Why are Millets considered the super crop of our ancestors?
Without giving millets their due, the history of food, particularly in the Indian setting, would be incomplete. If we investigate slower and healthier human lifestyles, we realise that some of the most beautiful behaviours have been lost. And in order to move toward a better future, we must reclaim some of these values.
Millets are a category of extremely varied small-seeded grasses that are extensively farmed across the globe as cereal crops or grains for human nourishment and fodder. Millet cultivation on the Korean Peninsula dates back to the Middle Jeulmun Pottery Period (around 3,500–2,000BC). Millets have been mentioned in some of the earliest Yajurveda writings in India, naming foxtail millet (priyangava), Barnyard millet (aanava), and black finger millet (shyaamaka), showing that millet usage was widespread prior to the Indian Bronze Age (4,500BC).
Millet is a nutritional staple and the primary source of protein in most underdeveloped countries. Millet is the sixth most-grown grain in the world, behind corn, rice, wheat, barley, and sorghum. It thrives in drought circumstances and has a high level of natural biodiversity. It may be grown in a range of environments. They are one of the earliest meals known to humans, and they may have been the first cereal grain utilised for household uses.
Millets are popular in the West because they are gluten-free and contain high protein, fibre, and antioxidant content.
Millet crop is divided into two categories — large and small millets, with major millets being the most popular or commonly cultivated varieties.
Large millets include:
finger (or ragi)
Small millets include:
adlay (or Job’s tears)
Millets are rich in carbs. And they also pack several vitamins and minerals.
One cup (174 grams) of cooked millet packs :
Carbs: 41 grams
Fiber: 2.2 grams
Protein: 6 grams
Fat: 1.7 grams
Phosphorus: 25% of the Daily Value (DV)
Magnesium: 19% of the DV
Folate: 8% of the DV
Iron: 6% of the DV
Millets provide more essential amino acids than most other cereals. These compounds are the building blocks of protein.
Finger millet has the greatest calcium concentration of any cereal grain, with 13% of the DV provided per 1 cooked cup (100 grams) and Calcium is required for bone health, blood vessel and muscle contractions, and neuron function.
Millets Have Many Advantages
Millets are high in minerals and phytochemicals. As a result, they may provide a variety of health advantages.
Millets have a high concentration of phenolic compounds, including ferulic acid and catechins. These molecules function as antioxidants, shielding your body from potentially damaging oxidative stress. Catechins bind to heavy metals in your bloodstream to prevent metal poisoning.
Millets are high in fibre and non-starchy polysaccharides, two forms of indigestible carbohydrates that aid in blood sugar regulation.
Millets include soluble fibre, which creates a viscous material in the digestive tract. As a result, lipids are trapped and cholesterol levels are reduced.
Millets are a gluten-free grain, making them a feasible option for anyone suffering from celiac disease or adhering to a gluten-free diet.