Read full article By Sonal Ved @ Vogue Photo Credit: Getty Images
From being hyper-nutritional and multi-purpose to reducing chances of obesity in children, these are all the benefits of stocking up on this variety of grains
Millets are to me, what beans are to Alison Roman. I spend a large part of my day looking at ways in which I can add more millets to my diet. Nutrients and micro-nutrient rich millets are a powerhouse of everything from dietary fibre, rare amino acids, they are rich in minerals like calcium and iron and don’t even get me started on their protein content.
Indian millets are so good for you, it would be foolish not to stock up on them as readily as we stock up on our monthly stash of non-Indian superfoods. “Millets are easily digestible, less allergenic, gluten-free and rich in nutrients,” says Rakhee Jain Arora, lifestyle and nutrition coach.
In my kitchen, millets are turned into everything from a gloopy porridge, crisp dosas, airy salads to parathas and soups. It’s a great alternative to when you want to skip rice or wheat and instead opt for something that sustains you longer. “Slow release of energy from millets is facilitated by their fibre content and medium to low glycemic load per portion, meaning a steady release of sugars as opposed to refined flours that spike blood glucose,” says Jain Arora.
In India alone, we have over a dozen varieties of millets, while over 500 varieties exist worldwide. Indian is also the largest producer of millets in the world, which explains our long history with this ingredient.
According to a paper titled ‘Growth pattern of millets in India’ submitted to the Agricultural Research Communication Centre, for developing countries especially, millets play a significant role in the food and nutrition security. Millets are an all-season crop and produce multiple securities like food, fodder, health, nutrition, livelihood and ecological benefits and can grow easily on soil that may be too poor for other grains. However, the area under millet production is shrinking rapidly since the Green Revolution period, due to relentless promotion of other crops such as rice and wheat.
But to put the spotlight back on this hyper nutritional grain, last month, the United Nations unanimously (193 members, supported by over 70 nations) declared 2023 to be the International Year of Millets. Fortunately for us, there is no better place to understand the beauty of this ingredient than in our own kitchen.