Millets: The Ancient Grain Powerhouse for Modern Diets | Refresh

Posted on April 9th, 2024 11:25 AM
Millets: The Ancient Grain Powerhouse for Modern Diets

What are millets?

  • Millets are a very diverse species of small-seeded plant which has been grown for countless years in different regions around the globe and is used as a primary source of food throughout.
  • Millets are warm-weather grains from the plant family.

Some common types of Millets:

There is a wide variety of species of Millets but some common types of Millets are:

Pearl Millet (Bajra):

  • Widely grown in Africa & the Indian subcontinent.
  • Rich in iron, magnesium & fiber.

Foxtail Millet: (also called Kangni):

  • Originated in China but also cultivated in India.
  • It is high in protein, minerals & fiber.

Finger Millets (Ragi):

  • The dominant millet in parts of Africa & Asia.
  • Extremely rich in calcium, iron & amino acids.

Sorghum (Jowar):

  • It originated in Africa and is cultivated widely in tropical and subtropical regions.
  • Rich in fiber, protein & antioxidants.

Nutritional Value of Millets:

Some of the essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber are mentioned below: (Source of content -

Millet Calcium (mg) Minerals (g) Fibre (g) Proteins (g)
Pearl 38 2.3 1.3 10.6
Foxtail 31 3.3 8 12.3
Finger 344 2.7 3.6 7.3
Sorghum 54 1.6 4 10
Proso 14 1.9 2.2 12.5

Nutritional value of Millets to other grains like rice and wheat: (Source of content - )

Millets Proteins (g) Fibre (g) Minerals (g) Calcium (mg)
Sorghum 10 4 1.6 54
Pearl 10.6 1.3 2.3 38
Finger 7.3 3.6 2.7 344
Foxtail 12.3 8 3.3 31
Proso 12.5 2.2 1.9 14
Rice 6.8 0.2 0.6 10
Wheat 11.8 1.2 1.5 41

Importance of Millets in a balanced diet:

Millet, a nutritional powerhouse of grains, has a lot of health benefits. Millets stand out as a wholesome addition to your diet.

1. Nutrient Rich:

  • Millets are high in protein, nutrition, vitamins and minerals.
  • One cup of Millets flour provides approximately 455 calories, containing about 5 grams of healthy fats, 89.4 grams of carbohydrates, 4.2 grams of dietary fiber, 2 grams of naturally occurring sugars, and a notable 12.8 grams of protein (source:

2. Improves Heart Health:

  • Millets provide a rich source of magnesium.
  • It maintains a healthy cardiovascular system.
  • Incorporating Millets in your diet can be beneficial for cardiovascular well-being, offering a natural way to protect your heart.

3. Weight-conscious:

  • Millets make you feel full for a longer period. It controls your eating portions.
  • They support your aim for weight loss equally with the necessary nutrients to keep you healthy.

4.  Gluten-free:

  • Millets are a great source of protein which is present in Millets flour, which makes it the finest choice for any individual.
  • Gluten-free refers to a protein found in several grains which means eating only whole foods like fruits, vegetables, etc.

5. Controls Diabetes:

  • Millets are great for controlling blood sugar levels as they have a low glycemic index (A measure of the rise in glucose levels generated by consuming a certain type of carbohydrate as compared with eating a normal quantity of glucose).
  • People who are diabetic must have Millets in their diet to keep sugar levels under control.

6. Prevents digestion problems:

  • Millets have a great portion of fiber in them which contributes to digestion and helps to maintain a good bowel movement.
  • Millets, by preventing digestive problems, improve our immune system.

7. Environmental benefits of Millets:

  • Millets are drought-resistant crops that can be adaptable to various uncertain climates.
  • These crops require minimal water for their cultivation, which results in sustainable development.
  • Millets help to prevent soil degradation by sustainable farming practices like crop rotation.

Millets in comparison to Rice and Wheat:


  • Millets possess variants of essential vitamins and minerals.
  • They possess vitamins like B-complex vitamins, niacin, B6 & folic acid.
  • It also contains minerals such as phosphorus, manganese & zinc.
  • These minerals promote general wellness.
  • Millets have distinctive features like fiber content which is required for digestion, bowel movement & constipation.

Comparison with Rice: 

1.  Lower Glycemic Index:

Millets normally have a lower glycemic index. The glycemic index (GI) is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates. It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own compared to rice, which results in lower sugar levels.

2.  Nutrient-dense crop:

Per serving, the nutrient content in Millets is higher than the rice content. 

Comparison with Wheat:

  • Millets are naturally gluten-free, which is excellent for diabetic patients. It controls blood sugar levels as Millets exclude gluten, which is a type of protein found in wheat, barley & other grains.
  • Millets leave behind wheat in terms of nutritional value.

Inclusion in Everyday Diets:

With its essential nutrients and diversity, Millets fit in well with plant-based, vegetarian, and vegan diets. These gluten-free grains help vegetarians and vegans meet their protein requirements because they are a great source of plant-based protein.

  1. Vegetarian diets:
    • Millets are high in protein and help meet the protein needs of a vegetarian diet.
    • Act as a nutritious substitute for refined grains, including essential nutrients.
  2. Vegan Diets:
    • Millets are made entirely of plants; no animal ingredients are used.
    • Provide a sufficient amount of the B vitamins, iron, and zinc needed for a vegan diet.
  3. Plant-based diets:
    • Since Millets are whole grains, they support the benefits of a plant-based diet.
    • In plant-based meals, a high fiber content promotes satisfaction and improves digestion.
  4. Free from Gluten:
    • Since Millets are naturally gluten-free, they can be consumed by anyone sensitive to gluten.


  • In conclusion, we can say that including Millets in your diet regularly is a simple but efficient way to start living a healthy lifestyle.
  • By adding millet to your diet, you'll improve your general health and well-being while simultaneously enjoying the benefits of its rich nutritional profile.
  • Take your meals to the next level and nourish your body by including Millets as a healthy, sustainable part of your everyday diet.


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