Good for You

Helping combat anemia, malnutrition
  • Iron deficiency leads to anemia, fatigue, delay in cognitive development (in children) and decreased immune functions.
  • Millets are naturally rich in iron, even containing amounts higher than that found in spinach and chicken, for example1. Including millets in the diet – especially pearl millet and little millet – is a great way to combat anemia caused due to dietary iron deficiency2.
  • Absorption (bioavailability) of the iron from millets is increased when consumed with certain foods – such as those containing Vitamin C3.
  • Zinc is a critical component of many enzymes that carry out important biochemical functions.
  • Millets are great sources of zinc: little millet (3.7 mg/100 g), pearl millet (3.1 mg/100 g) and barnyard millet (3.0 mg/100 g) contain much higher levels of zinc compared to rice (1.3 mg/100g) and wheat (2.7 mg/100g)4.
  • Pearl millet provides more easily absorbable zinc than sorghum or rice5,6
Revitalizing bone health
  • Adequate calcium intake is essential to maintain bone health – especially in children and the aged. It’s even more important to ensure that the calcium is absorbed by the body.
  • Studies show that calcium from plant sources such as finger millet is absorbed more effectively than that from supplements7.
Providing essential amino acids – an affordable and effective protein source
  • ‘Minor millets’ such as Proso millet or Foxtail millet contain higher levels of protein than rice and maize 8. They are good sources of essential amino acids – especially methionine9 and lysine?
Helping to control diabetes
  • Upon cooking, the starch present in millets tends to form resistant starch, which slows down the absorption of carbohydrates in the intestine. Besides, millets have high fiber content and low levels of simple sugars. Therefore, they have low glycemic index. In other words, they cause less of a spike in the blood sugar after consumption, as compared to wheat or rice10.
  • Pearl millet and finger millet have remarkably high dietary fiber content (11.49 and 11.18 g/100 g, respectively), compared to wheat (1.2 g/100 g) and rice (2.81 g/100 g)8.
  • High fiber diets have shown to control blood sugar11. The ability of soluble fibers to retard the absorption of glucose in small intestine is a desirable characteristic in developing foods for diabetic individuals12

References

  1. Shobana et al. (2013) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23522794
  2. Finkelstein et al. (2015) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25948782
  3. Hurrell R and Egli I. 2010. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Iron bioavailability and dietary reference values. 1461S-7S.
  4. Cercamondi et al. (2013) https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/143/9/1376/4571564
  5. Gopalan et al. (2009), Geervani and Eggum (1989). Retrieved from: Shobana et al. 2013.Page 8. http://www.researchgate.net/publication/236074583_Finger_Millet_%28Ragi_Eleusine_coracana_L.%29_A_Review_of_Its_Nutritional_Properties_Processing_and_Plausible_Health_Benefits
  6. Kodkany et al. (2013) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23843474
  7. Bhide R, Patil S, Shetty S and Narayanan S. 2013. Comparative bioavailability studies of calcium from different sources. Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and clinical research. 6:147-148.
  8. Longvah T, Ananthan R, Bhaskarachary K and Venkaiah K. 2017. Indian food composition table, National Institute of Nutrition. 1-578.
  9. Singh P and Raghuvanshi RS. 2012. Finger millet for food and nutritional security. African Journal of Food Science 6(4): 77-84.
  10. Thathola A, Srivastava S, Singh G. 2011. Effect of foxtail millet (Setariaitalica) supplementation of serum glucose, serum lipids and glycosylated haemoglobin in Type 2 diabetics. Diabetologia Croatica 40:23-28.
  11. Riccardi et al. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1663443
  12. Onyango et al. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/223687677_Digestibility_and_antinutrient_properties_of_acidified_and_extruded_maize-finger_millet_blend_in_the_production_of_uji

Good for You

  • Finger millet has 3 times the amount of calcium than milk
  • Very high in iron and zinc
  • Low glycemic (GI) index
  • Good levels of protein
  • High in fiber and more

Good for the Planet

  • Serve as an adaptation and mitigation strategy for climate change which is critical
  • A low carbon footprint
  • Survive in high temperatures
  • Survive with very little water

Good for the Farmer

  • A good risk management strategy for farmers
  • Potential to increase yield
  • Multiple, largely untapped uses from food, feed, brewing, and biofuels
  • Potential to grow markets globally
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