Millets, the miracle grains

Millets, the miracle grains

The history of food, especially in Indian context will be left incomplete without giving due importance to Millets. The need of the hour is to reboot ourselves and bring back their glory

The Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Union Budget speech 2023-24 said, "India is the global hub for Millets or Anna, The Mother of All Grains, which means prosperity and grain. India is at the forefront of popularising millets whose consumption furthers nutrition, food security and welfare of farmers". This comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about India's Baby Grain, Millets and their benefits on, 'Mann Ki Baat,' on 29th January 2023. Currently, India is the largest producer and second largest exporter of millets. While the Finance-minister is doing her best to popularising millets, you can add this super food to breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner, replace them with rice and wheat. Millets have been around in India since Vedic times, for their health benefits. Although Millets have a diversified and high food value, their consumption, by the Indian populace has not reached a significant level due to various factors.

Millets are the Super Wonder Grain belonging to the Poaceae family, the grass cereal of the food world. Millets are called, 'The Miracle Grains, Adbhut Anaj, and Nutra Cereals, due to the presence of high vitamins, proteins, amino acids and antioxidants and maintain blood sugar levels in the body. According to Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) Millets are high in dietary fibers, specifically millets contain 7-12% protein, 2-5% fat, 67-75% carbohydrates and 15-20% dietary fiber. Due to their high density of nutrients, they are excellent grains to eliminate malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency. Also, they don't need high quality soil to grow and can be grown under hard conditions. Millets are lean and green and helps you tone up. Helps gym buddies lose weight and another gain lean muscle mass. Millets in a mix are also probably the best- balanced diet for the heat when all our appetites take a hit.

The various kinds of millets include Sorghum (Jowar), Pearl Millet (Bajra), Finger Millet (Ragi), Little Millet (Kutki), Foxtail Millet (Kangani), Proso Millet (Cheena), Barnyard Millet (Jhangora) Kodo Millet (Kodo), two pseudo millets (Buck Wheat and Kuttu), Ameranthus( Chaulai), and other millets. Among the selected millets, Fox tail millet contains the highest protein and the presence of stearic and linoleic acids helps in maintaining a good lipid profile. Finger millet has the highest carbohydrate content.

Globally millions of people are experiencing food insecurity and malnutrition. The U.N has set a global target to end hunger by 2030, but we are far from reaching it. Many countries are facing the challenge of both under nutrition and over nutrition. Thus, there is a need to transform the food system to achieve food and nutrition security. One of the methods to move nearer to our goal, is the ability to give affordable healthy and nutritious diet to all. Millets, the nutria cereals have the necessary potential to play a part in the battle against food insecurity and malnutrition. Nutri cereals are a big source of necessary macro and micro nutrients, carbohydrates, protein, dietary fiber, lipids and phytochemicals (Protect cells and DNA from damage that may lead to cancer).

Millets are termed as, yesterday's coarse grains and today's nutria cereals. They are the future crops as they are resistant to most of the pests and diseases and adapt well to the harsh environment. The majority of the millets are 3 to 5 times more nutritious than most cereals in terms of nutrients and minerals and are gluten free, hence they are known as 'super food'. The abundant nutrients of millets provide multiple benefits such as reducing the incidences of cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart and gastro intestinal problems, migraine head aches and asthmatic problems. Rich in Potassium, millets are great for keeping your kidneys healthy. The fibers in the food keep your digestive system up and running. Millets, rich in protein, and light on the stomach, are your friends that help you to have a nice balanced diet with vitamins, fats and carbs and other trace elements. Men can have their muscles by millets and show their six packs. This desi super food gives the necessary nutrients the body needs, keeping obesity at bay.

India is the largest exporter as well as the largest producer of millets in the world, a proud moment for Indian farmers to cherish. In a major boost to production and exports of nutria cereals, like millets, the Finance- minister in her budget speech announced assistance for post- harvest value addition and branding of millet products in the domestic as well as global markets. India is the world leader in the production of millets with a share of around 41% of total world production. Many programs are being planned for promotion of millets and value-added products of millets in many countries.

When shopping for millets, you should look for a label that certifies it gluten-free to ensure that it has not been contaminated with any gluten containing ingredients. Their nutty taste and versatility make them well worth trying it. With millets incorporated in to your daily diet you can be Fit, Fab and Full of Josh.

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