Barnyard millet, one of the ancient grains that the modern world has embraced, is a perfect choice for achieving holistic wellness. Thanks to the renewed popularity of millets, a wide variety of millet-based delicacies are now finding their way into restaurants and even common people’s kitchens. These drought and flood tolerant crops can be turned into a variety of sweet and savory snacks and meals. Barnyard millet is an excellent source of protein, soluble and insoluble fiber, a variety of micronutrients such as iron, calcium and phosphorus. (Also Read | Ancient Wisdom Part 38: Bay Leaf Can Lower Cholesterol, Treat Digestive Problems, Know All The Benefits)
Sedentary people should consider replacing their refined grains with whole grain options. High in fiber and high in protein, wheat millet is highly recommended for people with diabetes, as it can help manage blood sugar spikes and prevent one of the many complications associated with the disease. Eat it as a breakfast cereal, add it to your biscuits, drink it with your milk or include it in your salad to reap the benefits of a range of nutrients.
Barnyard millet, scientifically known as Echinochloa esculenta, is an ancient gluten-free grain with many health benefits. In ancient times, this millet was a staple in many cultures due to its versatility and nutritional value. Barnyard millet dates back thousands of years and finds mention in Yajurveda texts. It has been cultivated in India for 4,000 years. Likewise in China, millet cultivation dates back 2,000 years. Archaeological evidence has indicated that millet was wild cultivated in Japan as early as the Yayoi period, which dates back to about 4-5 millennia (Watanabe 1970).
Barn millet benefits
Ayush Aggarwal, Ayurvedic expert and founder of Rasayanam, breaks down the various heart-healthy benefits of millets for regulating blood sugar levels.
Rich in nutrients: Barnyard millet is a producer of essential nutrients such as fiber, protein, iron and calcium. It also contains important minerals such as phosphorus and magnesium, contributing to overall health.
Gluten-free alternative: Ideal for those with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, millet is a great gluten-free substitute in a variety of dishes.
Weight Management: With its high fiber content, millet aids digestion, promotes a feeling of fullness and can be beneficial for weight management.
Regulates blood sugar: The complex carbohydrates in millet are digested slowly, helping to maintain stable blood sugar levels. It is suitable wheat for people with diabetes.
Heart health: Barnyard millet contains antioxidants and compounds that support heart health, such as lignans and phenolic acids.
In ancient times, millet was a staple in many diets throughout Asia. It was commonly used to make breads, porridge and fermented dishes. Its adaptability made it a versatile ingredient in various cuisines.
How to include millet in your daily diet
Barnyard millet can be ground and used as flour for making rotis and parathas. It can also be made into a porridge or snack, says Aggarwal.
Cooking techniques: Barnyard millet can be cooked similarly to rice. Boil it in water or stock for a nutritious base for meals.
Baking and buns: Ground millet flour can be used in baking or to make breads, providing a gluten-free alternative with a nutty flavor.
Porridge and breakfast bowls: Create healthy breakfast options by incorporating millet into porridge or breakfast bowls with fruit, nuts and seeds.
Salads and pilaf: Add a nutritious twist to salads or pilaf by tossing cooked millet with fresh vegetables, herbs and a light dressing.
Fermented foods: Explore traditional fermentation techniques to prepare fermented millet dishes, enhancing both flavor and nutritional value.
Who should avoid barn millet?
“While millet is generally considered safe for most people, those with grain allergies or sensitivities should exercise caution. Additionally, people with specific medical conditions or dietary restrictions should consult a health care professional before incorporating millet into their diet.” , adds Aggarwal.