Millets are grains with a coarse structure that have been grown and consumed in the Indian subcontinent through the millennia. They’re packed with nutrients and are a major part of all fitness enthusiasts’ diets. Here are some of their benefits:
1. Rich in antioxidants: Millets contain phenolic compounds like catechins and ferulic acid, which have antioxidant properties. Catechins help reduce inflammation and reduce toxicity of metals found in certain foods. Ferulic acid increases the wound-healing capacity of the body.
2. Lower the risk of heart disease: Millets are a good source of dietary fibre that help manage blood cholesterol levels, lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
3. Can help regulate blood sugar: Millets have a low glycemic index (GI) and are excellent for those with diabetes. Foods with a low GI allow a steadier release of glucose into the bloodstream. They do not raise blood sugar levels as rapidly as others. The fibre content in millets also increases satiety.
4. Good option for people with gluten-intolerance: Millet is a gluten-free cereal, which makes it a healthier alternative for people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Consuming gluten if you have celiac disease can cause malabsorption of nutrients, abdominal discomfort, constipation, diarrhoea, and headache. That’s when millets come to the rescue as a wholesome food.
5. Support detoxification of the body: Millets have a high-fibre content which helps detoxify the body. Liver is the organ mainly involved in detoxification. Toxins produced during detoxification bind to the dietary fibre and are expelled from the body. If your diet lacks fibre, toxins can get reabsorbed in the liver.
6. Can help relieve gastrointestinal problems: Fibre present in millets works as a prebiotic- food for probiotics (good bacteria that improve gut health). Dietary fibre also bulks stool, which smoothens bowel movement, which can significantly reduce the the risk of colon cancer and provide relief from gas, bloating, and constipation.
7. A better immunity: Millets are rich in macronutrients like complex carbohydrates and proteins and micronutrients such as B-vitamins, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, iron, and calcium, which help boost our immune function, make us more resistant to infections and diseases, and lower the chances of nutrient deficiencies.
8. Promote weight loss: Millets include complex carbohydrates that take time to digest. Eating millets can make you feel full for longer, which curbs hunger pangs, reduces binge-eating and thus maintains body weight.
9. Enhance focus and brain function: Including a variety of millets can improve cognitive function and brain development. Millets contain iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, B vitamins, and proteins, which improve brain function. A deficiency of iron can reduce concentration and decrease focus. Include iron-rich millets like bajra, jowar, and ragi to improve your concentration at work.