By Kamakshi Ganesh
Growing up in a joint family with my grandparents, millets always featured pretty heavily in our daily meals. Ragi dosas and laddoos, millet upma, etc were staples in our household throughout my childhood. Cut to my 20s – I was living by myself and surviving on fast food and takeout and the memory of eating healthy grains was a thing of the past. A year ago, I finally decided that I had to start making healthier lifestyle choices, and the starting point was to fix my eating habits. The problem for me had always been that I loved rice with a passion and could not stick to ANY diet that required me to cut carbs completely out of my meals. So after doing extensive research to find healthier alternatives to rice and wheat, the humble millets made a comeback into my diet.
There are numerous millet benefits and here are 6 reasons why you should introduce them into your everyday meal plan.
1. Millets are gluten-free
If you are someone who is allergic to gluten or just want to manage your gluten intake, millets are a great alternative to traditional wheat in many recipes. Ragi rotis are not only a healthier alternative to wheat rotis but they are also super tasty! Even if you aren’t intolerant to gluten, ragi rotis are worth introducing into your daily diet. If you prefer the convenience of ready-made ragi flour, Slurrp Farm’s sprouted ragi cereal is a great option that is organic and free of any additives and preservatives.
2. Millets help in weight loss
Millets have a lower calorie count than their traditional grain counterparts. What this means is you can reach your daily nutritional target since millets contain protein, calcium, and other bioactive compounds, but at the same time the high fiber content ensures that you have enough energy to sustain you through the day.
3. Millets satiate hunger
One of the best things about replacing rice and wheat with little millets, ragi or kodo millets is that you can get your carb fix in controlled portions easily. Simple grains like rice and wheat break down very easily after consumption and this leads to us feeling hungry sooner. Whereas all millet types breakdown a lot slower and this keeps our hunger pangs away. You can say goodbye to snacking between meals.
4. Millets have innumerable health benefits
Listing down all the health benefits of millets could be a blog on its own but if you are still on the fence about introducing them into your diet – here is are some of the advantages. The low glycemic index of millets makes it ideal for people with diabetes. Studies have also shown that consuming foxtail and kodo millets help to reduce blood cholesterol which in turn improves cardiovascular health. But wait, there’s more! Since millets are also antioxidant-rich, they also help improve immunity.
5. Millets are versatile
Given the various kinds of millets available, they can be adapted into a large number of recipes. Ragi cereals are the preferred solids most parents introduce their babies too. Dosas, healthy pancakes, and even sushi can be made with millets. There are millet based meals that will be suited to everyone in your house! Be it savory or sweet, breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks – there are innumerable recipes available that are incredibly healthy as well as tasty.
6. Help support our farmers and economy
Last but certainly not least, I have learned that by consuming millets, we are supporting our farmers and the rural economy. Millets were grown in abundance until the green revolution which shifted the tides in favor of rice and wheat production. Until recently, millets have been considered to be the “poor man’s grain” and this couldn’t be further from the truth. In case of a drought, millets are the last standing crop and they can provide economic security to our farmers. Only by eating more millets, can we make it viable for our farmers to grow them.