Millets are different small-seeded grain crops that are found in various parts of India. They are naturally gluten-free, fiber and nutrient-rich in nature. Different millet found in India is Jowar (Sorghum), Kodo millet, Sama millet (little millet), Barnyard millet, Foxtail millet, Ragi (finger millet) Bajra (pearl millet). They are extremely beneficial for your health. Before we dive into how to include millet in your diet, let’s understand the health benefits of millet.
Health benefits of millets
Millets are a powerhouse of nutrients and offer various health benefits:
1. They are highly nutritious and a good replacement for rice.
2. Helps reduce stress due to the presence of a good amount of potassium and magnesium.
3. Loaded with fiber and keeps you full for a long time. It also relieves constipation.
4. Maintains hormonal imbalance in women.
5. Millets are a good source of Niacin which helps to keep skin healthy.
6. Dark millets are a good source of Beta-carotene which is an antioxidant supporting healthy eyes.
7. Due to the presence of soluble and insoluble fiber millets help in healthy gut flora and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
8. Millets are high in calcium, Iron, and protein which makes them complete food for pregnant and lactating mothers.
9. Vitamins like riboflavin, Thiamine, niacin, and folic acid help in cell growth, nervous system and spine development.
10. Minerals like iron, phosphorus, and potassium help in blood formation and nerve conduction.
11. Eating millet can be beneficial for diabetics and those suffering from heart diseases.
Ways to include millet in your diet
Now that you know the health benefits of adding this superfood to your diet, here are some ways to add millets to your diet:
- Millets can be ground into fine flour and prepared roti/chapati and in dosa
- Use it to prepare healthy cookies, breads, and burger buns by baking it.
- Substitute millets in any rice-based dishes like kichidi, pulao, tamarind rice, bisibelebath, etc.
- Puffed ragi/bajra/jowar can be an alternative to rice puff. Use them as a snack in chivda, murmura, and puffed rice balls (sweet). In addition to rice flakes, millet flakes are also offered in the market.
Millet recipes you can try
1. Bajra-wheat palak roti
- 200 grams of bajra
- 100 grams of whole grain wheat flour
- 1 bunch palak leaves
- 2 cloves of Garlic 2 cloves
- 15 ml of curd
- 2 chopped green chilly
- 3 tablespoon of coriander leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric
- Salt to taste
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1. Combine all the ingredients into a dough.
2. Make it into a roti and cook it in a pan with ghee/oil.
3. Serve hot with curd or chutney of choice.
2. Ragi jello
- 1 cup of overnight soaked ragi overnight
- 1/2 cup of jaggery powder
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoon of chopped nuts
- 1 tablespoon of Ghee
1. Grind the soaked ragi well to get its thick ragi milk.
2. Take the ragi milk in a pan and add jaggery and salt to it and mix well. Heat the mixture in low flame for several minutes.
3. Stir continuously to avoid any lump formation and add ghee in small portions while stirring.
4. Once the mix solidifies, add the chopped nuts and transfer it to a plate greased with ghee and let it cool.
5. Cut into the desired shape and serve.
3. Pearl millet Dosa
- 1 cup of pearl millet
- 1/4 cup of urad dal
- 2 tablespoon of rice flakes
- Salt to taste
1.Soak pearl millet, rice flakes, and urad dal separately in water for 4 hours.
2. Grind them separately to a sandy texture and combine them with salt as needed.
3. Ferment them overnight or for 8 hours.
4. Prepare dosa and serve hot with tomato or coriander chutney and sambar.
4. Mixed Millet laddoo
- 150 grams of ragi flour
- 150 grams of bajra flour
- 150 grams of jowar flour
- 75 grams of flour
- 30 grams of mixed nuts and dry fruits chopped
- 1 tablespoon roasted flax seed or til seeds
- 3 tablespoon of ghee
- 2 powdered cardamom
1. Heat ghee in a pan and fry all flours on medium flame until they are aromatic. Keep it aside.
2. Melt the jaggery with water in a separate pan. Once it melts add the flour slowly while mixing to avoid any lumps.
3. Add the nuts and seeds. Remove from flame.
4. Make ladoo by greasing your hands with ghee.
5. Store in an airtight jar.
Since millets are high in nutrients, you should add them to your diet without thinking twice. However, do check with a nutritionist or your doctor to check for possible complications.