Termed as the 'miracle grains' or 'crops of the future', millets can not only grow under harsh circumstances but are drought-resistant crops that require fewer external inputs. Millets are certainly a nutritive option when there is an increase in NCDs in children of this era. Millets help in curbing obesity, lowering the risk of hypertension, help in heart health, diabetes, cancers as well as in preventing constipation due to their high dietary fibre content coupled with low glycaemic index.
Millets are remarkable in their nutritive value be it vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre or other nutrients. Right from the time a baby starts taking solids till the elder years, millets have a place in Indian kitchen due to their immense health benefits and versatility. There are numerous millets, known with different names in different languages - Ragi,Jowar and Bajra being the most popular amongst them. Ragi has Essential amino acids like - Tryptophan, Methionine and Valine. They help fight anxiety and depression. They also promote growth of healthy skin and hair, help in tissue repair and muscle coordination. It has minerals - Iron and Calcium, two very important minerals for growing kids. Sprouted Ragi porridge is one of the most preferred complementary foods for babies in India.
Enhanced vitamin C in the sprouts makes the iron present in it more absorbable. There are many more millets with different nutrient profile. For example, Foxtail millet(Navane) is rich in iron and copper which helps in red blood cell development and stimulation for cellular growth. Proso Millet contains high lecithin which supports the neural health system. It is rich in vitamins (Niacin and Folic acid), Minerals (Phosphorus, Calcium, Zinc, Iron) and essential amino acids (Methionine and Cysteine). Kodu Millet(Harka) is a fantastic source of B vitamins, especially niacin, B6, and folic acid.
Also read: 7 Best Millet Recipes | Easy Millet Recipes
Millets are a very good source of fibre, which is needed for a good digestive health. Different varieties of dishes can be made out of millets like little millet upma, foxtail millet khichdi or pulav, millets adai dosa, idli, laddos, cakes and porridges. A multi millet porridge is quite a filling breakfast and very apt if there is shortage of time for preparing and consuming breakfast. It is filling, nutritious, quick and easy to prepare. Here is a list of millets with different names.
- Sorghum Millet (Jola ,Jowar, Cholam, Jonna)
- Finger Millet (Ragi, Nachani, Mundua, Kezhvaragu, Ragula, Parji Pullu)
- Foxtail Millet (Navane, Kangani, Rala, Thinai, Korra, Thina)
- Pearl Millet (Sajje ,Bajra,, Kambu, Sajjalu, Kambalam)Barnyard Millet(Oodalu,Sanwa)
- Little Millet ( Saame ,Moraiyo, Kutki, Shavan)
- Kodu Millet(Harka)
- Proso Millet
- Amaranth Millet(Rajgira, Ramdana, and Chola)
- Buckwheat Millet(Kuttu)
Millets are highly nutritious and at the same time inexpensive. This nutrient-dense food can play an important role in the growth and development of kids of all economic status.
About the Author: Ms. Shalini Arvind is the Chief Dietitian at Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road, Bengaluru.
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