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Unlocking the Potential of Millets for Weight Loss

Recent times have seen a rise in lifestyle diseases like diabetes and obesity and one of the primary causes of this being poor nutrition and high salt, sugar and fat in the diet.


While the answer to overcome this is by adding more whole food in to your diet. There is more to whole grain than wheat, rice and corn.


Enter the humble millet. An excellent source of nutrition, available freely, cheap yet largely ignored. Millet, though an integral part of our diet for many generations, has been all but forgotten till recently. If you google, it goes back to the Mohenjo Daro civilisation.


Did you know

The staple food of ancient India was millet, not rice.


What Exactly Are Millets?


Millets are small-seeded coarse grains that have been farmed for thousands of years as a major food source all throughout the world. These ancient grains are very healthy and have a number of benefits.

They are gluten-free and include a lot of fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Since millets may be used to produce porridge, bread, rice substitutes, and even desserts, they are mostly known for their versatility in the kitchen.


With their impressive nutrient profile and culinary adaptability, millets have become a wholesome and sustainable choice for a well-rounded and healthy diet.




TYPES OF MILLETS


  • PEARL MILLET OR BAJRA

It is rich in phosphorus which helps cells store energy, and many other vital minerals. Often cooked in winter, pearl brings warmth to the body and increases energy levels.

This is a high-fibre millet with a low glycemic index that is ideal for weight loss. It keeps you fuller for longer periods of time, and helps manage blood sugar levels.

  • FINGER MILLET OR RAGI

Has the highest calcium content of any millet and grows easily in arid areas. Often referred to as an anti-diabetic grain, its high fiber content also checks constipation, cholesterol and intestinal cancer. Its high calcium levels, which help strengthen bones. The low-fat content and dietary fibre also make it a good choice for weight loss.

  • FOXTAIL MILLET OR NAVANE

This millet is highly regarded as a healing food for postpartum and digestive health with high content of iron.

  • LITTLE MILLET, SAMAI OR KUTKI

The smallest of the millet family, is very easy to cook and is often simply used as rice. Higher iron content is beneficial for those with anemia.

  • SORGHUM OR JOWAR/JOLA

This millet is rich in potassium, phosphorus, calcium, iron and zinc and much easier to digest.

  • BARNYARD MILLET

One of the highest fibre and iron content amongst fellow millets, it has a low carb content is a good source of B-complex vitamins.

  • PROSO MILLET OR BARAGU/VARAGU

Though its protein content is similar to that of wheat, it is considered a far higher quality protein source because it is not only rich in essential amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and methionine), it is also gluten-free.

  • KODO MILLET OR ARAKA

It has a high amount of lecithin and is excellent for strengthening the nervous system. It is also rich in B vitamins, especially niacin, B6 and folic acid, as well as the minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc.


Millets Benefit In Weight Loss


High in fiber, rich in essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals, naturally gluten-free, alkaline, non-allergenic, they are thus easily digestible.

A low glycemic index makes them an ideal rice substitute, good for cholesterol, diabetes and weight loss.

Good for those with diabetes, obesity or other lifestyle diseases.


According to traditional medicine, millet support digestion, improve appetite, nourish prana and blood deficiencies, increase lactation, harmonize the stomach, and calm the sleep.


Millet Recipe for weight loss
Millet Recipe for weight loss


Let’s take a look at the millet health benefits and why it is known to be a millennial must-have:


  1. Balances Your Blood Glucose Levels : Millet's low glycemic index helps regulate blood glucose levels by causing a slow release of glucose into the bloodstream, preventing rapid spikes in blood sugar. By including millet in their diet, individuals can stabilize blood sugar levels, reduce cravings, and avoid sudden insulin surges, contributing to overall health and well-being.

  2. Aids in Weight Loss: Millet lower BMI due to its low-calorie content and high levels of magnesium, bioactive compounds, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Its nutrient density supports overall health, despite being low in calories. Additionally, millet's complex carbohydrates provide sustained energy and help prevent blood sugar spikes, making it a valuable addition to a weight loss regimen when combined with proper exercise and a balanced diet.

  3. Keeps Your Heart in Good Shape: Millet contains antioxidants like anthocyanidins, beta-glucans, policosanols, tannins, flavonoids, and lignans. They lower your LDL cholesterol to help you maintain healthy blood vessels, clear clots and reduces your risk of developing heart disease or stroke.

  4. Battles Cancer Cells: Peroxidase found in the foxtail millet barn has been shown to prevent the growth of colon cancer cells along with suppressing the formation of cancerous cells in your liver and breasts without damaging the normal cells.

  5. Promotes Digestion :The dietary fibres in millet are known to improve your digestion by fighting constipation, cramps, bloating, flatulence, and regulating bowel movements. This improves the organ health of your kidneys, liver, and immune system.

  6. Gives Stronger Bones: Since millet consists of necessary vitamins, minerals, iron, zinc, manganese, potassium, magnesium, copper, and calcium, it is known to be a powerhouse of nutrients to strengthen your bones.

  7. Strengthens Your Cardiovascular System: Magnesium regulates your heart rhythm. And since millet consists of enough magnesium, it helps balance your heart rate at a normal pace, elevate protein adiponectin and protect your cardiovascular tissues.

  8. Acts as an Agent for Anti-ageing The presence of amino acids like L-proline and L-lysine creates collagen responsible for giving your skin tissues a structure. If you start consuming millet regularly, collagen formation will increase. This will help develop skin elasticity, reduce wrinkles, and prevent ageing.


HOW TO USE MILLETS IN YOUR DAILY DIET - Millet Recipes


There’s no need to give up the food you love. Just replace one or two of the ingredients with millets and you’ll end up eating a tasty, balanced diet that’s nutritious too. Here are some of the things you can do:

  1. Use millets, instead of rice: Replace rice with millet at just one meal and feel the difference. Try a half and half millet and rice mix to start with

  2. Make dosa batter at home: Use millets instead of rice. Or just try it with a half and half millet and rice mix

  3. Healthier pulau: Use lots of veggies, and millet instead of rice

  4. Sweet ideas: Make millet payasam with palm sugar or jaggery

  5. Breakfast: Try millet instead of oats. Cook and top with raisins, brown sugar or nuts

  6. Make a burger: Combine with cooked beans or peas to make vegetarian “burgers. Use your usual seasoning, shape into patties and bake or pan-fry.

  7. Soups and stews: Rinse millet and throw in a handful into your crock pot. Keep for approx. 30 minutes for it to absorb the liquid and become tender. Or cook separately and add.

5 Nutritious And Delicious Millet Recipes


Here are 5 delicious Indian millet recipes that will help you have a wholesome meal without compromising on the nutritional value:


1. Millet Dosas

Use a combination of foxtail millet and urad dal to make these crispy and nutritious dosas. Soak them separately for a few hours before grinding them into a smooth batter. To improve the flavour and texture of the batter, leave it to ferment overnight.

Heat a tawa (griddle) and distribute a ladleful of batter into a thin circular shape. Cook until both sides are golden brown. Serve these nutritious dosas with coconut chutney and sambar for a tasty and nutritious meal.


2. Millet Upma

Upma is a popular South Indian breakfast dish that can be easily prepared using millets. Select a millet variety, such as tiny millet or barnyard millet.

In a pan, toast the millet until fragrant, then sauté the onions, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and green chillies. Combine the roasted millet, water, and salt in a mixing bowl. Cook covered until the millet is fluffy and tender. Serve hot, garnished with fresh coriander leaves, for a filling and nutritious breakfast choice.


3. Millet Energy Balls

Energy balls made from millet are a convenient, nutrient-dense snack. Begin by cooking your preferred millet, such as pearl millet or finger millet.

In a mixing dish, combine cooked millet, chopped nuts such as almonds and cashews, seeds such as chia or flax seeds, finely chopped dates. Mix thoroughly, then roll the mixture into little bite-sized balls. Refrigerate for a few hours or until firm.


4. Millet Salad

Cook any millet variety, such as Kodo millet or Proso millet, for a refreshing and nutritious salad. Once it has been cooked and cooled, toss the millet with a variety of diced vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots, and herbs such as cilantro or mint.

Drizzle with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper dressing. For extra flavour and texture, add feta cheese, roasted almonds, or dried fruits to the salad.


5. Vegetable Millet Khichdi

Choose a millet such as barnyard millet or foxtail millet to make a hearty and filling millet khichdi. Rinse the millet and soak it for 30 minutes with the split yellow lentils (moong dal). Heat oil or ghee in a pressure cooker and temper cumin seeds, ginger-garlic paste, and spices such as turmeric, coriander powder, and garam masala.

Mix in the soaked millet and lentils, as well as the carrots, peas, and beans. Pour in the water, season with salt, and cook under pressure until everything is well cooked. This nutritious khichdi with yoghurt or pickle for a complete meal.


Side Effects Of Overconsumption Of Millets


While millets offer numerous health benefits, overconsumption can lead to certain side effects. Consuming them in moderation is essential to maintaining a healthy diet. Here are some potential side effects of overconsumption:

  • Digestive issues: Because of its high fibre content, millet can induce bloating, gas and stomach pain in people with delicate digestive systems.

  • Thyroid interference: Some millets, such as pearl millet and sorghum, contain goitrogens that, if ingested in excess, might interfere with thyroid function. This could result in thyroid problems.

  • Mineral imbalance: Millets contain phytic acid, which can inhibit mineral absorption, such as iron, zinc, and calcium. Mineral shortages may result from improper processing or cooking processes.

  • Oxalate content: Certain millets, like amaranth, contain oxalates. A high intake of oxalate can cause kidney stones in susceptible individuals.

  • Allergic reactions: Although rare, some individuals may be allergic to specific millet varieties, resulting in allergic reactions such as skin rashes, itching, or respiratory issues.

Remember, balance is key. Those with preexisting medical conditions or specific concerns should consult a healthcare professional before incorporating millet into their diet.



Millets stand tall as a powerhouse of nutrition, taste, and weight loss benefits. From their rich nutritional profile, packed with essential minerals, fibre, and antioxidants, to their ability to promote satiety and support healthy digestion, millets have earned their well-deserved reputation as a superfood.




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