Why Are Millets Healthy
People in India have always had a wide range of foods in their daily meals including healthy millets. A typical Indian thali is a spread of cereal rotis, salad, rice, dals, vegetables, curd, fish, or chicken among non-vegetarians followed by buttermilk or a sweet. That was the entire range of foods an Indian thali would entail which is perhaps the world's best-presented food consumption style. We did so well for centuries, but over the last 50 years of Urbanisation and Globalisation we dropped the Magic Wand of our consumption - Millets.
What are Millets?
Millets are small seeds growing on grass. Millets grow ample in semi-dry lands of Asia and Africa. The millet crop is resistant and can withstand a lot of extreme heat of the sun, followed by drought and weather conditions. A lot of farmers like growing millets because it has a short window from seed to harvest.
We dropped Millets like a hot brick: Considering all millets like bajra (pearl millet), kutki (little millet), ragi (finger millet), Jowar (sorghum) were once our Indian staple- it is sad that we now need a reintroduction to our old friends. Recent history appears to suggest that the introduction of processed foods, packed foods, quick to cook foods, GMO grains & cereals, and other large quantities of cereals produced by chemical fertilisers flooded the markets moving us away from millets
But if this generation and the next have to stay healthy and resistant to disease, we will need to acknowledge the value & benefits of millets in meals.
Millets are called Miracle grains:
Why do you ask? Because they are tightly packed with a variety of nutrients and vitamins that other cereals would demand from larger quantities of consumption. That means, these small millets give big miracles!
So what are these wonders in millets?
- Millets carry essential amino acids such as methionine and lecithin. These amino acids have a positive impact on those suffering from tumours, asthma, diabetes, and gangrene. The content of sugar and carbohydrates is very low while offering a wide range of needed minerals, vitamins, and nutrients
- Cancer patients who consume millets show significant improvement in health and ability to fight the fatigue of chemotherapy and the treatment. Organic millets were found to be important criteria in this evaluation. Chemical ridden millets won't be as beneficial as chemical-free millets
- Those who consume chemical-free organic millet regularly show better homeostasis (balance of chemicals in the body), higher immunity, a sense of well-being, and fewer reactions to allergies- when on millets they had fewer episodes of falling sick
- Millets are like iron-clad body sheets that build resistance and feed the Indian gene system so beautifully that if food is cooked in natural oils and natural salts or ingredients the results are marvellous and one can experience the difference.
Some Nutritional Benefits you must know about:
- Millets are good holders of magnesium - which helps to lower blood pressure. It is also known to lower the risk of heart disease in those with a family history or propensity to develop issues of the heart. Ragi and Jowar Dosa Mix is one way you can start incorporating magnesium in form of millets into your diet
- Millets have high fibre- Consumption of millets makes the body digest the fibre which takes much longer. Millets in meals slow down the digestion process overall making you less hungry than usual. Farmers in India are known to eat millet before going to the fields early in the morning. This way they get hungry only by 1 pm although they may have begun work as early as 5.30 am. That is the standing power millets can give you! You could try Bajra Flakes with Honey or Jowar Flakes for starters. It is an excellent bowl for your daily breakfast and has more nutritional value than regular corn flakes
- Millets are not acidic - They are highly alkaline foods. These are not just easy to digest, they aid the health of your gut and internal organs. Cancers thrive or grow in acidic environments. Eating millets ensures your gastrointestinal tract is exposed to alkalinity.
Indians have been consuming millets for 1000s of years. Millets have been mentioned in some of the oldest Vedic records like the Yajurveda which classified and mentioned foxtail millet (priyangava), Barnyard millet (aanava), and black finger millet (shyaamaka). Indicating our ancestors were millet consumers. It was so common and mainstream that it was written about. Important to note the period in mention - pre-dates the Indian Bronze Age (4,500BC)
Even today India is among the largest producers of millet in the world. We produce about 11 million tonnes every year. The world has grown aware of the rich millets we produce and it is time we as Indians own our Millets.
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