Reviving Ancient Indian Superfoods: Unleashing The Power of Millets

Reviewed by: | Author: Manoja Kalakanti

The grain millet can withstand droughts and needs little maintenance. Consumer interest is increasing even though it often gets used to feed cattle. This grain has a wide range of culinary applications and various health benefits. Millet matures almost as swiftly as wheat and rice but takes much longer. This makes it the perfect crop, which has contributed to its rapid spread across Asia as well as Europe. Millet is currently the sixth-largest grain crop in the world.

Benefits of Consuming Millets:

The best group of grains for human consumption is millet, which is incredibly high in proteins, fiber, minerals, and other types of vitamins and minerals. These are the conventional grains that are no longer as prevalent in our diets. This is primarily due to ignorance of the importance and nutritional benefits of these grains. Millets can help us grow healthy by preventing all health issues brought on by a lack of essential proteins, vitamins, nutrients, fiber, and other nutritional components. For thousands of years, millet has provided millions of people in Asia, Africa, and India with a significant supply of protein and energy. It enhances recipes with a mild flavor, wholesome proteins, and fiber while being gluten-free.

Due to the high nutritional value of millet, lack of gluten, and lack of ability to cause acidity, they are calming and simple to stomach. They are regarded as the least allergic and most easily absorbed grains in the market. Millets release glucose more slowly and over a longer length of time than paddy rice, particularly polished paddy rice. Diabetes risk is lowered by doing this. Minerals, including iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, are particularly abundant in millet. The highest calcium level is found in finger millet, which has a calcium content of around ten times that of paddy rice or wheat.

Nutraceuticals, often known as phytochemicals, are physiologically active food ingredients that promote health. They have a significant impact on the health care system and serve a crucial role as disease prevention and health protection agents. The scientific community has become increasingly interested in defining the role of nutraceuticals in the treatment of diseases and the creation of functional and designer foods for a variety of uses. Additionally, there is a noticeable increase in the community’s interest in healthy foods among customers who are health conscious. Millets can help with this because of the nutrients and phytochemicals they contain. Dietary fiber, which is found in both soluble and insoluble forms, has been shown to be crucial in the management of metabolic diseases like hyperlipidemia and diabetes mellitus as well as to enhance bowel function and lower the risk of colon cancer.

Nutritional Value of Millets:

Millets are nutritionally superior to other grains, according to the Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR), as they contain a high concentration of proteins, vital amino acids, minerals, and vitamins. According to IIMR, millets include:

  • 65-75 percent carbohydrates,
  • 15-20 percent dietary fiber
  • 7–12% protein
  • 2–5% fat
  • 65–75% carbohydrates

The best source of calcium is finger millet (Ragi), which has a calcium content of 300–350 mg per 100 g.

Millets are an organic supplier of iron, zinc, calcium, and other components that are essential for lowering the problem of malnutrition, which is a significant concern in India, according to the IIMR.

Types of Millets:

There are quite a few types of millet. They are:

Jowar (Sorghum):

Because of its high nutritional value for the consumer, sorghum is one of the most widely utilized cereal grains in the world. Sorghum is discovered to be high in vitamins and minerals, as well as having a high protein level and making up most of your daily requirement for dietary fibre. Sorghum cereal has roughly 3.5 grams of fat per 100 grams, of which only 0.6 grams are saturated.

Ragi (Finger Millet):

A little millet variant known as ragi, or finger millet, is full of minerals and has few calories. Ragi flour is renowned for its high nutritional value and numerous health advantages, including benefits for skeletal health, diabetes control, pregnancy, and skin care. Due to its high calcium content and ease of digestion, it is used as a weaning food for infants six months and older.

Everything You Need to Know About Ragi Malt Benefits and Recipes

Kora (Foxtail Millet):

Foxtail millet is a nutritious powerhouse like other millets. You can get a filling daily amount of protein, good fats, carbs, and excellent dietary fiber from these tiny seeds because they’re high in vitamin B12. In addition to substantial levels of lysine, thiamine, iron, and niacin, it also provides abundant levels of calcium. Millets must be fully cooked for optimal benefit; however, this millet is not meant to be paired with milk because it may seriously upset the stomach.

Arke (Kodo Millet):

The must-have millets in the diet are kodo millets or miraculous millets. The goodness of carbs, proteins, and dietary fibers are abundant in kodo millets. It includes minerals like calcium, iron, and phosphorus, as well as vitamins like niacin and riboflavin. Antioxidants and phenolic substances like vanillic acid, gallic acid, tannins, ferulic acid, etc., are among the phytochemicals present in kodo millets.

Sama (Little Millet):

Sama, also referred to as tiny millet, is a type of millet that belongs to the Poaceae family. Except for its smaller size, this cereal behaves similarly to proso millet. Sama, often known as little millet, is quite nutritious. The highest supply of calcium (300–350 mg/100 g) is finger millet, whereas other small millets are excellent sources of phosphorus and iron. Protein composition varies between 7 and 12%, whereas fat content varies between 1 and 5.0%. Methionine, cystine, and lysine are all abundant in millet protein, which also has a well-balanced amino acid profile.

Bajra (Pearl Millet):

Bajra, sometimes called pearl millet, is a grain that is high in energy and is sometimes referred to as a superfood. It contains a lot of insoluble fiber, which lowers cholesterol and blood sugar and aids in weight loss. Including entire foods with a low-calorie density in your diet will help you lose weight. The caloric density of bajra is 1.2. As a result, low-calorie density foods like bajra can aid in weight loss.

Sanwa (Barnyard Millet):

To get the most nutrients out of millet after preparing food, they must all be soaked. Barnyard millets provide a lot of nutrients. They are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and iron. 100 g of barnyard millet during pregnancy provides 100% of the daily allowance for iron and 67% of the daily allowance for folate. It also contains a lot of calcium, which is good for your bones and teeth.

Delicious Millet Recipes you can try at Home:

Ragi halwa

Preparation time: 20 minutes, Serving Size: 1 Person

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 139
  • Protein: 2.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 24.7 g
  • Fats: 3.4 g
  • Fiber: 3.7 g


  • ½ cup ragi flour
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 cup hot milk
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 6 to 7 almonds – slivered or chopped finely
  • 6 to 7 pistachios – slivered or chopped finely


  • Heat ghee in a pan or kadai, and add half a cup of ragi flour to the pan.
  • Keep stirring the flour for 3 to 4 minutes on low heat.
  • When the mixture starts bubbling, add ¼ cup brown sugar, and stir very well.
  • Then add 1 cup of hot milk. Continue stirring ragi halwa till it starts thickening.
  • Now sprinkle cardamom powder, switch off the flame, and transfer the halwa into the serving dish.
  • Garnish with chopped almonds and pistachios.


  • Ragi is a super millet with natural proteins and a cereal that helps in lowering bad cholesterol and slows down the process of aging through its antioxidants.
  • This dish has natural coolant properties and reduces gastritis. This Ragi Halwa Recipe is a great dish for toddlers and growing children.

Best ragi recipes for weight loss

Millet Pongal

Preparation time: 25 minutes, Serving Size: 4

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 276
  • Protein: 9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 35 g
  • Fats: 10 g
  • Fiber:10 g


  • ½ cup foxtail millet
  • ½ cup Yellow Moong Dal
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoon Ghee
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2-3 green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon ginger finely chopped
  • 1 stalk curry leaves
  • 8-10 cashew nuts
  • salt to taste


  • Heat 1 teaspoon of ghee in a pressure cooker and add the washed dal, Sauté well for 1-2 minutes till the dal turns light brown or till aromatic. Then add millet.
  • Add 4 cups of water, and mix well.
  • Close the lid and put the whistle weight on.
  • Cook for 4-5 whistles on medium flame and turn off the gas.
  • Once the pressure has been released, open the lid and mix the mixture well.
  • Meanwhile, in a pan, add the remaining ghee. Once it’s hot, add jeera and black pepper and sauté for a few seconds.
  • Next, add the green chilies, ginger, curry leaves, and cashew nuts. Sauté for another 30 secs till cashews turn light golden brown
  • Add this tempered mixture into the Pongal and boil.
  • Millet Pongal is ready, served with yogurt and raita.

Final words:

A cereal grain from the grass family called millet is a rich source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. As a result of its nutritious content, it is frequently referred to as a “superfood.” The best feature is that this grain can be used into any dish, including sides, salads, and main courses. Millets perform better than other crops, particularly when compared to widely consumed ones like rice, on several fronts. They have many health benefits for the body, but they also make a fantastic addition to regular Indian diet meal alternatives because they are grown without the use of harmful pesticides and other chemicals. Millets strive to work on the various wellness sides of the body to ensure that you can manage your weight with a healthy, balanced diet. Millets are advantageous for people with high blood cholesterol and diabetes, too. Millets should therefore be a regular part of a person’s diet to manage weight better and generate a healthy state of the body.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How many calories are there in a bowl of millet?

One bowl of millet which is about 174 grams, contains about 207 calories.

2. Can we eat millet daily?

Millets can be included in a balanced diet and consumed regularly, yes. A family of small-seeded grasses known as millets has been domesticated for thousands of years and is a common diet in many parts of the world.

3. Which millets are rich in calcium?

Among millets, finger millet, sometimes referred to as ragi, is one of the greatest sources of calcium. It is a great option for people wishing to enhance their calcium intake because it has about 344 mg of calcium per 100 grams.

4. Which millet is best for diabetes?

Because it has a low glycaemic index and delivers glucose into the bloodstream more gradually than other grains, foxtail millet is known for helping to control blood sugar levels. It has a lot of dietary fibre, which promotes healthy digestion and can prevent blood sugar increases.

5. Which millet is equal to rice?

Foxtail Millet, one of the several millets, is frequently recommended as a decent rice substitute. Foxtail millet can be prepared and used similarly to rice because of its comparable grain structure. In a lot of classic meals, it frequently replaces rice.

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