Millets (siruthaniyam in tamil ) are one of the ancient cereal grain widely cultivated and used by our ancestors. They can be planted and harvested in less than 65 days and can be grown even in dry lands. I still remember my grandfather used to have millet porridge seasoned with boiled legumes or pulses every morning. Over the last few decades the use of millets diminished rapidly due to the use of polished rice and wheat. However, with the increase of various disease, millets have started penetrated into Indian markets again. From upma to cookies, millets can be used for any dishes and ofcourse it is packed with high nutrition values.
Millet Health benefits
Millet grains are nutritionally superior to many cereals, and have medicinal value because of their high fibre content, higher amount of protein. It has all the essential amino acids, good cholesterol, and the same amount of calcium, iron. Due to its inherent low glycemic value, these grains are ideal for combating obesity, diabetes, cancer and cardio vascular disorders. The fibre in millets is in two forms – soluble and insoluble fractions. The soluble fibre fraction delays gastric emptying and helps in slow digestion and slower release of glucose. Thus, the blood glucose levels rise slowly. The insoluble fraction is an inert component metabolically, absorbs water and helps bowel movement, preventing constipation. Millets with high dietary fibre take longer to chew and thus our eating time increases. Since the brain registers that it is full only after 20 minutes, the increased eating time gives the body a chance to know that the stomach is full, and reduces our chances of overeating. As the fibre nutrient moves in the intestine, it picks up wastes, and adds bulk to the stool ingredient and it makes going to the toilet a pleasurable experience too.
Pearl millet (Bajra, Bajri, Sajje, Kambu, Cambu ,Sajjalu)
Kambu – This inexpensive millet is recommended by many health professionals, Dieticians and Nutritionist because of its various health benefits. People are becoming more and more conscious about the fact of Kambu having various good effects on the body. 100 grams of Bajra has the following nutritional values: energy 360 calories, moisture 12g,protein 12g, fat 5g, mineral 2g, fiber 1 g, carbohydrate 67g, Calcium 42mg, phosphorus 242mg, and iron 8mg.
Benefits includes bone growth, cancer risk, weight loss, heart health, diabetes and reduces cholesterol.
Recipes with kambu/pearl millets are kambu koozh, kambu adai, kambu rice, kambu kozhukattai, kambu paniyaram.
Finger millet ( Ragi, Kelvaragu, Nachani, Mandwa)
Ragi is a powerhouse of various nutrients helps in reducing weight and also acts as a treatment for multiple diseases like Brittle Bones, Osteoporosis, Anaemia and Diabetes. It is a natural relaxant that helps in relieving stress and anxiety and a very good source of proteins and amino acids. It is one such rare cereal that doesn’t need to be polished and, therefore, can be consumed in its purest form with all its goodness intact. It controls weight loss, increases lactation and also reverts skin ageing.
Some Ragi or finger millet recipes are Ragi malt, ragi upma, ragi koozh, ragi idli, ragi adai, ragi dosa…
Foxtail millet (Thinai, Korralu, Navane, Kang, Rala)
Thinai or foxtail millets are high in calories and so the farmers used to have this when they work on fields. Thinai is a vegan food and also gluten free cereal. Foxtail millet is rich in proteins, and low in fat. It has good amount of fiber content, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and carbohydrates.
Thinai health benefits are control diabetics, keeps your digestive tract clean, reduce heart attack risk, high in Anti-Oxidants, weight loss and reduces gastric problems
Thinai or foxtail millets recipes are thinai upma, thinai biscuits, thinai idli, thinai payasam, Thinai Arisi Puttu…
Proso millet (panivaragu, broom corn millet, hog millet, white millet)
Proso millet has high anti-oxidant content and is beneficial for nervous system. It prevents pellagra, strengthens bone, aids weight loss, prevents cardiac risk, lowers cholesterol, prevents gall stones and is rich source of essential phosphorus.
Proso millet or varagu recipes are panivaragu ven pongal, varagu idly, varagu dosa , varagu paniyaram..
Sorghum (Makka Cholam)
Corn is high in fiber, low in fat and a great source of essential nutrients. Corn prevents anaemia, increases energy, lowers cholesterol, induce weight gain, prevents diabetes & hypertension, improves vision, has anti-cancer properties, prevents skin problems, hair loss and dryness
Makka cholam recipes are makka cholam adai, dosai, corn cutlet, corn meal puttu…
Little millet (Samai, Saamai, Samalu)
Samai is rich in phyto-chemicals and it has excellent antioxidant properties. Its Dietary fiber protects against hyperglycemia, reduces cholesterol and helps in digestion. Has lesser amount of carbohydrates than Wheat and rice and has abundant quantities of Thiamin (Vitamin B1) which is not present in Rice and Wheat
Popular samai recipes are Samai Ven pongal, samai adai, Samai Arisi muruku, Samai kichadi, Samai Arisi Idli, samai Arisi Biryani
Kodo millet (Varagu, Varigalu)
Kodo millet is very easy to digest, it contains a high amount of lecithin and is excellent for strengthening the nervous system. Kodo millets are rich in B vitamins, especially niacin, B6 and folic acid, as well as the minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc.Kodo millets contain no gluten and is good for people who are gluten intolerant.Regular consumption of kodo millet is very beneficial for postmenopausal women suffering from signs of cardiovascular disease,like high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
Barnyard Millet (Kuthirai Vaali, Kodisama, Bhagar, Varai)
This is the fastest growing millet producing yield in 6 weeks, this has the highest fibre and iron content of all the millets.
Kuthirai vaali benefits are maintains body temperature, high in Carbohydrate, good source of B-complex vitamins, healthy food to reduce cholesterol naturally, helps accelerate weight loss, diabetes, protein content is high comparable to that of wheat and maize, rich anti-oxidant, good source of zinc and manganese
You can try all Indian recipes with the combination of these millets like millet sweet pongal, millet ven pongal, payasam, upma, kozhukattai, porridge, adai, dosa, idly, pulao, curd rice, millets pakoda and so on..
Start consuming this miracle grains and bring back our lost traditional heritage.