Just like a few years back, turmeric milk suddenly became a trend, similarly now turmeric latte (a kind of coffee), bajra, ragi and jowar are being liked in the western countries. These Indian grains have been a part of the regular diet for centuries.
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(Jhelum Biswas) Just like a few years back, turmeric milk suddenly became a trend, similarly now turmeric latte (a kind of coffee), bajra, ragi and jowar are being liked in the western countries. These Indian grains have been a part of the regular diet for centuries. However, in the 20th century, the popularity of rice and wheat reduced the popularity of millets. But now these humble grains are claiming their rightful place and are increasingly being loved by people everywhere.
Millets becoming increasingly popular
Under the leadership of India, the world will celebrate the year 2023 as ‘International Year of Millets’. This shows how popular these cereals are now. The main reason for the discussion of coarse grains is that they are gluten free and help in weight loss. India is one of the top producers and exporters of millets. Along with bajra, jowar and ragi, ‘small’ millets such as foxtail millet, barnyard millet, kodo, proso millet and little millet are grown here.
India’s dryland farmers grow two varieties of millets, which include buckwheat and amaranth. Apart from being rich in fiber and essential minerals, millets do not require much water to grow.
Millets were one of the earliest sources of food. Renowned nutritionist, Dr. Varun Katyal states that millets have been a traditional food source for millions of people in Africa and Asia for nearly 7,000 years. Their proofs are also found in the Indus Valley Civilization. Millets are now grown all over the world. Katyal says that one of the many things that makes millets special is their nutritional value. Clinical nutritionist, author and entrepreneur Ishi Khosla says whole grains are nutrient-dense, high in fiber, and gluten-free. Also, they are easily digested.
They are also easy to digest
Whole grains are easily digested, so Katyal recommends them as a good food option for babies. He says that the calcium and magnesium present in millets help in promoting bones and physical growth. The fiber and antioxidants present in them can help in weight loss. Along with this, they are also effective in keeping diabetes under control and can also keep the heart healthy. Coarse grains are low in calories and they prevent overeating.
Macrobiotic nutritionist, chef and author Shonali Sabharwal says that these are a better option for diabetes patients. She says that these are beneficial for the brain, because the brain needs glucose and organic matter. Sabharwal said that coarse grains contain 70 anti-aging antioxidants. At the same time, author and nutritionist Kavita Devgan says that coarse grains contain bioactive compounds which are good for health. For example, millet is rich in policosanol which helps in reducing bad cholesterol and millet contains catechins which helps in the removal of toxins and thus keeps the kidney and liver healthy.
However, most diet and health experts are in favor of coarse grains. But Naturopath Rupinder Kaur is a bit skeptical about them. She says that not everyone can digest coarse grains. For example, I cannot digest coarse grains. Kaur does not find them very useful in her treatments. She uses them sparingly and uses them only for making sprouts and dosas. Coarse grains do not germinate well and sometimes turn bitter, says Kaur. However, she suggests eating ragi to fitness enthusiasts.