Millets are tiny spherical grains that are a highly nutritious staple crop in arid or semi-arid regions of the world. Cooked millet is creamy and fluffy much like couscous with a mildly sweet, nutty taste. Millet porridge makes a wonderful healthy breakfast meal.
Gluten-Free Whole Grain
Millet is a whole grain with no gluten, and so it has become a generous source of nutrition for people with gluten allergies and Coeliac’s disease. Millet can be fermented into gluten-free beer, and be further distilled to make other hard liquors. The sweet tasting malt drink boza is also made from millet.
Millet flour can be used for whole grain or multigrain baking. Pure millet flour is ideal for making flat breads. Since it is gluten-free, it cannot leave on its own, and so millet flour must be combined with wheat for raised breads. If you are on a gluten-free diet, you can mix millet flour with xanthan gum instead.
A High Protein Food
Millet is a high protein grain with about 12% proteins by weight. One cup of cooked millets contains 6 grams of proteins consisting of all varieties of essential amino acids including leucine. Studies have shown that high intake of leucine can slow down muscle degradation and help you build leaner muscle mass. Millet is also a good source of tryptophan. This amino acid can raise your serotonin level and helps with stress reduction. At night, a cup of millet porridge can be used as a therapy food to help you get a better night of sleep.
Millet is also a superfood for cardiovascular protection. It is an excellent source of B vitamins, which can help you break down carbohydrates and fat more efficiently. Millet is especially concentrated with vitamin B6, folate and niacin. Vitamin B6 and folate can help reduce the homocysteine level in your blood, preventing cholesterol from bonding and forming deposits. Niacin can help prevent the cholesterol from getting into your blood stream, reducing your plasma cholesterol level. It can also raise the number of high density lipoproteins (HDL) in your blood, which can further protect your blood vessels from atherosclerosis and hemorrhage.
Millet is even more impressive in its mineral content. It is highly concentrated with iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper and manganese. Having a high magnesium and phosphorus diet is super conducive to your blood pressure control. Iron and copper are needed for the production of your red blood cells and can help improve your blood oxygenation.
Zinc and manganese can protect your blood vessel lining, skin and nerve cells and your digestive system from toxins and microbial pathogens. These minerals along with other phyto-antioxidants in millet can help you build a formidable defense against all types of diseases and cancers.
Millet contains small amounts of thyroid peroxidase, a goiterogenic substance that prevents iodine absorption and utilization by the thyroid. In high amounts, millet can increase your risk of iodine deficiency and lead to goiter and other thyroid complications. If you have hypothyroidism, you should be extra watchful about your millet intake, or take an extra iodine supplement as a precautionary step to avoid any complication.