1. Health & Lifestyle

Benefits of Adding Millets to Your Diet

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

Millets are a gluten-free and drought-tolerant source of long-lasting energy. The bran and fiber in these whole grains slow down the breakdown of starch into glucose. Thus, they maintain a steady blood sugar rather than causing sharp spikes. In other words, millets are ideal for those with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. 

These grains have high levels of fiber that help lower cholesterol and move waste through the digestive tract (bulking agent). It’s high time you chose millets over white rice – because they are three to five times nutritionally superior to the latter. 

As they are versatile to cook and tasty, you don’t have to bore yourself with a millet porridge. Whip up our quick and simple recipes and enjoy with your family. Yes, the kids will love them too! 

The world has seen many health foods come and go. Some turned out to be a hoax, some did no good to the body, some increased hedonic hunger pangs, while some erased the traces of hunger. But a few are here to stay. This is where millets come into the picture – rich in essential carbs, fiber, and the more important micronutrients. Native to the eastern side of the world, millets are an age-old solution to an active body. These cereals are getting famous in many countries as a gluten-free substitute. 

Scroll down and get to know what the magic millets can do to your body! 

Five Fundamental Benefits of Adding Millets to Your Diet 

1. Ideal for Individuals Who Have Diabetes 

Compared to other cereal crops, such as wheat and maize, millets are high in nutrition, gluten-free, and have a glycemic index between 54 to 68. They provide high energy, high dietary fiber, proteins with a balanced amino acid profile, many essential minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants – all of which play a substantial role in lowering diabetes. 

Foxtail millets improve glycemic control and insulin sensitivity in such individuals. They also can reduce HbA1c antigen levels, fasting glucose, insulin, total cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL concentrations. These signs show that millets have a positive dietary impact on diabetes when supported with right medication. 

2. Help in Weight Management 

Obesity is a major cause of a variety of metabolic disorders. And diet plays a critical role in controlling obesity. Following a low-carb and high-fiber diet, along with regular physical activity, can reduce body weight to some extent. Including whole grains like millets, brown rice, whole wheat, oats, barley, sorghum, etc. can have an incredible effect on the BMI (body mass index) of obese individuals. Consuming about 3 servings of whole grains per day can also reduce fat accumulation, improve gut microbiota (good gut bacteria), and help you feel lighter and physically active.  

3. Lower Cholesterol and Protect Heart 

Pearl, finger, kodo, and other varieties of millets are all rich in micronutrients like iron, zinc, phosphorus, and calcium, and amino acids such as leucine and valine. Millets have polyphenolic acids, β-glucansflavonoidsanthocyanidins, condensed tannins, lignans, and policosanols that are potent antioxidants. They also reduce the plasma LDL levels and total cholesterol and keep the blood vessels dilated and healthy. This way, consuming millets can prevent lipid peroxidation and associated cardiovascular diseases and ischemic strokes. 

4. Healthy For Children and Pregnant Women

As millets contain fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals like calcium and iron, they can be given to children and pregnant women. Many traditional Asian and African dishes given to pregnant women prior to delivery contain millets. Kenyan women consume ugali, which is made from a mixture of sorghum and finger millet flour. It is cooked to a dough-like consistency and eaten with local vegetables, meat stew, or fermented milk.  Popped millets can be served as healthy snacks to children, especially if they are malnourished. Carbs, essential fatty acids, and calcium give children the strength and immunity they need while growing up. 

5. Could Have Anti-Cancer Effects 

Apart from antioxidant and antidiabetic effects, millets might possess anticancer effects too. Recent research points out that few millet proteins (from foxtail and proso varieties) could inhibit the growth of cancerous cells in various tissues.  Millet phytochemicals showed antiproliferative effects against cancer cells of the colon, breast, and liver without damaging the surrounding normal cells. The antioxidant phenolic acids and anthocyanidins make a promising remedy for many cancers. Further research in these areas can reveal more about the anticancer properties of millets. 

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