Millet: nutritionally superior to rice and wheat


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Millets have immense nutritional benefits being rich in protein, calcium, iron and other minerals. One of the most interesting facts about finger millet is people with obesity can reduce half of their weight within 15 days. http://www.healthincheck.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/millets.jpg

Millets constitute of varieties like finger millet (Eleusine coracana), proso millet (Panicum miliaceum), foxtail millet (Setaria italica), and barnyard millet (Echinochloa colona). It is a known as a major source of energy and protein for millions of people. Some of these varieties are even nutritionally superior to rice and wheat and here are few lesser known but extremely important facts about millets:

·         The protein content of finger and barnyard millets vary from 6-10%, whereas those of proso and foxtail millets ranges from 9-14% and these millets contain about 4% fat. The fat from millets contains a higher proportion of unsaturated fatty acids and supply essential fatty acids.

·         Finger millet protein has sulphur-containing amino acids equal to that of milk proteins.

·         The dietary carbohydrate content of millets is also relatively high. Starch is the main carbohydrate component of millets and their starch granules are slightly bigger than rice starch granules. Millets starches have been found to possess superior qualities than rice and wheat starch.

·         They have a relatively higher proportion of “unavailable” carbohydrates, their glycemic index is low and the release of sugars from millet-based diets is slow. These factors could be utilized in developing special foods for diabetics.

·         Millets have a higher percentage of dietary fibre also. It has been observed that the incidence of duodenal ulcers is practically nil among millet eaters.

·         Almost all millets are rich in minerals especially calcium and iron.

One of the most interesting facts about finger millet is people with obesity can reduce half of their weight within 15 days. Read more on millets in our next article

About the author

Dr. J C Rana is a Scientist currently the heading the Division of Germplasm Evaluation, ICAR-National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, Pusa Campus, New Delhi. He has received several awards & honours few of which are:
Fellow Indian Society of Genetics & Plant Breeding
Fellow Indian Society of Plant Genetic Resources

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