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Complementary Medicine / Alternative Medicine

Millet: What you need to know

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Millet is a low-maintenance grain that can withstand drought. It’s commonly used to feed livestock, but it’s gaining popularity among people. This grain has a variety of health benefits and may be used in a variety of recipes.

Millet’s nutritional characteristics have been used by people for thousands of years. It is mentioned in the Bible’s Old Testament, as well as ancient Greek and Roman writings.

Millet grows very swiftly and matures in less than half the time that rice and wheat do. This makes it an ideal crop, allowing it to spread quickly throughout Asia and into Europe.

Millet is now the world’s sixth most important cereal grain.

Millet is commonly used to feed pets, livestock, and birds in modern-day America, but it is gaining in popularity among consumers. This is due to the fact that it is gluten-free and high in protein, fiber, and minerals. It also has a variety of physical and mental health advantages, requires few resources to grow, and is drought resistant.

This page examines the several types of millet available, their nutritional qualities and benefits, millet’s potential drawbacks, and how to cook with them.

Types

millet in feeding animals

Millet comes in almost 20 different varieties. The following are some of the most frequent varieties:

  • foxtail (Setaria italica)
  • proso (Panicum miliaceum)
  • pearl (Pennisetum glaucum)
  • finger (Eleusine coracana)
  • barnyard (Echinochloa utilis)

Nutrition

Cooked millet includes the following ingredients per 100 gram (g):

  • 3.51 g of protein
  • 23.7 g of carbohydrate
  • 1.3 g of dietary fiber
  • 44 milligrams (mg) of magnesium
  • 0.161 mg of copper
  • 100 mg of phosphorus
  • 0.272 mg of manganese

Health benefits

According to research, millet can be advantageous in the following ways:

Assisting with digestion

Millet is high in fiber, which is good for digestion and helps to keep bowel movements in check.

Millet also contains prebiotics, which help probiotics flourish in the microbiome. This is important for gut health as well as the immune system as a whole.

Millet is gluten-free, making it ideal for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Celiac disease people can eat this nutrient-dense grain, which is high in protein and fiber, without experiencing any discomfort.

Providing assistance to the cardiovascular system

Millet includes magnesium, which aids in cardiac rhythm regulation.

Millet consumption may also raise levels of adiponectin, a protein that protects cardiovascular tissues.

Niacin, or vitamin B3, is also found in millet. This vitamin aids in the reduction of heart disease risk factors such as high cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as the reduction of oxidative stress.

Mood improvement

Millet has a high content of the amino acid tryptophan, which can boost a person’s mood.

According to 2014 research, eating a diet high in tryptophan can help with depression and anxiety symptoms.

Lowering the diabetes risk

According to a study published in 2021, millet may lower the chance of acquiring type 2 diabetes. It also aids people in controlling their blood glucose levels.

Increased adiponectin levels may help to enhance insulin sensitivity.

Obesity management

Another study from 2021 looked on the efficacy of millet consumption in the treatment of obesity and high cholesterol. The findings showed that this type of diet reduced BMI and, as a result, can aid in the reduction of overweight and obesity.

Longer-term research with bigger sample sizes, on the other hand, are necessary.

Reducing the effects of oxidative stress

Chronic oxidative stress can cause to neurological illnesses, arthritis, and diabetes, among other things.

Because it promotes oxidative stress in the brain, a high-fat diet is also linked to the development of dementia. Antioxidants are important in decreasing oxidative damage, according to doctors. Antioxidant-rich diets may help to prevent oxidative damage.

Millet is high in antioxidants, which may assist the body withstand oxidative stress, which has been linked to sickness and aging. Antioxidants may help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

According to the findings, millet consumption can reduce oxidative stress in the hippocampus and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Millets may also have the following health benefits:

  • maintaining bone health
  • supporting antifungal and antimicrobial activity
  • suppressing cancer cell growth
  • promoting wound healing

Downsides

Millet includes antinutrients, which are chemicals that inhibit the absorption of nutrients. These obstruct the absorption of nutrients by the body. Different millet varieties have varying quantities of these chemicals.

Phytates and goitrogenic polyphenols in pearl millet make it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients. These could play a role in the occurrence of goiters in millet-rich diets.

Antinutritional agents in finger millet include tannins, protease inhibitors, oxalates, and phytate.

Antinutrient levels can be reduced utilizing a variety of processing procedures, according to research, including:

  • dehulling
  • fermenting
  • germinating
  • milling
  • parboiling
  • blanching

Preparation 

Millet can be found at a variety of grocery and health food stores.

Millet can be purchased in the following people:

  • intact grains
  • flakes
  • flour

Millet grains can be stored at room temperature for two months or in the freezer for four months. Millet can be stored for up to a year in a sealed, airtight container or in the refrigerator.

How to use millet in cooking

To enhance the flavor of the millet, lightly toast the seeds for 4–5 minutes, until golden brown. A quinoa-like consistency can be achieved by using a 2-to-1 water-to-millet ratio.

Use a 3-to-1 ratio for porridge and stir frequently. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Use more liquid for a creamier texture.

Millet can be prepared in a variety of ways. Like porridge, it can be soft and smooth, or light, fluffy, and slightly chewy like rice.

Millet can be cooked in a variety of ways, according to the recipe.

The following are brief explanations of popular millet sweet and savory recipes:

  • Toasted millet tabouli: In a sauté pan, toast the grains till light golden brown. Water or stock can be used to cook. Using a fork, fluff the mixture. Diced tomato, cucumber, onion, fresh mint, oregano, and parsley are all good additions. Season with salt and pepper after mixing with olive oil.
  • Super simple millet pilaf: Toss in the millet and toast it until it turns golden and has a nutty scent. Cook the oats with the carrots and onion that have been chopped. Toss in the sea salt and water in the pan. Bring the millet to a boil, then lower to a low heat and cover. Allow 30 minutes for the pilaf to cool before serving.
  • Polenta-style millet: Combine millet and broth in a mixing bowl. When the millet has absorbed all of the water, it is ready to eat. When millet is cooked with more water, it becomes porridge-like and can be used as a morning substitute for oatmeal. The millet can then be cooled, sliced, and sautéed like polenta.
  • Millet muffins: Millet can also be used to make muffins with flour, baking powder, baking soda, eggs, milk, vanilla extract, butter, and brown sugar.

Conclusion

Millet is an ancient grain that has been relished by people for thousands of years. Millet is also used as a feed for animals and birds. It’s getting more popular because it’s fast-growing, drought-resistant, and low-maintenance.

Millet is high in protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. Millet may have health benefits such as safeguarding cardiovascular health, avoiding diabetes, assisting people in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, and regulating gut inflammation.

Millet is a grain that can be used in a variety of ways. It may be prepared in a variety of ways, making it easier for celiac disease people to incorporate this gluten-free grain into their meals.

Sources:

  • https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2021.700778/full
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8005370/
  • https://www.smartfood.org/project/health-benefits-and-nutritional-value-of-millet/
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/what-is-millet
  • https://agricultureandfoodsecurity.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40066-018-0183-3
  • https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10942912.2019.1668406
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4393508
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32078112/
  • https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168871/nutrients
  • https://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/incredible-ways-to-cook-with-millet/
  • https://foodprint.org/real-food/millet/