In recent years, millets have gained immense popularity due to their impressive nutritional profile and myriad of health benefits. Rich in essential nutrients and gluten-free, millets are often considered a healthy addition to your routine diet. However, it’s essential to understand that no single food is universally suitable for everyone.
For certain individuals with specific health conditions, consuming millets may not be advisable. They might experience side effects or adverse reactions, especially if they consumed millets in excessive amounts.
In this blog post, we are sharing detailed information about who should consider avoiding millets and what are the reasons behind these dietary considerations. We hope that understanding these potential limitations can help individuals make informed choices about their diets and help them to avoid unwanted side effects caused by excessive consumption of millets.
Who should avoid millets?
Here are some common categories that should avoid millets. If you fall in the below mentioned categories, then you should avoid excessive consumption of millets.
People suffering from thyroid issues (hypothyroidism)
You might have heard before that millets are not suitable for people suffering from thyroid disorders. Now, scientific studies confirm the same. As per a recent scientific study, millet diet (especially the pearl millet) contains C-Glycosylflavones and produces goitrogenic and antithyroid effects. Thus, if you are suffering from thyroid issues, then it is recommended to avoid excessive consumption of millets. If you have a history of thyroid issues, make it a point to consult your doctor before including millets in your diet.
Digestive problems (gas, bloating, stomach upset etc.)
This is another common problem that many people face with millet consumption. Millets are high in fiber and may cause digestive issues in susceptible individuals. If you have a sensitive gut, you might experience discomfort and other gastric symptoms such as gas and bloating after consuming millets.
To overcome this problem, it is recommended to drink plenty of water. Water helps in better digestion of millets. You can also try soaking, sprouting, or fermenting millets to make millets more digestible and avoid common digestive issues.
Millets can interfere with the absorption of other nutrients
Millets are high in phytic acid and tannin, which may create a problem in the absorption of other essential nutrients in the body (such as calcium, zinc etc.). Here again, soaking, sprouting and fermenting millets can help in solving this problem. These techniques (soaking, sprouting etc.) not only reduce the antinutrient effects but enhance the nutrient absorption as well.
What do experts say about the safe consumption of millets?
Here is some expert opinion regarding safe consumption of millet.
India’s leading nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar says “It is not necessary or recommended to replace millets with rice and wheat. Ideally, you can eat millet Bhakri in a day for one meal and can eat your routine grains (rice, wheat etc.) for other meals”. She strongly focuses on making your meal more diverse by including more whole grain, rather than shifting to only single grain as millet.
Anupama Menon, (another leading nutritionist of India) adds another valuable insight to this conversation. She says “It is important to observe how your body reacts to millet consumption before starting its excessive consumption or replacing wheat with millet. To avoid complication, it is best to start with lighter grains like Ragi and foxtail millet and then move on to other millets like Jowar and Bajara”.
Tips to avoid side effects and safe consumption of millet
- Include millets gradually in your diet and avoid excessive consumption.
- Learn the proper method for cooking millets. Many routine problems are caused by using inappropriate methods for cooking millets.
- Soaked or sprouted millets enhance nutrient absorption and avoid digestive issues.
- Drink plenty of water for proper digestion.
- Avoid mixing two or more millets to avoid digestive issues.
- Buy millet based products from reputed brands like in to ensure good quality.
In conclusion, millets are good for health, but just like any other grain, they may not be suitable for everyone. If you have digestive issues, thyroid issues or have a history of grain allergies, then it is recommended to avoid excessive consumption of millet. Consult your doctor or nutritionist before making any significant changes to your diet. This is the key to avoiding side effects and getting the maximum benefits that millets offer for our health.