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Millet – A Superfood or a Fad Diet?

Millet – A Superfood or a Fad Diet?

The highly nutritious millets are one of the earliest crops that we cultivated. It is probably the first crop that humankind ever produced – dates back to more than 8000 years. Or may be 10,000 years!

Then why it is so much ignored?

It is probably because of the lack of awareness. We do not have so much marketing and dadvertising for this gem of the natural ingredients. Despite being the ancient ingredients, not many people know about it. In fact, very few people consume it. It is majorly grown and consumed in developing countries but even the people there barely heard about it. Coming from India, we mostly focused on whole wheat and rice. We literally have TV Ads for them.

What is millets?

Millet is not a specific grain. It is a category of food that comprises of many different kinds of plants. These plants are grown and cultivated and then we get many different kinds of cereals or “millets”. They are tiny grains and all look very similar but they all are different and have different nutritional benefits.

Various kinds of millets that you can find in stores includes – pearl millet, foxtail millet, finger millet, proso millet, kodo millet, amaranth, barnyard millet, buckwheat, little millet, and sorghum. Imagine! So many varieties but not popular enough to be consumed regularly.

Health benefits of millets

Millets are highly nutritious. Below are their health benefits:

  1. They are gluten-free.
  2. Regular consumption can prevent type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
  3. Rich in protein, fibers, and antioxidants.
  4. Some millets are highly rich in calcium and iron.
  5. Studies suggest that millet consumption prevents cancer too.

You can find more here.

Mind blowing facts about millets

  1. Kodo Millet is extremely high in fiber. Finger and Foxtail Millet are also good sources of fiber.
  2. Kodo and Finger Millets are highly rich in antioxidants.
  3. Finger Millet has eight times (or more) more calcium than other grains, three times as much calcium as milk.
  4. Barnyard Millet has five times more iron than steak.
  5. Sorghum breakfast cereal has eight times the antioxidants than whole wheat-based cereals. Red and black sorghum has legitimate fruit and vegetable-level antioxidant activity. But they are barely available anywhere. 🙂

Is millet a fad?

I am from India and I have grown up eating millets regularly. We used to have millets chapati and khichri. I remember until a few years ago, my mom used to buy millets flour from a local flour mill near our home. It was not at all expensive. But when I was living in Pune (a couple of years back) and doing my grocery shopping there, I saw many new brands selling millets in beautiful packets, claiming in big letters – Healthy, Superfood, Zero Cholesterol, Gluten Free, etc. – and all of a sudden the prices became very high. I was schocked! I called my mom and she said that she still gets her millet flours from that same flour mill and at almost similar rates.

The natural ingredient which was not popular until a few years, suddenly became a Super Star! Marketers know how to target the audience – by claiming it to be “Healthy” or calling it a “Superfood”. No doubt they are extremely healthy and nutritious but it is not something new. It is existing since ages. But with all the marketing gimmicks, it has become a fad. Same is happening with Quinoa too. These grains are packed with nutrition and in some parts of India, it is consumed regularly since forever. But with recent marketing strategies, it is getting both positive and negative popularity.

I would say just one thing – Millets are healthy ancient grains. It is not a fad. Make them a part of your regular diet and gain from their benefits. Do not look at them as some Weight Loss or Fad Diet tool.

Millets Recipes

Everybody has their own way of using it – malting, fermenting, consuming it whole, broken or in the form of flours. Here are some of my delicious millet recipes.

1. Finger Millet Energy Balls (Ragi Ladoo)

Ragi ke ladoo

2. Finger Millet Vegetable Puffs (Vegetable Ragi Appe)

Ragi Appe Photo

3. Amaranth & Dates Energy Bars

Amaranth Energy Bars

4. Savory Buckwheat Pancake (Kuttu Ka Cheela)

cheela

5. Pearl Millet Khichdi (Bajre Ki Khichri)

bajra khichdi

6. Pearl Millet Energy Balls (Bajre Ke Ladoo)

Bajre Ke ladoo - Photo

7. Instant Ragi Idli (Finger Millet Steamed Cakes)

Ragi Idli Photo

8. Instant Ragi Dosa (Finger Millet Dosa)

Ragi Dosa

With these recipes, you will get an idea about the ways you can include millets in your regular diet. Try these recipes and I am sure you will enjoy them.

To end, I am going to say – Make millets a part of your kitchen. Make them a part of your regular diet. You will see surprising benefits.

Stay Healthy. Stay Fit.

Love

Richa

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