With the advent of the green revolution, the once staple food of Indians was sidelined and completely replaced by rice, wheat, and refined flours. Now millets are being revolutionized and have come back with a bang with many more variants and better palatability suitable for all tastes and age groups.
Re-emergence of this superfood is mainly due to the growing awareness of the myriad health benefits it provides. They are the most versatile, easy to cook food and easily digestible food grain.
The need to swap foods with refined carbs like white rice for healthier alternatives like millets:
Polished white rice is made by removing the germ and inner husk and the white grain that is left is polished with glucose and talc. The reason why white rice lacks many vital nutrients. It also has a higher glycemic index and as a result, the carbs in white rice are turned into blood sugar more rapidly. Regular consumption of white rice is attributed to a higher risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome(obesity, high blood pressure, and cholesterol). Several studies have shown that adults who consume whole grains are at a lower risk of developing heart disease than adults who consume polished and refined carbs.
Why are millets important:
- Nutritional powerhouse: According to nutritionists, they are loaded with antioxidants and are a good source of fiber and protein. They are also packed with iron, copper, manganese, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, B complex vitamins,anti-oxidants. Millets can supersede rice and wheat in terms of nutrition and they are also gluten-free making it an ideal choice for people with gluten intolerance. Millets are a boon to mankind as it is beneficial in the management of most of the lifestyle diseases which stem from obesity and metabolic issues. These grains are fighters and can even grow in harsh environments and are non-GMO and pesticide-free.
International crop research institute for semi –an arid-tropics claim that bajra contains the highest folic acid among cereals and ragi contain three times the calcium content of milk.
- Myriad health benefits: They ensure glycemic control and benefit diabetics. Most nutritionists and doctors recommend millets as a part of the therapeutic diet and have recorded their health benefits in the management of diabetes, hyperlipidemia, malnutrition, anemia. Millets improve metabolism and keep you energized for longer duration making it beneficial for people suffering from hypothyroidism and PCOD. They improve the functioning of the cardiovascular system and the nervous system by improving blood circulation and reducing LDL levels. Millets also strengthen the bone and prevent osteoporosis. They fight free radical damage and boost immunity. Millets are also a boon for weight watchers as it contains healthy carbs, fiber-rich and low in glucose. It keeps you satiated for a longer time. Millets help to ward off constipation eases bowel movements and make it beneficial for maintaining gut health.
Ways to incorporate millets in your diet:
Your recipes will taste better if you choose organic millets that are nutrient-rich and devoid of pesticides!
- Swap the traditional south Indian breakfast recipe –Rava upma’ with foxtail millet upma or little millet upma. The traditional idli and dosa can be substituted with ragi idli and multi-grain millet dosa.
- Healthy millet pizzas- Ditch the unhealthy maida for the pizza base and instead use kodo or foxtail millet flour.
- Easy millet porridges- all you need to do is, toast the millets, boil them and add fresh fruits to enjoy the porridge.
- Healthy appetizers like baked millet fries
- Millet parathas or millet rotis and millet rice(foxtail millet,little millet,kodo millet)
- Millet pancakes –Not only are they delicious but also highly nutritious at the same time. It is an ideal recipe for the fussy little eaters!