Know your millet | Varieties, nutrition, recipes of this superfood

Ragi idli
Ragi idli. Photo: Shutterstock/Santhosh Varghese

Food plays a pivotal role in ensuring the overall health and well-being of the human body. Nutritious food always acts as medicine, especially in modern times when even teenagers fall prey to lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. People have begun realising the importance of superfoods like millet and whole grains and are eager to switch to a healthier diet that includes these.

Millets are storehouses of protein, essential vitamins, calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium and minerals and healthy fibres too. It is essential to include millet in our daily diet to boost immunity while keeping away lifestyle diseases.

Interestingly, millets are considered healthy for diabetes patients as the carbohydrates in it slow down the process of releasing glucose into the blood. Besides, the fibres help in reducing the cholesterol too. Studies have shown that those who eat millet regularly are less prone to heart-related ailments. It also helps in keeping away constipation and ulcers in the small intestine. As millets contain carbohydrates that digest slowly and fibres that aid digestion, they are excellent in case you are trying to shed some extra flab. Onmanorama Food will help you give some insights into the varieties, nutritional value and easy recipes that can be made using millets:

Here is a list of popular millet varieties and their Malayalam and English names:

Kambam : Pearl millet/bajra
Cholam : Sorghum
Ragi/panjappullu : Finger millet/ragi
Thina : Foxtail millet
Koovaraku : Kodo millet
Chama : Little millet
Varak/varak ari : Proso millet
Kavadapullu : Barn yard millet
Know the nutritional values of the various types of millets: 

Here are some everyday recipes using millets:

Ragi idli

Recipes to keep you warm this winter season.(photo:IANSLIFE)
Ragi idli. Photo: IANS

Ragi, known by different names such as panjappullu, koovaraku, and muttari, is indeed a nutrient-rich food. A safe-to-eat millet for people of all ages, it is a rich source of iron and calcium. While including finger millet in your diet is a healthy choice, how to add it can be a headache. One sure way is to make soft, fluffy idlis with them, as they are both tasty and healthy. Here's how to prepare ragi idlis.

Foxtail millet dosa

This dosa also has dried chilly and cumin seeds as ingredients. Photo:vm2002/Shutterstock

Dosa made of foxtail millet is not just delicious but is incredibly healthy too. Click here to learn how to prepare foxtail millet dosa.

Lemon ‘rice’ prepared with foxtail millet

Lemon ‘rice’ prepared with foxtail millet
Lemon ‘rice’ prepared with foxtail millet. Photo: Reshma Mahesh

Foxtail millet is extremely nutritious and could be used to make many delicious items. You can even swap the commonly used grains with millets in certain popular recipes. Check out this easy recipe of foxtail lemon rice (but with no rice) that could be enjoyed as a filling meal

Overripe banana-ragi snack

Overripe bananas are filled with potassium and magnesium. Photo: Deepthi, Thrissur

Bananas turn black when they are overripe. Many don’t like them, but wait if you are about to throw them away. You can combine them with ragi (finger millet) powder to make a tasty and nutritious snack that children will simply love to munch on. Click here for the recipe.

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