According to Wikipedia, “Millets are small-grained, annual, warm-weather cereals belonging to the grass family. They are highly tolerant of drought and other extreme weather conditions and have similar nutrient content to other major cereals”.
They are more often used by people of developing nations due to fewer requirements of natural resources such as water and fertile soil. Some common millet varieties that are making a resurgence with the urban crowd are pearl millet (bajra), foxtail millet (kangni), sorghum (jowar) and finger millets (ragi).
What are the benefits of millets?
- Millets are mainly gluten-free and appeal to the gluten sensitive folks as they can have without any fear of side effects like rashes or IBS.
- High fiber content and Low GI (Glycemic Index) also makes them very safe for diabetics who must watch what they eat without a spike in their sugar levels
- For instance, jowar has high calcium content vis-à-vis the same in rice or wheat, kangni is rich in fiber, iron, and copper, ragi in calcium content more than milk, bajra has more calcium, magnesium and phosphorous.
- Millets can be had as flakes in porridges with dry fruits and nuts (like Muesli), or as plain porridge with some dates and raisins in cold or hot milk, made as Upma, Poha or ground as batters and made to idlis and dosas that are very healthy even for elders, sick patients and children.
- In fact, when I partially weaned off my baby from breastmilk, the first item we introduced was ragi koozh (aka ragi porridge) with a little bit of jaggery made with extracting ragi milk. This is very popular down south with new moms who want to give the best to their babies. As ragi is packed with calcium that’s good for bone development, it is the most preferred along with cow milk when a baby is weaned from mother’s milk.
So, you know your trip to the market to get these super healthy is not far away!