Millets – The Forgotten Foods (True Grains of Nutrition)

All of us understand that today foods tainted with chemicals is causing us all the trouble….so what to eat?

Most of the meals consumed worldwide contain rice, wheat, meat. The fiber content in these meals is nearly ZERO as most of the food is “refined” and/or “processed” in one way or other, even whole flour based items in your meal would have been processed or cooked to such an extent that it loses all the benefits of being “whole”, same is case with other “healthy” ingredients in your meal,contributing to issues like blood thickening as all of it converts to sugars rapidly and builds up in blood. So the carbohydrates that we consume should also contain fiber.

Possibly most of us heard this before and understand this correlation, but the real issue is with reading the food labels wrong, and as a result missing the vital fiber in our food. Here comes the importance of grains, and to be more specific right type of grains – called Millets.

What are Millets?

Millet Crop

Grains can be categorised as Positive, Neutral and Negative grains. Out of these, first two categories of grains i.e positive and neutral grains are called Millets.

SIRI DHANYA Millets

Positive Millet Grains are also called ‘SIRI DHANYA Millets’.  and here is the list of positive millet grains along with approx. fiber it contains –

  1. Foxtail Millet (8% Fiber)
  2. Kodo Millet (9% Fiber)
  3. Small Millet (9.8% Fiber)
  4. Barnyard Millet (10% Fiber)
  5. Brown Top Millet (12.5% Fiber)

Nutritional Value of Millets

The Fiber content in  ‘Siri dhanya Millets’ is 8 to 12.5%. High fiber allows these foods to release Glucose slowly over 6 to 9 hours duration. Slow and steady release in small quantities in to our blood stream is the key as this keeps you charged/energized all the day. These millets also contain good amounts of Proteins, Minerals, Calcium, Phosphorous, Potassium, Iron, Magnesium, Zinc, Manganese and Vitamins like Riboflavin, Thiamin and Niacin and essential amino and fatty acids as well as vitamin E (that’s lot rolled into one – is n’t it ?)

Compared to these 5 Siri Dhanya Millets; our more regular grain Rice (polished or unpolished) has just 0.2% fiber. Wheat also has very less fiber. The hybrid wheat has only 0.2% fiber. Local wheat variants in India (Raichur, Bijapur, Northern Karnataka) have 1.2% fiber. Siri Dhanya millets are wonderful carbs providing grains with ‘in-built high fiber’.

Neutral Millet Grains have less fiber (2-4%)than Positive Millet Grains, but still more than rice and wheat. Few of the Neutral Millet Grains are Finger Millet(Raagi/Ragi), Pearl Millet(Bajra), Proso Millet(Baragu), Great Millet (White Jowar),  Sorghum (Jowar), and Corn.

SIRI DHANYA millets’ – cure for various diseases

These millets are highly effective in controlling Diabetes, Rheumatism, Thyroid Problems, Pancreas, Brain, Liver & Spleen related diseases, various poisonous fevers, Gangrene, Convulsions/Fits, Asthma, Male & Female Reproductive System related problems etc.

Siri Dhanya Millets release glucose into our blood stream across a longer duration (5 to 9 hours or more) due to high fibre content. The best part is that these crops do not need pesticide or fertiliser so they come in more natural or organic form than others, so comes with added benefits for ailments like hypertension, diabetes, acidity, constipation and so on. Siri Dhanya Millets are great for all- kids or adults, males or females.

These millets help reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes so if diabetic patients introduce these millets in their meals instead of wheat, rice (and also stop eating bakery products, meat, sugar and go for regular walk daily), within couple of weeks they can find the excellent positive results. Millet is rich in magnesium Magnesium in millets can help reduce migraines and heart attacks.

Other benefits –

  1. The research shows that fiber is the simplest way to prevent the outbreak of breast cancer in women. The women that consume Millet, their risk of getting breast cancer were reduced by 50%.
  2. Proso millet is rich in antioxidants which help to eradicate the free radicals from the body. Free radicals are produced in the body which damages the cells and fatigue. These results in wrinkles, loss of complexion, etc. The daily intake of Proso millet slows down the ageing process.
  3. Millet is an excellent source of calcium which assist in the maintenance and growth of bones. Phosphorus in Millets helps with fat metabolism, body tissue repair and creating energy.
  4. The foods rich in fiber help to enhance the gastrointestinal health and eradicate the ailments such as poor digestion, constipation, cramping and bloating. The regulation of digestion process helps to promote the retention of nutrients and lowers the chances of gastrointestinal problems such as colon cancer and gastric ulcers.
  5. The Foxtail Millet has 0.6 mg of Thiamine. It helps in curing epilepsy.

How to introduce Siri Dhanya millets in our daily diet?

Siri Dhanya millets, when cooked give ‘Rice’ like feel and appearance. Soak grains of these millets in water for 30-40 minutes before cooking. It is better to take one millet per meal, and avoid mixing multiple grains.

Millet Bajra Parantha
(image credits: navdanya.org)

You can make Upma, Poha, Idli, Dosa, Chapati and many other regular dishes from these millets just like you would do with rice and wheat.

(image credits: navdanya.org)
FoxtailMilletPulao
Foxtail Millet Pulao

Keep checking my blog for Delicious Millet Recipes…as I plan to add many recipes to the Wholesome Recipes list soon.
(with inputs from the research of Dr Khader)