Did you know that millet is known as the “queen of groats” (ie. shelled kernels of several cereal grains like barley, rye, wheat, oats etc)? For me it has always been a comfort food, my grandma used to prepare it for me for breakfast with some milk, nuts and honey. I remember how she soaked the dry grains in cold water to remove the bitterness before cooking. As I grew up, I noticed millet seemed to disappear from the store shelves. But now this old-fashioned grain is making a spectacular comeback, know why you should add it to your next grocery shopping list with our Top 5 Health Benefits of Millet!
1. Suitable for children & people with allergies
Millet does not contain gluten which is a protein present in wheat, barley and rye. It means that even people suffering from celiac disease can enjoy its benefits! It also has anti-allergenic properties therefore can be incorporated into a diet for even the youngest kids.
2. Great source of silicon
Silicon directly influences the functioning of your entire body as well as giving your skin a healthy, glowing appearance. It is particularly important in children and elder people as it contributes to good bone mineralisation, density and prevents osteoporosis. Silicon is a building block of a number of your organs such as your brain, pancreas, liver and heart as well as nails, skin and hair. It is also one of the ingredients of collagen which improves the elasticity and youthfulness of your skin.
3. Great heart-healthy food
Millet has a prefect ratio between unsaturated and saturated fats: it is exactly 2:1! It’s crucial for the production of “good cholesterol”, HDL, and removal of “bad cholesterol”, LDL. Eating fats in this proportion decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Millet is also full of antioxidants which not only slow down the process of aging and protect your body from harmful microorganisms but also prevents the development of atherosclerosis (plaque build-up inside of your arteries) as well as lowering your blood pressure. The magnesium present in millet also reduces the risk of heart attack.
4. It deacidifies your body
Your body requires an optimum pH level to function correctly and to keep your electrolyte profile in check. Your pH can be lowered as a result of high consumption of acidic products such as meat, fish, sodas and some types of dairy. This decreases your immunity and can lead to acid reflux, lack of concentration and even depression. Millet has alkaline properties which counteract the actions of acid, thus increasing your pH balance to a more desirable level.
5. Supports your nervous system
Millet contains high levels of folic acid which regulates the growth and development of all the cells in your body. It is particularly important for pregnant women as its deficiency might lead to various developmental defects in a newborn child. Lack of folic acid can also cause anaemia. Serotonin present in millet is a neurotransmitter, deficiency in which leads to depression and anxiety.
Millet is also great used in a vegan diet, when cooked and blended, it has an extremely smooth and creamy texture which reminds me of curd. This versatility means it can be used in a wide range of desserts such as vegan cheesecake (for the first vegan cheesecake I ever made, I used cooked, blended millet and blended cashews in place of cheese!) and panna cotta. It is also an amazing source of protein (as much as 15% of millet is protein!) which makes it even more beneficial for vegans or those switching to a more plant-based diet. Tried millet? Let us know how it was for you below, join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. (Feel free to check out our other healthy eating/diet articles to help Keep YOUR Fit On!)