Saturday, 12 February 2011

Re-introduce millets in your life!

Today's menu is Phulka, baingan ka bharta, pulav and raita announced my host who had invited us for dinner.  While everyone's mouth started watering, I was a bit surprised at the menu.  My host was from north Karnataka and I was looking forward to having traditional north Karnataka cuisine comprising of Jowar roti, greens bhaji, sprouts and brinjal bhaji.  A tad disappointed, I politely asked my host how come she missed out on jowar roti.  'Bachho ko Punjabi ya western khane ka kraze hai!' she said apologetically.

Her frank reply did have truth in it.  Millets are slowly disappearing from our menu and is replaced by cereals like rice and wheat.  Actually speaking, millets are more nutritious and economical than cereals. Millets are small, round shaped grains and a staple in many states especially in rural population.  Millets include jowar (sorghum), bajra, ragi etc.

Nutritional Benefits

  • Millets are easily digestible grains with good starch content. Its protein content is higher (10-13%) than rice or wheat.

  • A good source of dietary fiber which not only helps in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes but also help in improving the good cholesterol content (HDL) in the blood. People who suffer from constipation, stomach ulcers and colitis (inflammation of large intestine) are usually advised to include millets as a part of their daily diet.

  • Since it is gluten free, people allergic to wheat can easily substitute wheat for millets like jowar/bajra.

  • Millets are superior to cereals with respect to the mineral content.  A good source of magnesium, phosphorus, iron, calcium and zinc.

  • Millets are also good source of lecithin and are excellent for strengthening the nervous system.

Tips to include millets in the diet

  • Millets like jowar, ragi can be mixed with the wheat flour to prepare multigrain chapathis

  • Roasted ragi flour can be used to prepare porridge for breakfast.  Alternatively, some jaggery and coconut gratings can be added to the flour, made into balls with milk and given as a tasty and healthy snack to the children

  • Ragi flour can also be added to idli/dosa batter

  • Puffed jowar/ragi can be eaten as a snack similar to puffed rice

  • Malted cereals + millets make an excellent weaning food for the infants

  • Oats is gaining a popularity these days, it can be eaten as porridge/upma

With so many benefits and ways to incorporate millets into our daily diet, it is apt to say that Millets are the king of whole grains. So what are you waiting for? Re-introduce millets in your life and see the difference J

From the desk of your health manager - Kimberley Vassou

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