In a discussion with one of our friends, we exchanged our thoughts on how diabetes rates have increased in India. India is often referred to as the ‘Diabetes Capital of the World’ as 9% of the Indian population is suffering from diabetes whereas nearly 80% of Indians are deficient in micronutrients like Calcium, Zinc and Iron.
People are suffering all of this because of the overconsumption of our staple food – Rice and Wheat daily. For this reason, we researched and came across a solution for consuming other forms of food to reduce the dependency on rice and wheat. What we had in mind were Millets.
Millet are low on the Glycaemic Index (GI), which means that millets break down slowly into sugar in the body and don’t create spikes in blood glucose and hence can be our saviours. Not just that but they are also rich in various Micro Nutrients that we are deficient in today.
But you must know that Millets are not something newly introduced crops. They have been here for ages, some research even suggests that they date back to 3,000 BCE during the Indus civilisation. And its benefits are even mentioned in ancient texts like the Yajurveda.
Before India was ruled by the British, millets were the staple crop throughout India. Later when the British arrived they wanted something profitable to them like sugarcane, Rice, Wheat and cotton and hence they started forcing the farmers to replace their Millet farms with these profit-making crops. Over the years, Wheat and Rice became Staple food for most people and hence we didn’t do anything to promote the millet even after independence.
In 2021, India requested the UN to declare 2023 as the International Year of Millets to promote these Whole grains all over the world and improve health conditions all over the world. Millets today can be termed “food medicine”.
Some of the majorly consumed types of millets are –
1. Finger Millet (Ragi)
Finger millet is a reddish-brown small grain with a nutty flavour. It is highly nutritious and is a rich source of proteins, vitamins, and minerals, particularly iron, calcium, and vitamin B. It is commonly used to make a variety of dishes like bread, porridge, and fermented drinks. In India, it is used to make a popular breakfast dish called ragi mudde, which is made by boiling the grains and then rolling them into balls. Ragi is also used as a natural food colouring agent.
2. Pearl Millet (Bajra)
Bajra is one of the most common types of millets that you must have tasted until now. Pearl millet is high in nutrients, including protein, fibre, and essential amino acids. It is also a good source of iron, zinc, and other minerals. In addition to its use as a food, it has several other uses it can be used as a cover crop to improve soil fertility and reduce erosion and it is also used as a source of biofuel and forage for livestock.
3. Sorghum Millet (Jowar)
Sorghum millet is a type of cereal grain that is native to Africa and is now grown in many parts of the world, including Asia, Europe, and North America. It is a nutritious grain that is high in protein, dietary fibre, and important minerals such as iron, zinc, and magnesium. It has more antioxidants than blueberries and pomegranates and is rich in calories and macronutrients which can help reduce inflammation and improve overall health.
4. Amaranth Millet (Rajgira)
In terms of taste and texture, amaranth millet has a nutty and sweet flavour, and it gets a slightly crunchy texture when cooked. It can be used as a substitute for rice or many other grains in a variety of dishes. It is rich in protein, dietary fibre, Calcium, vitamins, and other minerals which are great for a healthy diet. It also helps in fighting greying and hair loss and lowers cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease risk.
5. Barnyard Millet (Sanwa)
Barnyard millet is a small, round grain that is similar in size and shape to pearl millet. It is light-coloured and has a slightly sweet, nutty flavour. The grain is rich in fibre, protein, and essential nutrients such as iron, calcium, and vitamin B. It is commonly ground into flour and used to make rotis, dosas, and bread. It can also be used in soups, porridge, and other grain-based dishes. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
These are not the only millets available in the market there are other popular ones as well, but we think before you get to know even more types of millets, you should consider some facts regarding them.
Characteristics of Millets
- All Millets contain all nine essential amino acids needed by the human body.
- Dietary fiber in millets helps reduce blood pressure, prevents constipation, promotes healthy digestion, and improves bowel movement as well as immune system function.
- Millets are one of the richest sources of antioxidants found in foods.
- They are packed full of micronutrients namely Iron, Zinc, Copper, Magnesium, Prosperous, Potassium, Calcium, etc.
- They are extremely rich in folic acid, which is beneficial for pregnant women and children.
With this, our discussion takes a turn around millets and their benefits, which is to let you know that your healthy dietary needs are all just a click away. Visit our Truly Desi site and get ahead in the game of health.