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Foods, Intolerances And Allergies


Book-2: Guide to Total Wellness -1.0

Millets: are ancient gluten free super grains from grasses with small seeds. Cultivated for over 8000 years, they grow well in even the harshest of conditions and in the poorest of soils with meager supply of water.

Millets have a low glycemic index and high soluble fibre content and are anti-acidic and act as a prebiotic. They help de-toxify the body, lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, manage cardio vascular disease, optimize kidney, liver and immune system health and also reduce risk of intestinal conditions like gastric ulcers or colon cancer.

Millets have many beneficial effects in our diet. They are extremely good sources of fibre and protein compared to rice and wheat. They can fill the nutritional gaps when one’s diet is predominately non-vegetarian. Millets are rich in iron, copper, manganese, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and the ‘B’ vitamins. They also include anti-oxidants, flavonoids, tryptophan and certain amino acids. Millets ensure better glycemic control and help in addressing diabetes, hypothyroidism, drug induced malnutrition and anemia, and optimize kidney, liver and immune system health. Millets are healthy carbohydrates, high in fibre and low in glucose and as they have a high satiety level are good for weight watchers. (for more info on millets in diet – see- www.indiankhana.net).

Millets were traditionally used instead of rice, in dosa, idly, roti, pongal, porridge etc and can also be eaten as sprouts, pulao and sweets. They expand more and hence form larger servings than rice and require somewhat longer cooking time than rice. Jowar and Bajra roti’s have been staple food in many regions. Difficulty in de-husking millets helped popularize rice and wheat but today de-husked millets are readily available. They are also available in the form of rice, ravva and flour but need a slightly different way of cooking than rice. They can also be made into bread.

Millets can be served with dal, sambar, rasam, or any curry of your choice.

The Indian Journal of Medical Research notes that replacing rice based dosas with those made from fox tail millets helps maintain lower blood sugar levels and also manage cardiovascular disease, due to its low glycemic index and high soluble fibre content. The millet based dosas even taste good.

Millets have different flavours and can easily be incorporated into the Low Carb diet but only after the first 5 weeks to 3 months.

Millets come in many unique varieties, each with some differences. We need to experiment and choose which of them best suit us. Millets are best eaten warm/hot. The Jhangora variety of the barnyard millets is a nutritional powerhouse with high levels of protein, calcium, iron, minerals and vitamin B complex. It is also low in carbohydrates and gluten-free, making it an excellent grain for those with gluten allergies, type II diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Nutritional benefits of Millets (for 100g of each millet), the values may vary somewhat depending on the cooking methods.

Type Protein(g) Fiber (g) Minerals (g) Iron(mg) Calcium(mg)
Sorghum /Great millet 10 4 1.6 2.6 54
Pearl Millet/Bajara/Sajji 10.6 1.3 2.3 16.9 38
Finger Millet/Ragi 7.3 3.6 2.7 3.9 344
Foxtail Millet/Kakkum/Korra 12.3 8 3.3 2.8 31
Proso Millet/Barri/Vaniga 12.5 2.2 1.9 0.8 14
Kodo Millet/Arikela 8.3 9 2.6 0.5 27
Little Millet/Kutki/Samalu 7.7 7.6 1.5 9.3 17
Barnyard Millet/Sanwa/Kodisama 11.2 10.1 4.4 15.2 11
Teff 13 8 0.85 7.6 180
Fonio 11 11.3 5.31 84.8 18
Brown top millet 11.5 12.5 4.2 0.65 0.01


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