New Delhi: Millets – a cereal grain that belongs to the grass family are repository of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Thus, it is often touted as ’superfood’ because of its nutritional value. The best part is that this grain can be used in everything – from sides to salads and mains. There are different kinds of Millets, which include:
– Jowar (Sorghum)
– Ragi (Finger Millet)
– Korra (Foxtail Millet)
– Arke (Kodo Millet)
– Sama (Little Millet)
– Bajra (Pearl Millet)
– Chena/Barr (Proso Millet)
– Sanwa (Barnyard Millet)
Known as the ancient native crop of India, Millet is also one of the oldest cultivated grains in the world. It has been growing throughout Africa and Southeast Asia for thousands of years. According to the Ministry of Agriculture in India, Millets are traditional grains, grown and consumed in the Indian subcontinent from the past 5000 years.
According to researchers of International Crops Research Institute of the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), if rice is replaced by millet in meals for a duration ranging from three months to four and a half years, it can boost growth in children and adolescents by 26 per cent to 39 per cent.
Here’s a breakdown of the nutritional value of Millets:
1. Nutritional Content That Makes Millet A Superfood
As per the Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR), Millets are nutritionally superior to other grains, it contains high number of proteins, essential amino acids, minerals and vitamins. IIMR states that Millets contain:
– 7-12 per cent protein
– 2-5 per cent fat
– 65-75 per cent carbohydrates
– 15-20 per cent dietary fibre
– Finger millet (Ragi) is the richest source of calcium, it contains around 300-350 mg/100 g
IIMR also adds that Millets are also a natural source of iron, zinc, calcium and other nutrients that are essential for curbing the problem of malnutrition, which is highly prevalent in India.
2. Consuming Millets Improve Digestive System
According to Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI), Millets have high amount of dietary fibre therefore it often acts as a “prebiotic,” which means it supports good bacteria in your digestive system. FSSAI also states that dietary fibre is also important for adding bulk to stools, which helps keep you regular ((MEANING?)) and reduces your risk of colon cancer.
3. Millets Are Good For Your Skin
According to IIMR, along with the nutritional properties, Millets have higher content of niacin, which helps the body manage more than 400 enzyme reactions. Niacin is also very important for healthy skin and organ function.
4. Millets Help Fight Diseases
Food Security and Standard Authority of India adds that millets can help prevent cardiovascular diseases as millet consumption decreases triglycerides and C. Millets are also known for preventing Type 2 diabetes and reducing blood pressure.
5. Millets Control Blood Sugar
IIMR states that Millets contain slow releasing glucose and are low in glycemic index. According to the experts, this is a very important factor in fighting the global problem of diabetes. IIMR also adds that it is well recognized that the incidence of diabetes mellitus and gastro-intestinal tract related disorders are minimal among the population using Millet grains as staple food.
6. Millets Protect Your Heart
As per IIMR, The fiber present in Millets help reduce the amount of “bad” cholesterol in the blood. Secondly, the fiber helps in absorbing cholesterol, allowing it to be safely carried out of your system. Some studies have shown that consuming Millet regularly can also raise your “good” cholesterol levels and lower triglycerides.
Now, because cholesterol is a big risk factor for heart disease, eating Millet indirectly helps keep your heart health.
7. Millets Are Also Good For The Planet
Apart from all these health benefits of the crop, Millet is also tagged as ‘Smart Crop’ as there are advantages loaded in its favour such as low-maintenance, disease, pest resistance and ecological benefits, states International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics. It also adds that Millet is known as C4 crops as they have higher efficiency in absorbing and utilizing carbon dioxide. It also adds that most varieties of Millets are well known for their hardiness and have the capacity to withstand prolonged periods of drought, high temperatures and still produce grains and fodder.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.