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Know About millets

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What are Millets?

Millets are coarse grains which have been traditionally grown and eaten in the Indian subcontinent for the last 5000 years. They contain high nutritional value and are rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals and fibres. Unlike other cereals, millets require little water and ground fertility. They have long enjoyed the tag of “poor man’s food grain” due to its sheer affordability. However, of late, it has come into the notice of fitness-centric youngsters who are learning the wellness potential of this humble food.

Millets are generally divided into two broad categories –

  1. Major Millets
  2. Minor Millets

Types of Millets

Millets come in different shapes and sizes. The two broad categories of millets discussed above contain numerous kind of millets. We will take a look at some of these different type of millets below –

Major Millets

Minor Millets

Major Millets

1. Sorghum millet(Jowar)


Sorghum, known as Jowar in Hindi, is a cereal grain that grows tall like corn and is rated among the healthiest grains for weight loss and overall health. It is a gluten-free grain, making it an excellent alternative food for people who have gluten intolerance. Jowar can help improve health and fight a number of diseases.

2. Pearl millet(Bajra)

Pearl millet or bajra is incredibly nutrient-dense. It contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium, protein, fibre and iron. Practising daily consumption of pearl millet can be very beneficial for your health, such as helping you fight against Type II Diabetes.

3. Finger millet(Ragi)

Finger millet, i.e. Ragi, is used as a healthier cereal substitute for rice and wheat. The millet variant is gluten-free and rich in protein and amino acids. Finger millet is supposed to aid brain development in growing children.

Minor Millets

Foxtail millet
Foxtail millet, or as it is indigenously called, kakum/kangni is commonly available as semolina or rice flour. Foxtail millet contains blood-sugar balancing healthy carbohydrates. Its iron and calcium content also helps strengthen immunity. What more? It helps regulate your blood cholesterol and increases HDL cholesterol levels in your body.
Little millet
Little millet is also a great millet option for those looking to lose weight. You can eat it as a rice replacement. It is high in fibre and filled with numerous minerals such as potassium, zinc, iron and calcium. It is also packed with the health benefits of vitamin B and works as an antioxidant for your body, once consumed.
Kodo millet​
Kodo millet scientifically knows as Paspalum scrobiculatum, is an annual grain that is grown in primarily in India, but also in the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and in West Africa where it originates. It is grown as a minor crop in most of these areas, with the exception of the Deccan plateau in India where it is grown as a major food source. Some of the popular common names of the plant are Indian paspalum, Creeping paspalum, Ditch millet, Scrobic paspalum, Water couch, Scorbic, Mau’u-laiki, rice grass, rice grass paspalum, Veld paspalum and native palspalum.
Barnyard millet
It can be served as porridge or Kheer to six to eight-month-old babies, and as cheela, dosa, idlis for children above one year. The flour is not easily available in the market, but you can grind it at home. Whole barnyard millets are commonly used to prepare upma, khichdi and pulav.
Proso millet
Proso millet is important minor millet grown in India. The crop is able to evade drought by its quick maturity. Being a short duration crop (60-90 days) with relatively low water requirement, this escapes drought period and, therefore, offers better prospects for intensive cultivation in dry land areas. Under unirrigated conditions, proso millet is generally grown during kharif season but in areas where irrigation facilities are available, this is profitably grown as summer catch crop in high intensity rotations.
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