Millet for Health: The Health Benefits of Millet

Exploring the Advantages of Eating Millet Fact:Millet is highly nutritious and is a good source of protein. Millet’s nutritional power extends to its role as an excellent source of protein. Protein is an essential component …

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Exploring the Advantages of Eating Millet

Fact:
Millet is highly nutritious and is a good source of protein.

Millet’s nutritional power extends to its role as an excellent source of protein. Protein is an essential component for the growth and repair of tissues, making it a crucial part of a balanced diet. Millet stands out among grains for its relatively high protein content, providing a valuable 

plant-based protein source for individuals, especially those following vegetarian or vegan diets. 

The health benefits of millet extend beyond its rich protein content, as it also encompasses several advantages that contribute to holistic well-being. This article will help you learn the benefits of millet and the advantages of eating millet, and understand this grain’s impressive nutritional profile and versatility as an ingredient in several dishes. 

The Origin of Millet

raw dry quinoa

Considered as an ancient grain, millets are a group of small and round grains, used both for human consumption, livestock, and bird feed. While they are now popular across the globe, their origins can be traced back to Asia and Africa. Archaeological evidence indicates its cultivation in Asia between 10,300 and 8,700 years ago, making it a prevalent crop in the region even before rice gained prominence. 

In fact, millet is believed to be one of the earliest dry crops cultivated in East Asia. An intriguing historical find adds to its significance – a 4000-year-old bowl containing noodles made from foxtail millet was unearthed by archaeologists in northwestern China in 2005

Another piece of evidence also claims Millet’s cultivation in the Korean Peninsula dates back to the Middle Jeulmun Pottery Period (around 3,500–2,000 BC). Types of millet have also been mentioned in some of the oldest Yajurveda texts in India, pre-dating to the Indian Bronze Age (4,500 BC).

No matter where millets come from, their historical record across continents paints a fascinating picture of their significance in human civilization, particularly millet advantages in our health. Whether to boost protein intake or seek alternative protein sources, millet proves to be a nutritional powerhouse, offering a delicious and sustainable solution to meet our dietary needs.

Millet for Health: Nutritional Profile of Millets

There has been a growing interest in diverse and nutrient-packed grains as people seek alternatives to refined carbohydrates. One such powerhouse gaining recognition for its impressive nutritional profile is millet.

Millets are among those grains that stand out for their relatively high protein content providing a valuable plant-based protein source for individuals, especially those following vegetarian or vegan diets. The protein in millet contains a well-balanced mix of amino acids, the building blocks of protein, making it a wholesome and complete protein source.

One cup (174 grams) of cooked millet packs from Healthline and USDA:

Calories:207
Carbs:41 grams
Fiber:2.2 grams
Protein:6 grams
Fat:1.7 grams
Phosphorus:25% of the Daily Value (DV)
Magnesium:19% of the DV
Folate:8% of the DV
Iron:6% of the DV

Amino acid profile is also greatly present in millets, serving as excellent building blocks for protein synthesis. Notably, finger millet stands out with the highest calcium content among cereal grains, delivering 13% of the daily value in just one cooked cup (100 grams).

Other nutritional benefits of millet are:

  • Sorghum (Jowar) – A significant proportion of sorghum protein consists of prolamin (kaffirin), characterized by a distinctive quality of reducing digestibility when cooked.
  • Pearl millet – The health benefits of millet include its richness in proteins (12-16%) and lipids (4-6%), along with 11.5% dietary fiber. This fiber content promotes longer gut transit time, potentially lowering the risk of inflammatory bowel diseases.
  • Foxtail millet (Kakum) – One of the benefits of millet is that it is high in carbohydrates and has double the quantity of protein content compared to rice.
  • Kodo millets (Kodon) – Kodo millet boasts high protein (11%), low fat (4.2%), and a substantial fiber content (14.3%). This is also a rich source of B vitamins (niacin, pyridoxin, and folic acid) and essential minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc.
  • Barnyard millet – Barnyard millet, also known as Sanwa, is the richest source of crude fiber and iron. Its grains contain functional elements such as Gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) and Beta-glucan, serving as antioxidants and aiding in the reduction of blood lipid levels.
  • Little millet (Kutki/Shavan) – This millet is high in iron content and antioxidant properties. This also contains about 38% of dietary fiber.
  • Proso millet (Chenna/Barri) – This type of millet contains the highest amount of proteins This also has significant amounts of carbohydrate and fatty acids.

Advantages of Eating Millet

Incorporating millet into your meals not only enhances the nutritional content but also ensures that you are fueling your body with a quality protein that supports overall health and well-being.  Let’s talk about the advantages of eating millet, and more of millet advantages and also discover why it deserves a place on your plate.

  1. Heart Health Booster

According to the National Institute of Health, heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. However, risks for heart illnesses can be prevented by practicing heart-healthy living, which involves understanding your risks, making healthy choices, and taking steps to reduce your chance of getting heart-related problems.

One of the advantages of eating millet is that it contributes to heart health by helping to lower cholesterol levels. Additionally, millet contains antioxidants that can combat oxidative stress, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Including millet in your diet can be a heart-smart choice for a healthier life.

  1. Helps in Weight Management

Millet’s high fiber content not only supports heart health but also aids in weight management. The fiber helps you feel full for longer periods, reducing the likelihood of overeating. This, coupled with its nutrient density, makes millet a valuable ally for those aiming to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

  1. Regulates Blood Sugar

Millet has a low glycemic index, meaning it has a minimal impact on blood sugar levels. This quality makes it an excellent option for individuals with diabetes or those aiming to manage their blood sugar levels. Including millet in balanced meals can contribute to more stable blood sugar levels throughout the day.

  1. Improves Digestion

Millet is easy on the digestive system, making it a suitable option for individuals with sensitive stomachs. Its light texture and the absence of gluten contribute to its digestibility, making millet a gentle yet nourishing choice for those with digestive concerns.

  1. Excellent Nutrient Source

Millet is a treasure trove of essential nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. Packed with B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus, it contributes significantly to overall well-being. These nutrients greatly help in energy production, bone health, and maintaining a robust immune system.

Summary

The advantages of eating millet are numerous, ranging from its rich nutrient profile to its gluten-free nature and versatility in kitchen masterpieces. In exploring diverse and nutritious food options, millet stands out as a grain that not only satisfies the taste buds but also nurtures the body. 

Consider incorporating millet into your meals and experience firsthand the health benefits this ancient grain has to offer. Your body will thank you for making this small yet impactful change to your diet, through the powerful health benefits of millet.