The year 2023 is the international year of millets or millet year for short. Now, as Indians millets are not new for us, however, the sudden prominence that the humble grain has received is something that might surprise us. While our grannies have told us time and again the benefits of millets, it is only now that the world is waking up to the benefits of it.
Millets also called as nutri-cereals, are highly nutritious, economical and sustainable grain that can play a major role in improving the health of man and soil. Apart from being climate smart and needing very little water or pesticides, millets also help soil maintain their structure and preserve soil health.
Millets in India have been a part of our food culture for centuries. They were among the first crops to be domesticated and, according to historians, there is evidence to prove that millets were a part of Indus valley civilization. The small grained cereals are also called as nutri-cereals and are available in different sub-species across India.
- Sorghum (jowar),
- Pearl millet (bajra)
- Foxtail millet (kangni/ Italian millet)
- Little millet (kutki),
- Kodo millet,
- Finger millet (ragi/ mandua),
- Proso millet (cheena/ common millet),
- Barnyard millet (sawa/ sanwa/ jhangora), and
- Brown top millet (korale) are the commonly found millets in India.
Does millet increase immunity?
Yes, millets improve immunity. It helps to prevent infections and provides natural protection against many of the lifestyle diseases. Millets are rich in iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, selenium, and zinc. Millets also help in regulating blood sugar levels and provide essential minerals to the body.
Which millet is best for immunity
Overall millets are good to improve immunity and of them jowar or Sorgham and Ragi are best for improving immunity. These millets are also perfect to be included in the winter diet.
Jowar is packed with nutrients like vitamin B, calcium, iron, phosphorus and fiber. These nutrients are essential for overall health. Jowar is also high in antioxidants, which may help fight diseases like cancer. Apart from improving heart health and controlling the blood sugar levels, jowar is also known to boost immunity. In winters, due to lack of activity and need of insulation, we tend to eat more. Jowar is good to be included in the winter diet as it keeps you satiated for longer.
Ragi or Nachani or Finger millet
Ragi is a good source of calcium and protein. It is a great alternative source of calcium and protein for pure vegetarian or those who follow vegan diet. Ragi or Finger millets are also a part of first solid foods that a baby is fed. It is good for your skin and hair health and is useful for preventing anemia.
Other benefits of millets
As the year 2023 is being celebrated as the International Year of millets, it is important to wake up to the many health benefits of millets and include it in our daily diet. Apart from being an immunity booster, millets are also good for weight loss in a healthy way. Millets fight inflammation, improve bone health and slow muscle degradation. The millets are a powerhouse of antioxidants and micronutrients thereby improving the overall health.
Millets truly have miracle powers and they work wonders on the mind and body of a person. As the world fights climate change, hunger and malnutrition, including millets in the daily diet could be the answer for the mankind. The biggest hindrance in popularizing millets is the awareness about the health benefits. Creatively replacing regular wheat and rice with millets can go a long way in popularizing and acquainting people around the world with millets.
Traditionally, Indian cuisine included millets in the form of Ragi mudde, jowar or bajra rotis, millet upmas or steaming them. While these are extremely healthy recipes, they aren’t enticing enough for today’s generations. While the earlier generation knew the benefits of millets, the coming generation might not be aware of it, if we do not make the effort to educate them.
Products from skyroots like millet cake mix, millet idli mix, millet chocolates, or millet flakes are a contemporary way to include millets in your daily diet. This will help include millets in the diet without being considered as boring. Let us make the international year of millets a grand success by including it in our diet while educating more and more people about the benefits of it. Instead of being considered a poor man’s food, let us make sure that it is known as a man’s nutrition food.