Health benefits of Millets
The upcoming year 2023 has been declared as the International Year of Millets by United Nations. Greater attention needs to be paid to these powerhouses of nature. We, at Let’sLive are working tirelessly to]increase public awareness on the health benefits of millets. So, let us start by first understanding more about this superfood in our series of articles on health benefits of Millets
What are Millets?
Millets are small, round whole grains belonging to the grass family, grown in India, Nigeria and other Asian & African countries. This crop is divided into 2 categories- Major Millets and Minor Millets.
Major Millets are the most popular or commonly cultivated varieties such as Pearl Millets, Foxtail Millets, Proso Millets, Finger millets, etc.
Minor Millets include Kodo, Barnyard, Little Millets, etc.
Health Benefits of Millets
Here's the super good news about this superfood that's making the news for all the right reasons. Millets are good for young and old alike. It is a superfood for kids as it aids in their faster growth with high nutritional density and strengthens bones due to high calcium and magnesium content. It is high in fibre, rich in antioxidants and also increases immunity. It is drought resistant and a staple in many parts of the world. Let's delve a bit deeper.
Millets are rich in antioxidants
Millets are rich in phenolilc compounds, especially ferulic acid and catechins. These molecules act as antioxidants to protect our bodies from harmful oxidative stress.
Studies also link ferulic acid to rapid wound healing, skin protection and anti-inflammatory properties. The catechins in millets bind with heavy metals in the blood stream to prevent metal poisoning.
While all millets contain antioxidants, those with a darker color such as Finger and Foxtail millets have more antioxidants than their white or yellow counterparts.
Millets help control and regulate Blood sugar levels
Millets are rich in fiber and non-starchy polysaccharides, two types of carbs that help maintain blood sugar levels.
They also have a low glycemic index(GI) meaning that it's unlikely to spike your blood sugar levels. Thus millets are considered an ideal grain for people with diabetes.
After several studies, it was found that replacing a rice-based breakfast with a millet-based one lowered blood sugar levels after the meal. It was also found that eating 1/3 cup of foxtail millet per day, helped in reducing the fasting and post meal blood sugar levels as well as decrease in
insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a marker for type 2 diabetes. It occurs when your body stops responding to the hormone insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar.
Millets are Gluten-free
Millets are gluten-free making them a viable choice for people with celiac disease or those following a gluten free diet. It is naturally gluten-free and those with gluten allergies can enjoy all the benefits of a delicious and nutritious meal cooked with millets
One of the biggest challenges for people in India is the heavy intake and consumption of Polished Rice and Wheat. Millets provide a healthy replacement for wheat n rice. They are wholesome grains with the most essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients needed for the body. It is good to start looking at replacing and switching to a millet based diet!
In the following blog of this series, we will closely examine how millets help keep our hearts healthy.
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