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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Millets in Meals

The practice of consuming millets as part of the daily diet is not new to India. They are the Store House of Nutrition. These lucky grains were sent down to us from our ancestors. Millets had been the major staple food in central India, southern India and hilly regions for centuries till the time of the Green Revolution. 

After the advent of high-yielding varieties of rice and wheat during the 1970s, millets got sidelined from our food basket. The reason for this is lack of awareness about the nutritional benefits, along with the tag of 'A poor man’s food'. Also, government pushed only rice and wheat in the subsidized public distribution system, rendering the cultivation of millets uneconomical.
Consequently, this resulted in high consumption of polished rice and refined wheat flour, which happen to be the main ingredients of foods consumed by the urban population. This trend, coupled with sedentary lifestyles, has led to a rise in obesity and other lifestyle diseases like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, across age groups.

 A study published in The New England Journal Of Medicine says India has the world’s highest number of obese children (14.4 million) after China (15.3 million). 

Child Obesity on the rise in India
Children learn from their parents. If we eat healthy, they will also learn to eat healthy. Millets were part of our grandparents’ diet, it’s only in the past few decades that their consumption has reduced and consumption of junk food has increased
We need to embrace the goodness of millets. Parents need to understand the nutrition that their children need for their growth and development.

Millets are gluten free, anti-acidic and anti-allergic grains which are rich in fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals, iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorous. Millets include Jowar, Ragi, Bajra, Nachani, Varai etc

Their high-fibre content helps in bowel movement and manages diabetes and obesity. Their high magnesium level is good for lowering blood sugar levels., while the potassium content keeps hypertension at bay,
Research validates the goodness of millets. In 2010,  a research paper published in the Journal Of Agricultural And Food Chemistry confirmed that all millets are rich sources of antioxidants, while another study in Nutrition Research concluded that millets may be useful in preventing cardiovascular disease as they are rich in phytonutrients like lignans.
Another advantage of Millets is its role in losing weight. Millets are complex carbs with high fibre content, which delays gastric emptying leading to a sense of fullness and therefore reduces hunger,

“In the hope of becoming fit, we start consuming whatever ‘superfood’ is trending in the West (wheatgrass, cranberries,  noodles, broccoli , to name a few), ready to spend a bomb, and indifferent to the goodness of our own food
The right cooking technique and a good recipe can lift any ingredient, says Arun Sundararaj, executive chef at The Taj Mahal Hotel in Delhi. “It is easy to include millets in the diet as they are very versatile. We can have millet pancakes for breakfast, millets can be prepared like rice, substituted for potatoes when cooked with gravy, and even make a great addition to bread. Millets also make a great bed for roasted vegetables and stews," he says.

The key to eating right lies in food diversity, not becoming a victim of a food fad.

 Comparison Between Millets and Big Cereals

Nutritional Components Comparison Between Millets and Big Cereals
All values are per 100grams of Edible Portion
NameProximate PrinciplesVitamin-BMinerals

  • Explanation of the above Table: 
  • 1) Each one of the millet has more fibre than rice and wheat.
  • 2) Every millet has atleast twice the amount of Calcium compared to rice.
  • 3) Iron content is so rich that rice is nowhere in the race.
  • 4) All millet varieties show high antioxident activity.
  • 5) Millets which is a rich source of Magnesium)can help reduced effects of migraines and heart attacks.
  • 6) Millet is Gluten free and non-allergenic...must food for sensitive individuials.
  • 7) Millet is a Miracle Grain with lots of fibre and low simple sugars.

Protein helps build muscles, cell regeneration, and induce a feeling of satiety- which can further help in your weight reduction diet. If you are looking to lose weight, add jowar instead of wheat in your diet and see it work wonders on your health and weight.
Jowar has a low glycemic index (62) compared to whole wheat (72).
Therefore Jowar is among the healthiest choices you can make for your daily carbohydrate intake.

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