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Hyderabad: A new study has revealed that eating millets can combat obesity and reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
The study was undertaken by five organizations led by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). The researchers analyzed data of 19 studies with nearly 900 people.
Published in Frontiers in Nutrition, the study backed the efforts to popularize millets as diets especially staples, to combat the growing prevalence of obesity in children, adolescents and adults.
The study showed that consuming millets reduced total cholesterol by 8%, lowering it from high to normal levels in the people studied. There was nearly a 10% decrease in low and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (commonly viewed as ‘bad cholesterol’) and triacylglycerol levels in the blood. Through these reductions, the levels went from above normal to normal range. In addition, consuming millets decreased blood pressure with the diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number in the BP reading) decreasing by 5%.
“We were very surprised how many studies on humans had already been undertaken on the impact of millets on elements that impact cardiovascular diseases, and this is the very first time anyone has collated all these studies and analyzed their data to test the significance of the impact. We used a meta-analysis, and results came out very strongly to show significant positive impact on risk factors for cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. S Anitha, the study’s lead author and Senior Nutritionist at ICRISAT.