MILLET: BENEFITS, USES, AND RISKS
Millet belongs to the grass or Poaceae family- a cereal grain. This crop ismainly cultivated for human consumption or fodder.
Millet is mostly used in developing countries and Asia. It resembles many cereal grains like sorghum portions, especially in content profile. Further, this crop is gluten-free and has a high fiber, antioxidants, and protein contents. This grain is rich in vital nutrients required by the body, therefore, ithelps in controlling blood sugar, boosts digestive health, and enhance heart protection. Because of this, itis utilized for various purposes in different aspects. This blog exploresits benefits, uses, and risks.
Contains high antioxidants
Millet contains high phenolic compounds, specifically catechins and ferulic acid. The antioxidant molecules defend the body against dangerous oxidative stress. Some studies associated ferulic acid with rapid skin protection, anti-inflammatory, and wound healing properties. Also, catechins help in metal poisoning byinhibiting heavy metals from entering the bloodstream. Though all types of millets have antioxidants, those with a darker color like foxtail, proso, and finger millet have a higher amount than their yellow or white counterparts.
Might support digestion
Milletboosts the body’s gastrointestinal system. Further, it assists in alleviating problems like bloating, excess gas, constipation, and cramping. Regular waste elimination and digestion optimizes liver, immune system, and kidney health because they are linked with metabolic processes. Take just enough amounts of millet to avoid healthrisks.
Helps in controlling blood sugar
Millet contains high non-starchy polysaccharides and fiber, which are indigestible carbohydrates that controlblood sugarin the blood. Additionally, it packs a low GI (Glycemic Index), notaffecting blood sugar levels. Therefore, millet is a choice food for diabetic people. For example,research conducted on 105 diabetic people showed that substituting a rice-related breakfast with this food reduced blood sugar amounts. A 3-month research in 64 prediabetic people produced similar results. Therefore, consuming 50 grams or 1/3 cup of foxtail millet daily led to a partial reduction in post-meal and fasting blood sugar levels and de-escalation of insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes has a marker called insulin resistance, whichmanifests when the body’s response to hormone insulin declines and controls blood sugar. Further, another diabetic study revealed that foods with 20 percent finger millet caused a reduction in fasting blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
Milletgives the gut a dense compound called soluble fiber. This reduces cholesterol amounts by trapping fats. A certain study demonstrated that proso and foxtail millet significantly lower triglyceride amounts, and its protein de-escalates cholesterol. Research shows that taking concentrated millet protein reduces triglyceride amounts andgood cholesterol,HDLlevels and adiponectin elevates significantly. This hormone boosts heart health and activates fatty acid oxidation to its anti-inflammatory effect where its level is lower in obese and type 2 diabetes patients.
It is gluten-free
Millet is a superior food for celiac disease individualsor those on gluten-free diets. Gluten is the naturally occurring protein in barley, rye, and wheat grains. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity or celiac disease patientsshould shun milletbecause it stimulates hazardous digestive symptoms like nutrient malabsorption and diarrhea. Whenever you purchase millet, always select the gluten-free certified one for health purposes.
Promotes heart health
The findings of astudyconducted inKentucky University developed a relationship between preventing heart illness and whole grains. Millet is a healthy food thatwhen people incorporate into various diets it offersheart protection. Nutritionists maintainthat millet contains magnesium, a vital mineral for lowering blood pressure and might assist in reducing stroke or heart attack, especially in atherosclerosis cases. Heart complications are linked with high cholesterol levels, and thus, millet’s high fiber quantity is idealfor people tryingto reducecholesterol (below 200mg/dL). Additionally, dietary fiber eliminates LDL or bad cholesterol from the body while strengthening the HDL or good cholesterol impacts.
Millet grains are used in preparing alcoholic drinks. They were traditionally hearty grains used in producing millet beer in some communities, for example, the Tao community living in Orchid Island, Atayal, and Taiwan’s Amis. Furthermore, this crop is the primary ingredient for indigenous alcoholic beverages and distilled beer rakshi in Nepal of the Tamang, tongba, Limbu people, Rai, Sherpa in eastern Nepal. Additionally, millet is the main food source in semi-arid and arid regions globally, and takes part in makingtraditional cuisines. Its porridge is a traditional meal for German, Chinese, and Russiancuisines. Alongside this, millet is a forage crop that feeds animals. Instead of letting it attain maturity, millet is fed to animals by stock usually,cattle and sheep.
These cereals are friendly when taken in moderate quantities. Many people have consumed it as common food for decades. Nevertheless, excessive millet intake causes harmful effects and has gaitrogen, a compound that sabotages the synthesis of thyroid hormones, thereby preventing iodine uptake and use bythe thyroid gland. Iodine deficiency is a health challenge that forms a large thyroid gland called goiter. This disease causes anxiety, dry skin, slow thinking, and depression. For instance, goiter occurred faster in Sudan becausemillet was consumed in large quantities as the main energy source.Therefore, those with thyroid complications should avoid high millet consumption.
Millet is packed with a high nutritional profile, including vitamins, minerals, protein, antioxidants, and fiber. This cereal grain hashealth benefitslike lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Additionally,millet is gluten-free, making it an ideal choice forceliac disease individuals or those following this diet. Its versatility and nutty taste encourage people to prepare alcoholic drinks. However, there are adverse side effects linked with its excessive consumption. Therefore, moderate amounts are recommended.