Read full article By`K Shiva Shanker @ The Hindu Photo Credit: the Hindu
Study in seven urban localities finds reasons for eating and not eating millets
Despite knowing too well that healthy food helps to lead a quality life, many of us struggle to adopt healthy food options such as millets. If you too are struggling with this, you are not alone.
Around 40% of 15,139 people located in seven urban localities of India said that family eating custom was a reason for not eating more millets. And 22% of the respondents cited taste as the reason. But there are many who eat millets. If you are looking for some encouragement or push to adopt millets into your diet, here are their reasons: around 305 of the respondents cited prevalence of health problems including but not limited to diabetes, heart conditions, bone health, and general health as a reason. The other reasons cited for consuming the healthy food option was weight loss (15.1%) and its taste (14.6%).
These were some of the findings from a study titled ‘Assessing Millets and Sorghum Consumption Behaviour in Urban India: A Large-Scale Survey’ published in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems on Friday. The study was coordinated by Telangana based International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). It included face-to-face survey of over 15,500 people. After cleansing data, 15,139 observations were subjected to analysis. The respondents include 9,453 women and 5,686 were men, and their average age was 41.2 years. The survey was conducted in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Delhi, in August 2017.
What do millets have?
Apart from protein, depending on the variety and species, millets are also rich in minerals, such as iron, zinc, and calcium, which deliver health benefits to all age groups and genders, as per the published study. One of the obstacles which hamper adopting health food is methods to cook or in which form is the food available. The researchers have also found that 46% of the respondents said that they consumed millets in ready-to-eat products form and 38% ate porridge.
“This represents an interest in modern convenience products as well as in easy-to-prepare traditional foods, hinting at market opportunities for products that are both convenient and culturally sensitive,” as per the researchers.
ICRISAT’S director general Dr Jacqueline Hughes said that it is imperative for millet promoting initiatives to reach the whole population as these crops offer a multitude of benefits. “They help farmers build climate-resilience, contribute to environmental sustainability and offer a range of nutritional benefits, including addressing micronutrient deficiencies and helping manage lifestyle disorders such as diabetes,” said Dr Hughes.