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Different Types of Millet and their Health Benefits


Millets are a group of diverse whole cereal grains that are well-known for their high nutritional content. Traditionally, Millets had been an integral part of the diet in Indian homes. There are many different types of Millets grown and consumed in Indian. They have been making a resurgence in recent years as more and more consumers opt for a healthier lifestyle.

There are many different types of Millets available in India. Some of them are more common types of Millets, whereas some are not as popular and widely consumed. Let us learn about each type of Millet, their uses, nutritional content and benefits for the human body.

  1. Finger Millet/Ragi

    By far the most popular type of Millet in Indian homes, Finger Millet is more popularly known by the names Ragi or Nachni. Ragi is consumed in the form of Ragi Flour which is used to prepare a number of delicacies including flatbreads such as Rotis, Dosas and Chillas. Ragi Flour is also used to prepare wholesome breakfast recipes such as Ragi Idli and Ragi Porridge.
    Finger Millet benefits consumers who have Gluten sensitivity since it is naturally Gluten-free. Ragi flour is also rich in dietary fibre which aids in digestion and helps alleviate many digestion related problems. It is a source of Protein, Iron, Calcium, and antioxidants which are highly beneficial for the overall well-being of the human body.

  2. Foxtail Millet

    Another popular type of Millet grown in India, the Foxtail Millet is known by many different names across various regions and cultures of our country. In Hindi, Foxtail Millet is known as Kangni; Kang in Gujarati, Thina in Malayalam and Navanakki in Kannada. Unlike Ragi, Foxtail Millet is consumed in both forms, as a whole grain and in the form of flour. Foxtail Millet is often used as a healthier substitute for rice in many recipes such as Pulao, Khichdi and Lemon Rice. Dosas, Porridge and Upma are also prepared with Foxtail Millets.

    Foxtail Millet benefits include a higher Protein content as compared to other types of cereals and millets. It is also a tremendous source of Iron and Calcium, and rich in antioxidants.

  3. Pearl Millet/Bajra

    Pearl Millet is another popular type of Millet in India and known by the name Bajra. Flatbreads prepared with Bajra flour are very popular in the states of Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Punjab and more. These flatbreads prepared with Bajra flour are often referred to as Bhakri. Pearl Millets are called so due to the shape of the grain. Like all Millets, Bajra is also naturally Gluten free.

    Bajra or Pearl Millet benefits the body by helping build and maintain strength since it is rich in Protein. It is also a rich source of Iron and Calcium which are key minerals for good health, and bone strength and density. Bajra is also rich in dietary fibre which aids in healthy digestion and alleviates many digestion related ailments.

  4. Sorghum Millet/Jowar

    Popularly known as Jowari or Jowar in India, Sorghum Millet is rich in nutrition. Like Bajra or Pearl Milles, Jowar is also mostly used to prepare flatbreads that are called Bhakri. Parathas, Rotis and Dosas can also be prepared with Jowar. Other dishes that can be made with this grain are Jowar Upma, Jowar Pulao and Jowar Salad.

    It is also a rich source of Protein as all other types of Millets and is also rich in dietary fibre. Jowar is also Gluten free and contains minerals such as Magnesium. Sorghum Millets benefits the heart by helping lower cholesterol levels and is also known to boost the immunity of the human body.

    There are also some other types of Millets that are not as commonly consumed in India such as Kodu Millet, Amaranth Millet, Proso Millet, Little Millet and Buckwheat Millet. These Millets are also nutritionally dense and offer numerous health benefits. However, the nutritional content for each Millet grain differs from each other and must be more carefully examined.

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