Our day is only complete with our staple Ghar ka khana, our favorite gravy with rice or wheat. We have become so used to these cereal crops that we often miss out on millet - the highly effective, nutritious alternative. Millets have been around for 7000 years, are heavy on essential nutrients, and make us whole in no time. What if we told you that these grains are super healthy, easy to prepare, and mouth-watering delicious? Hard to believe? Maybe.
Let’s take you through how millets can nourish you, cure ailments, and make an awesome alternative you can have every day.
- Government of India’s Initiative on The Year of Millets
In light of the UN General Assembly’s resolution on promoting millet consumption in 2023, India has championed the cause and contrives to increase awareness of millet’s benefits to the consumers and farmers. Needing minimum water and manure, millets are ideal for small and marginal farmers as well. On the other hand, owing to their immense health benefits, they are a boon to everyday consumers.
What Makes Millets Special?
According to the NFHS 5 India Report 2022, it has been noted that 59.1% of women are anemic, 32.1% of children are underweight and almost 8.9% of the country is diabetic. In such a scenario, it becomes all the more important to alter our food choices and move towards healthier, lighter, and highly nutritious food products that are right for our body type and climatic conditions. Here’s a healthy substitute for your staple cereal: Millet!
As of 2020, India contributed 44% of the world’s total millet production, thus proving it a favorable crop to grow on our lands. But, what’s the hype on these crops, that trumps all other cereals?
Consumes Less, Gives More: Millet crops only require minimum water to grow and can adapt to thrive in any temperature, moisture, and soil fertility.
Long Shelf-Life: Millets, when harvested, can be stored for a long time and they remain infection-resistant.
Rich in Nutrients: Armed with antioxidants that prevent the onset of cancer, high fiber content that moderates food intake, its heart-friendly, diabetic-moderating nature, high calcium content, probiotics to boost gut health, and many more amazing properties, millets are a powerhouse of nutrition.
Gluten-Free: Millets don’t contain gluten, unlike wheat, barley, and rye, which makes it ideal for everyone to consume in their everyday diet.
Helps Slow Down Climate Change: Since millets require minimum water and leave an extremely low carbon footprint, they don’t cause harm to the environment.
Filling for Long: The rich fiber in millet makes us feel full even when we’ve eaten a normal portion. This prevents us from overeating or stuffing our system with unhealthy junk. Millets also take a long time to digest, thus ensuring a full stomach for a considerable time.
The Specialty of Himalayan Millet
The soil has an inherent property of retaining moisture and is moderately acidic, which is perfect for growing millets. Crops that grow in the valleys of Uttarakhand, especially millets, are fed by periodic rains, the super-rich deposits of the Himalayan rivers, strengthened by natural manure, and constant nurturing of the local farmers, and are harvested organically in the best ways possible.
A famous millet that grows widely and at a rapid pace, it has a hard cellulosic husk at the top, which when removed reveals small seeds in it. These seeds are sourced and processed for easy consumption. Barnyard millet tastes like broken rice and can easily be replaced without compromising on taste.
This millet has several health benefits, such as:
- Feels Light: Barnyard millets have the least calorie density and feel light on the stomach, keeping you energized even after a meal.
- Builds Strength: In 25g of Barnyard millet, you can find 1.5g of protein, thus strengthening your muscle strength, boosting metabolism, promoting fat burning, and maintaining kidney health.
- Great on Gut: High fiber content ensures a clean gut, and prolonged digestion that prevents junk food cravings, and keeps away from constipation, ulcers, excess gas, bloating, and any kinds of body cramps.
- Ideal for Diabetes: The barnyard millet has significantly low carbohydrate content and is a perfect substitute for rice for diabetic patients who need to steer clear of starch-rich food.
- Iron-Rich: Treats cardiovascular diseases, controls thyroid levels, and averts fatigue.
- Suits New Mothers: Increases immunity and secretion of breast milk in lactating mothers.
Delicacies You Can Make
You can make lip-smacking delicacies with barnyard millet since it resembles rice in taste. You can make Rotis, dosas, upma, and many more, however, here are a few Himalayan specials:
- Jhangore ki Kheer: A yummy dessert reserved for special occasions, the kheer is prepared with barnyard millet, milk, and sugar and seasoned with kewra, almonds, and dry grapes.
- Palau: The locals prefer simple-to-make, yet sumptuous food and Palau is their favorite. Prepared with barnyard millets and buttermilk, Palau is a staple in Uttarakhand.
Check our collection of the finest Himalayan Barnyard millet at Valley Culture.
The next healthy millet growing plenty in the Himalayas is finger millet. When they are fully mature, finger millets are dried, threshed, and winnowed to obtain edible nutritious grains. They can be stored for a long time without attracting any sort of bacteria or infections. Also known as ragi, the finger millet is a preferred choice for those on a diet.
- Good for Bone Health: High in protein and calcium, finger millet is ideal for boosting bone health and preventing osteoporosis.
- Treats Anemia: High iron content in finger millet nourishes the body and is an effective health supplement to treat anemia.
- Faster Wound Healing in Diabetics: The finger millet controls glucose levels in the body and accelerates the transfer of nutrition to wounded parts, thus enabling faster healing.
- Anti-Cancer Properties: Phenolic acids, flavonoids, and tannins in finger millets diminish your chances of contracting cancer.
- Soft, Supple Skin: Finger millet prevents collagen from cross-linking and keeps your skin soft, supple, and elastic.
- Gut Health: The presence of bacillus cereus, salmonella, and staphylococcus aureus helps you steer clear of food poisoning, typhoid, and skin infections respectively.
- Calms the Mind: The millet calms the mind and offers great relaxation and treats anxiety, depression, and migraines.
Delicacies You Can Make
Finger millets make one of the best grains to prepare almost any dish. Here are a few Himalayan specials:
- Mandua ki roti: Take one cup of ragi/finger millet flour, add grated carrots, finely chopped onions, garlic (if preferred), and green chili. Knead the dough and let it sit for a few hours. Then, as you make Rotis, don’t forget to garnish them with ghee and have them with jaggery. They taste heavenly.
- Baadi: Baadi is the best, fat-free, filling dish for those who don’t have time to prepare breakfast. It’s a porridge made from cooking finger millets in water and adding ghee to it, at the end.
Order our handpicked Himalayan finger millets at Valley Culture.
The Amaranth plant has been cultivated for 8000 years in India. Amaranth seeds have huge nutritional deposits, namely, vitamin C, iron, beta carotene, calcium, folic acid, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and protein, which makes them great to boost overall health.
- Tissue Repair & Growth: Amaranth has rich vitamin C deposits, hence supporting the body in forming blood vessels for hassle-free blood supply, repairing muscles and tissues, and maintaining skin elasticity by keeping collagen intact.
- Brings Hormonal Balance: The amino acids in Amaranth play a vital role in ensuring optimal hormonal composition and adjusting any imbalances.
- Builds Muscle: The abundant protein content assists in building muscle mass and improves blood supply.
- Reduces Allergic Reactions: Amaranth treats inflammation and reduces the body’s allergic reactions.
- Improves Blood and Bone Formation & Repair: Manganese found in plenty in Amaranth helps in 300 enzyme reactions, and significantly boosts blood production and bone repair.
- Regulates Nervous System: High magnesium content entirely supports nerve and muscle function, from generating energy to preventing migraine attacks, easing PMS symptoms, and bettering depression.
- Enhances Brain Development: Vitamin B6 deposits in Amaranth keep your immune system healthy and promote brain development.
Delicacies You Can Make
Amaranth goes well with most Indian food items and hence can be used to prepare sweets, snacks, and everyday meals.
- Amaranth sweets: Throw in amaranth, almonds, cashews, ghee, and jaggery to make a mouth-watering sweet ideal for special occasions.
Get freshly harvested, pure Himalayan Amaranth at Valley Culture.
Commonly known as Himalayan Koni, the foxtail millet is another mineral-heavy millet with several health benefits. One of the oldest millets to be grown in Asia, it’s a staple grain in India and a few parts of China. It derives its name from the panicle of its plant, which looks like the fox’s tail. Preferred by commoners and physicians alike, the foxtail millet is a must-have to avail the following health benefits:
- Improves Oxygen Supply to the Brain: The presence of iron takes oxygenated blood to the brain and helps in improving cognition.
- Stomach Filler for Diabetics: It’s common for diabetics to feel hungry from time to time. Since your choices are limited, you may feel like you have nothing to eat. Foxtail millet is tasty, and has tryptophan in it, which slows down digestion, ensures a full stomach, and balances glucose levels.
- Regulates Blood Pressure & Muscle Movement: Foxtail millet has vitamin B1, which promotes the formation of an essential neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, that regulates blood pressure, reduces any chances of blockage, and supports muscle movement.
- Glowing Skin: The vital amino acids in the foxtail millet also help you to maintain bright and glowing skin.
- Improves Memory: Acetylcholine also enhances memory and prevents the onset of Alzheimer's disease, thus keeping the neuron connections active.
Delicacies You Can Make
Foxtail millets are great for preparing everyday meals. Replace rice and wheat with this health-boosting grain and prepare
Add a generous dose of vegetables, and slow cook them to make a tasty, healthy meal.
To get the best of the foxtail millet, soak it in water for 6-8 hours and use it in daily meals. You can also make delicious sweets with it. Consuming the foxtail millet 2-3 times a week is ideal.
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