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Millets have been around for centuries as a food group but somewhere down the line, we seem to have replaced them with polished rice and maida-mixed wheat.
HYDERABAD: Millets have been around for centuries as a food group but somewhere down the line, we seem to have replaced them with polished rice and maida-mixed wheat. However, with the talk of Covid-19 and the need to raise our immunity comes the mention of millets.
Ancient grains like jowar, ragi, foxtail, bajra and other minor millets are promising cereals which are nutritionally superior to major cereals and serve as a good source of protein, high dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and micronutrients. Millets seem to be in demand again as it is known to be a promising immunity booster.
Dr Tonapi Director, ICAR- Indian Institute of Millets says, that not many know that finger millet is rich in calcium more than double the quantity than milk. Millets perform different functions in our body to boost up immune response towards pathogens”. At the same time, Dr Hemlatha Director, ICMR’s premier institute’ National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) says that phytonutrients that are primarily available in fruits, nuts, vegetables, and whole grains such as millets enhance both native and adaptive immune function and prevent immune function and prevent infection among others.
On the other hand, Dr. Sujatha Stephen Chief Nutritionist Yashoda Hospitals says that diet rich in micronutrients like vitamin A, C and D and minerals including zinc selenium from foods like millets, fruits and vegetables keep our immunity at its best. Millets play an important role in maintaining our gut health as they contain soluble fibre and are also rich in micronutrients like Iron, zinc, selenium which helps in building up immunity.
Says CS Jadhav, CEO of the Hyderabad-based Inner Being Wellness, and incubated at IIMR promoting ready-to-eat, ready-to-cook snacks ranging from traditional jowar idli to millet pizza dough, “Millennials are also exploring healthy options of food and are trying out new recipes by following the youtube channel and getting adapted to our traditional food which is a welcome sign towards building a Swatch Bharat which is need of the day.”