Native millets has been a part of Indian diet since the ancient times. But it has been forgotten lately due to change in dietary habits that predominantly contain foods rich in sugar, salt and fat. This change has lead to various lifestyle diseases like Diabetes, Alzheimer, Cholesterol, cancer and many more.
Ancient Indians had life expectancy of more than 100 years. One main factor attributed to their prolonged health was the food habits that mostly consisted of alkaline and whole grain foods.
Like rice, wheat and corn, millet is also one of the staple foods that is an excellent source of nutrition, easily available and yet ignored largely.
Millet can be traced as far back as the Stone Age and in fact, many types of millet have even been found in Mohen-jo-daro and Harappan archaeological sites. Interestingly it was this group of cereals and not rice that was a staple in Indian, Chinese Neolithic and Korean diets.
There are about 6,000 varieties of millet throughout the world, and since they are not fussy about soil and water, they are a major source of energy and protein for more than a billion people in arid and semi-arid regions. Unlike our over-cultivated wheat-rice-corn which need a whole lot more pampering to survive.
Though every millet have different nutrition profile, all millet varieties are rich in protein, calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin B6, folic acid and niacin.
Why Include millets in diet?
- Rich in fiber, essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals
- Non glutinous
- Non acid forming
- Low glycemic index ( does not release glucose rapidly into blood system) and is ideal for people with diabetes
1. FOXTAIL MILLET
In Hindi – Kangni/Rala
In Tamil – Thinai
In Telugu – Korra
In Kannada – Navane
In Malayalam – Thina
Foxtail millet has a low glycemic index and it is an excellent substitute for rice or other grains that could increase blood sugar as energy is released slowly. Adding foxtail millet in your daily diet also guards against oxidative damage and coronary diseases. Foxtail millet for weight loss
It is rich in dietary fibre and minerals like iron and copper. Due to this, it helps to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol and keeps the immune system strong as well.
2. Finger millet (Ragi)
In Hindi – Nachani/Mundua
In Tamil – Kezhvaragu
In Telugu – Ragula
In Kannada – Ragi
In Malayalam – Panji Pullu
Ragi is one of the most popular and commonly consumed millets. Due to its nutritional value, it can be considered a good replacement for rice and wheat.
It is also a rich source of calcium and other essential minerals.Ragi is a storehouse of protein and amino acids that make it a good inclusion in porridge and even wheat flour.
Studies have suggested that Ragi has a positive effect on blood glucose level and hence, it is a great option for people with diabetes.
3. Pearl millet (Bajra)
In Hindi – Bajra
In Tamil – Kambu
In Telugu – Sajjalu
In Kannada – Sajje
In Malayalam – Kambam
A study has revealed that Pearl millet or Bajra has iron content 8 times higher than rice. Bajra is also rich in protein, fibre, and other minerals such as calcium and magnesium.Since it has good fibre content, pearl millet/Bajra will help ease constipation issues and any problems with digestion.
Because of its nutritional value, it can also make for a good lactagogue. Therefore, it induces lactation and helps in efficient milk secretion.
4. Pearl millet (Bajra)
In Hindi – Jhangora
In Tamil – Kuthiravali
In Telugu – Odalu
In Kannada – Oodalu
In Malayalam – Kavadapullu
It has a considerable amount of fibre that helps maintain satiety. Apart from this, this millet is a rich source of bone-building minerals like calcium and phosphorus. Therefore, it can be considered as an ideal replacement for rice in dosa/idli/dhokla batters.
Its good antioxidant profile helps in improving the complications of non-communicable diseases and degenerative disorders like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, etc
Therefore, it can be considered as an ideal replacement for rice in dosa/idli/dhokla batters.
5. Kodo millet
In Hindi – Koden/Kodra
In Tamil – Varagu
In Telugu – Arikelu
In Kannada – Harka
In Malayalam – Koovaragu
If you are looking for millet that closely resembles rice, then it is the Kodo millet. It is easy to digest and is rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants, all of which help prevent major lifestyle diseases. For weight loss enthusiasts, this is the millet that will assist in healthy weight loss.
Kodo millet has shown to reduce knee and joint pain and helps regularise menstrual cycle in women among others. This is attributed to high mineral content like calcium, magnesium, and iron.
6. Little Millet
In Hindi – Kutki
In Tamil – Samai
In Telugu – Sama
In Kannada – Saame
In Malayalam –Chama
The little millet may be called little but in no means its nutritional content is little. It is a rich source of B-vitamins, minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, potassium among others. Its high fibre content is yet another advantage making it an ideal replacement for rice in foods like Pongal or even kheer.
Little millet contains around 5.2 grams of fat with a good content of unsaturated fat that ensures a healthy metabolism and subsequently, a healthy weight loss.