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Health benefits of millet from keeping blood glucose level in check to fighting cancer, tips to add them to breakfast

Updated on Sep 13, 2022 12:59 PM IST

Millet for breakfast: Here are the nutritional benefits of consuming millet as breakfast and delicious cereal options to kick-start your morning

Health benefits of consuming millet from keeping blood glucose level in check to fighting cancer, tips to make them a part of your everyday breakfast (Photo by lucia tognacci on Unsplash)
ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi

While working out of home or just catching up on your favorite TV shows and streaming content, breakfast is something that you need not just to eat but enjoy and millets for breakfast are the perfect option to healthily kick-start your day. Millets are the most under-utilized grains in India but they are packed with nutrition and protein, are gluten-free, healthier than other grains and can be used in various dishes.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Prabhu Gandhikumar, Founder and CEO of TABP Snacks and Beverages, highlighted the benefits of consuming millets as breakfast:

1. Keeps blood glucose level in check - Millets have several key benefits that set them apart from wheat and maize. They are high in nutrients, gluten-free, and have a low glycaemic index. They can help stabilize blood sugar levels for diabetic patients and promote insulin sensitivity. In addition, millets are a good source of dietary fibre, proteins, essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.

2. Aids in weight loss - Including millets in your regular diet can help with weight loss, according to studies. Millets are a type of whole grain packed with nutrients and fibre, which can help promote fullness and prevent overeating. One study showed that people who swapped rice for millets lost more weight and had better gut health. If you're trying to lose weight, consider adding millets to your diet.

3. Friend of the heart - Millets are an excellent source of antioxidants, which have been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol levels and total cholesterol and keep blood vessels healthy. These antioxidants play a crucial role in lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke.

4. Fights out cancer cells - Millets, such as foxtail and proso varieties, are effective in inhibiting cancer cell growth. The phytochemicals in millets exhibit antiproliferative effects, lower the formation of cancer cells in the colon, breast, and liver, and don't cause any damage to normal cells.

5. Improves digestion - The dietary fibre in millets helps improve the digestive system's function. It can help with constipation, flatulence, bloating, cramping, and regularizing bowel function. It also helps improve the overall health of other vital organs like the liver and kidney and boosts the immune system.

6. Keeps you filled for longer - Carbohydrates such as rice and wheat are simple for the body to break down and process, often leaving a person feeling hungry soon after eating. It can lead people to turn to unhealthy eating habits to satisfy their hunger. Millets have a more complex structure and take longer for the body to break down, which can help keep people from unhealthy eating habits.

Asserting that the importance of healthy eating and nutrition cannot be taken for granted, particularly in the post-pandemic era, Kanika Malhotra, Consultant Dietician and Diabetes Educator, revealed, "Unlike other cereals, millet is an ancient superfood that has recently gained popularity. Millets have also been designated as "Nutri Cereals" by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. In addition, minerals such as calcium and magnesium are abundant in them."

She added, “Millets have fewer cross-linked prolamins, which may be another factor contributing to millet protein digestibility. Millets are low in GI and aid in the regulation of blood glucose levels, are excellent for weight loss and digestion. Millets also boost your immunity, reduce cardiovascular risk and prevent asthma. A breakfast high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats can help you avoid overeating later in the day. Millets contain 7-12% protein, 2-5% fat, 65-75% carbohydrates, and 15-20% dietary fibre making it an ideal breakfast choice.”

She suggested how you can make millet a part of your everyday breakfast:

1. Millet Upma - Make a wholesome and filling breakfast with foxtail millets and little millets. Preparing this dish in the morning for the family will give you an immense sense of satiety and fulfilment with a little bit of planning by having vegetables chopped the night before.

2. Millet Porridge - As a hot breakfast cereal, try millet. Combine it with milk, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and raisins and you're done! Your basic grain will be transformed into a creamy, fruity, and mildly sweet breakfast option. For a quick breakfast, prepare this porridge the night before, refrigerate it, and gently reheat it in the morning.

3. Millet Smoothie - There is nothing better than starting the day with a delicious cereal drink. Combine roasted cooked ragi, fruits, soaked dates, whey protein, and cocoa powder. Blend it smooth and have it chilled. This makes it a complete, healthy, and nutritious gluten-free breakfast beverage for everyone.

4. Millet Pancakes - Use foxtail millet flour to make fluffy pancakes. Millet flour pancakes are a healthier alternative to regular pancakes because they are made with millet flour. Toddlers and picky eaters will love this pancake recipe.

5. Millet Dosas - Use foxtail millet, little millet and kodo millet to make a vegan, gluten-free yummy South Indian breakfast that can be served with a variety of home-made chutneys and sambhar. This crispy dosa without rice and semolina is a nutritious and diabetic-friendly breakfast option.

Start the day off right with a nutritious breakfast. Make a pledge to yourself this "Poshan Maah 2022" that you will begin the day with a healthy and scrumptious breakfast. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that people who eat breakfast are healthier. Skipping breakfast can cause you to feel hungry, tired and compelled to eat less healthy foods later in the day.

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