Updated: Sep 19
Have you ever wondered what your diet would look like without your millets? Would it be as nutritious or would your meal provide you with all the necessary supplements? We have always underestimated the importance of millets in our diet for we have very conveniently tried to replace them with other imported grains that we pay hefty prices for! Our millets include jowar (sorghum), ragi (finger millet), korra (foxtail millet), arke (kodo millet), sama (little millet), bajra (pearl millet), chena/barr (proso millet) and sanwa (barnyard millet).
These might sound like hefty names but the benefits that your receive from these are in abundance. Millets are not just gluten-free but also excellent providers of proteins, fibres and anti-oxidants. Although it is rich in carbs, it also provides the essential vitamins and minerals that set it off.
History fact: Traditionally, millets have been consumed in Central and Southern India along with a few hilly regions of Uttarakhand. However, post the 1970 Green revolution, they took a back-seat throughout India.
Historically, there is an evidence of millet cultivation in the Korean Peninsula around 3,500 – 2,000 B.C. (also called the Jeulmun Pottery Period. In India, millets have their mentions in the Yajurveda, where foxtail millet is called priyangava, Baryard millet is aanava, and black finger millet is shyaamaka. This proves that millets were very commonly used in India during the Indian Bronze age i.e. 4,500 B.C.
The benefits of millet are innumerable (Daana ek, faayde anek!). They not only help control your sugar levels but also lower your cholesterol levels. For all the people who are going the gluten-free way, millets are the right kind of cereals to include in your diet.
Here’s a list of the top 5 Millets that when included in your diet, give you maximum nutritious advantages
1. Sorghum (Jowar) – Super high in protein, healthy carbs and an excellent energizer, jowar is used all over India in rotis, upmas and porridges. It is a gluten-free grain that helps reduce the cholesterol levels in the body. Due to its high calcium content, it is always preferred over regular wheat to prepare rotis! Guess, now we know, why our elders choose jowar over wheat.
TARU’S Products - Ancient Jowar Atta
2. Pearl Millet (Bajra) – Incredibly nutrient dense, including bajra, in your daily diet helps fight against Type II Diabetes. It contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium, and is a rich source of phosphorus, making it the most produced millet in India. It is used in chapattis, sprouted in porridges, khichdis and the list continues.
TARU’s Products - Ancient Bajra Atta
3. Little Millet (Vari) – Vari is also the staple of the Maharashtrian households during the fasting period. It is commonly used as an ingredient in bread, dosas, rotis and lemon rice. It is an excellent choice when it comes to people who are looking to lose weight. Packed with Vitamin B and minerals like Potassium, Zinc and Iron, it functions as an antioxidant.
TARU’s Product Link - Vari Millet
4. Foxtail Millet (Kangni) – Kangni is the second most produced millet worldwide as it has the highest mineral content in comparison to all the other millets. It is often used as a primary ingredient in lemon rice, salads, payasams and the list continues. It is an immunity booster that helps balance blood sugar and regulate cholesterol levels.
TARU’s Product Link - Ancient Foxtail Millet
5. Finger Millet (Ragi) – Ragi is often used as a substitute to rice and wheat. Rich in proteins and amino acids, it is gluten-free and aids brain development in growing children. For all the people indulging in weight loss, this one is for you! It is used in dishes like Puttu, upmas, khichdis, dosas, idlis and so on. It is called a ‘wonder grain’ and is a staple in South India.
TARU’s Product Link – Ragi Atta
So what are you folks waiting for? Go grab the millet you desire and turn it into your favourite dish to make best use of it’s nutritive properties.
- Shruthi Narayan.