value of Millet Grains
Millets are rich sources of phytochemicals and micronutrients. For instance, pearl millet was found significantly rich in resistant starch, soluble and insoluble dietary fibers, minerals, and antioxidants. It contains about 92.5% dry matter, 2.1% ash, 2.8% crude fiber, 7.8% crude fat, 13.6% crude protein, and 63.2% starch. Furthermore, foxtail millet protein characterization showed that its protein concentrate is a potential functional food ingredient and the essential amino acid pattern suggests possible use as a supplementary protein source to most cereals because it is rich in lysine. Finger millet also is known to have several potential health benefits and some of the health benefits are attributed to its polyphenol contents. It has a carbohydrate content of 81.5%, protein 9.8%, crude fiber 4.3%, and mineral 2.7% that is comparable to other cereals and millets.
1. Millets Manages Sugar Level
Millets are a rich source of magnesium, which help in stimulating the level of insulin, thereby increasing the efficiency of glucose receptors in the body, which further helps in maintaining a healthy balance of sugar level in the body. This helps in reducing the chance of diabetes type 2.
2. Protects Heart Health
Researchers have shown a link between whole grains and heart disease risk. Millet is one of the best possible grains to add to your diet if you want to protect your heart. It is a rich source of magnesium, which is an important mineral for reducing blood pressure and the risk of heart attack or stroke, particularly in the case of atherosclerosis.
3. Reduces Risk of Colon Cancer
Millet contains both fibres and phytonutrients, the combination of which is believed to reduce the risk of developing colon cancer. Lignan, a phytonutrient in millet, is converted into mammalian lignan in the intestine that protects from breast cancer. It is also shocking that consumption of millet can lower the risk of developing breast cancer by 50%.
4. Millets Promote Digestion
Rich in fiber, millets make for a healthy cereal, which can help in digestion and can relieve bowel issues. It helps in gastrointestinal problems and can ease in other diseases related to the liver and kidney. It can also help in reducing the risk of colon cancer. Adding noni juice and black grapes in your daily diet can prevent cancer.
5. Controls Diabetes
The low glycemic index in millet slows down the digestion process and keeps the blood sugar level at a constant ratio. Millets increase insulin sensitivity for people suffering diabetes. It also helps to control the sugar levels for non-diabetics especially type 2 diabetes.
Given the modern stresses on our body, particularly to our glandular system, the excessive work needed to digest and process millet may be damaging. Consider speaking to your doctor about your glandular and thyroid health before making a major shift to a millet-heavy diet.