Millets: All You Need to Know About This Wonderful Grain

Millets have risen in popularity across the globe these days. Yes, they aren’t as popular as wheat, corn and oats, but they are extremely useful as a part of a healthy diet. Millets originated from Asia and have gradually started being cultivated globally. In this post, we are going to find out more about this awesome cereal. Let’s get started.

Millets: All You Need to Know

What are some properties of millets?

  • Nutritionally, millet is a cereal that is richer in protein and fat than rice.
  • In addition, it is a significant source of iron (60g covers 41% of daily needs) and magnesium (29%)
  • Millets are high sources of energy (41g of carbohydrates in 60g millets, with a moderate amount of protein and little fat, 6g and 2g respectively).
  • Being gluten-free, it has been rediscovered in European cuisine and included in numerous healthy diets

How to use millet in the kitchen

Millet is a cereal and therefore it is recommended to consume it cooked. To do this, it is advisable to first wash or rinse the seeds under the water and then cook one part of millet for two parts of water for 20 minutes or until the liquid has been consumed.

You can simply use the millet with a little olive oil or make other tastier garnishes with pumpkin, for example. You can also prepare salads with millet, lentils with millet or serve it with sauce as rice or pasta.

How to cook millets?

Millets are gluten free and are considered a superfood. The recipes in which millet is taken as a first course are usually accompanied with plant ingredients such as vegetables or legumes. Due to its mild flavor, it combines very well with all kinds of vegetables: onion, leek, green beans, cauliflower, zucchini, pepper or carrot. But in addition, it is the ideal companion for legumes such as lentils or beans.

In its preparation, it is very important not to consume raw millet, as it can be toxic. Its culinary use is similar to rice, and it can be used as a garnish on a plate or be the main ingredient of the stew. It is also used for pastry or bakery and can be ground to make flour. It can also be used alone or mixed with others.

What are the benefits of millets?

  • Millets are high in vitamin B, that helps regenerate the nervous system and for women during pregnancy and lactation. It’s also rich in fatty acids, with Omega 6 predominating. It contains both slow-absorbing carbohydrates and high quality soluble and insoluble fiber as well as notable minerals (magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, as well as iron).   
  • It favors digestion and intestinal transit. Nutrition experts have said that the fiber in millet regulates digestion and has a prebiotic effect that protects the flora of the intestine. It can be a good food to counteract digestive problems such as heartburn, stomach ulcers or diarrhoea. 
  • Prevents cardiovascular diseases. Millets contain phytic acid, which is of great help to reduce cholesterol – the cause of coronary heart disease. Therefore, taking this cereal daily can be beneficial for heart patients. A good way to include it in the diet is at breakfast or as a snack before exercising; since it is also a great source of energy. 
  • Recommended in weight loss diets. This cereal is very low in fat and, being rich in soluble fiber, favors the feeling of satiety. This is how you control your weight with healthy food and fight obesity.
  • Fight diabetes. The polyphenols found in millet improve the response to insulin and prevent blood glucose peaks.
  • Prevents chronic diseases (arthritis, anemia, asthma). Its high content of calcium, protein, fiber, minerals, complex carbohydrates and biochemical compounds make it considered an ally to counteract the effects of these ailments, according to studies such as the one prepared by the University of Adelaide and published in Clinical Nutrition on whole grains. 

In addition, millet is a very versatile cereal in the kitchen and serves as the base for soups, breads, and porridges. It doesn’t matter whether the dish is sweet or salty. Although if you want an easy option, take note: add a handful of raisins, walnuts and millet to a salad of green leaves. Go ahead and discover this superfood!

Millet can be an interesting alternative to rice or wheat pasta. In Africa, different nutritious breads and cookies are made with it, as well as certain alcoholic beverages.

It is a very energetic cereal, ideal for breakfast – in cereal muesli, for example, although it is unusual – or to integrate it into the diet prior to a sports day or an excursion.

In general, it has a mild flavor, which there are those who relate to butter and who would define it as nutty, but in any case it gives good results together with other ingredients with a stronger or more intense flavor, to which it provides a fine, very special nuance.

It can be included in various salads, but it also combines well with legumes (millet with baked lentils or millet with chickpeas), with soy in its different forms (tofu, tempe, miso), and with vegetables, especially sweets ( millet pudding with carrot and ginger; millet gnocchi with red cabbage; millet and cauliflower gratin).

It is also a good ingredient in pizzas and vegetable burgers, and in vegetable creams and soups, among other options. Its crunchy texture captures the aromas of the ingredients that accompany it and does not tire the palate, as its flavor does not dominate the dish.

How to buy and store millets?

Millet is generally available in its whole form. It is available in prepackaged containers and for sale in bulk. As with any other food that can be purchased in the bulk section, make sure that the containers containing the millet are covered and that the store has a good rotation of products to ensure maximum freshness.

Whether you buy millet in bulk or in a packaged container, there should be no moisture or bad odors to be observed. At home, millets are kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place, where it will keep for several months.

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