Millets – The Desi Superfoodhungrezi_admin
Superfoods being the health fad that’s making rounds for quite a while now, many of us are under the misconception that the extremely healthy and nutritional foods of the world come from other parts of the world, the famous oats, for example. That is far from the truth. Our nation is the birthplace of several superfoods and one such star is the humble millet.
The resounding comeback
The heroes of the typical Indian kitchen in the 40s and 50s, millets disappeared from the scene in the 60s, with the beginning of the Green Revolution. Polished rice and refined wheat flour took centre stage as the staple food, pushing millets into the refuge of health food stores. Not anymore. These tiny grains are making a comeback into Indian kitchens and as far as we’re concerned, it’s high time.
Thanks to the World Wide Web, the awareness about traditional grains among the Indian urban population has increased off late, leading to several organic stores all over the country stocking up on these desi superfoods. With diabetes, cancer and heart ailments on the rise, the return towards healthy, traditional ingredients is understandable, and welcomed by doctors and nutritionists.
Over 500 varieties
Millets are basically varieties of grain that are over 500 in number, under the main types. Known for their climate-resistant ability, millets can be grown without water, pesticides or fertilizers, and can withstand extreme temperatures and even drought.
Based on the time of year they’re cultivated, millets can be broadly classified into summer and winter millets. Summer millets include sorghum or jowar, little millet, barley, etc, while winter millets include finger millet or ragi, pearl millet or bajra, etc.
Packed with nutrition
Millets might look tiny and unassuming, but they are packed with healthy nutrition, much more than rice or wheat. One cup of cooked millet has about 207 calories, 6 gms of protein, 2 grams of dietary fibre, and less than 2 grams of fat. It has high amounts of minerals like calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and selenium, as well as essential vitamins like riboflavin, folate, pantothenic acid, niacin, and Vitamins B6, C, E, and K. Adding to this, millets are completely gluten-free, making it the perfect choice for those with gluten-intolerance.
Amazing health benefits
Millets owe most of their health benefits to their high fibre content. It regulates digestive processes and aids in nutrient retention. While reducing the risk of several gastrointestinal ailments. It also cleans up toxins from the body, due to the high content of phenols and antioxidants. Apart from this, millets helps in preventing cardiac diseases, controls cholesterol, helps prevent diabetes, and helps a great deal with symptoms of asthma.
The vast number of variants, each with its own unique tastes, make millets one of the versatile staple grains out there that can be eaten in myriad ways. Pretty much any dish made with rice or wheat, can be made with millet, with just a few alterations to the procedure. Powdered millets can be incorporated into health drinks and can also be made into our favourite snacks for some quick, tasty nutrition.
No matter how we include them in our diet, millets are a great source of nutrition, and help us move closer to a healthier lifestyle, free of the common ailments that are prevalent today.