The term ‘millet’ is widely used to refer to a variety of grains that are very popular for their culinary uses as well as their health promoting qualities. They, however, do not form any taxonomic groups and some varieties do not even fall under the same genus of plant. The most commonly consumed variety of millet falls under the category Panicum miliaceuem or Setaria italica. These grains are popular in many parts of the world, with an amazing 10,000 years of cultivation history in parts of East Asia. Today, the leading producers of this form of cereal grains are India, China and Nigeria. These grains are particularly beneficial for those who are sensitive to gluten and hence can be used as an alternate form of grain. Depending on the cooking method, the consistency of this delicious grain can vary, ranging from a smooth creamy texture to fluffy forms, as in rice. Read on to know all about the diverse health benefits of consuming millet.
Health Benefits Of Eating Millet
- Lignans, an essential phytonutrient present in millet, are very beneficial to the human body. Under the action of interstitial friendly flora, they are converted to mammalian lignans, which act against different types of hormone-dependent cancers, like breast cancer and also help reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Regular consumption of millet is very beneficial for postmenopausal women suffering from signs of cardiovascular disease, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
- Children’s intake of whole grains like millet and fish has been shown to reduce the occurrence of wheezing and asthma.
- A high source of fiber, millet is very beneficial against breast cancer in post-menopausal women.
- According to research and recent studies, consumption of millet can help women combat the occurrence of gallstones, as they are a very high source of insoluble fiber.
- This form of cereal grain is very high in phosphorus content, which plays a vital role in maintaining the cell structure of the human body. The key role of this mineral is that it helps in the formation of the mineral matrix of the bone and is also an essential component of ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate), which is the energy currency of the body.
- A single cup of millet provides around 24.0% of the body’s daily phosphorus requirement. This mineral is a very important constituent of nucleic acids, which are the building blocks of genetic code.
- Recent research has indicated that the regular consumption of millet is associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. This is mainly due to the fact that whole grains like millet are a rich source of magnesium, which acts as a co-factor in a number of enzymatic reactions in the body, regulating the secretion of glucose and insulin.
- Magnesium is also beneficial in reducing the frequency of migraine attacks. It is even very useful for people who are suffering from atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease.
- Millets do not have measurable amounts of oxalates and purines. They are also not a common allergenic food.
- Similar to the other types of whole grains, millet should be cleaned properly and thoroughly, prior to cooking. This can be done by rinsing it under cool running water and removing any grime or debris present in the grains.
- For the purpose of cooking, add one part of the grain to two and a half parts of boiling water or broth. Allow the liquid to boil once and then turn the heat to low and cover the pan. After this, allow the pot to simmer for around 20 to 25 minutes, until you get a smooth and fluffy texture.
- If you looking for a creamy texture, stir the grains frequently while in the pot and add some water every now and then.
- To get a crispy and a nutty flavor, you can roast the grains prior to cooking.