Millets are grasses with small seeds that, like cereal grains, are used for human consumption. India is one of the leading millet producers. It used to be used as feed for growing livestock, but slowly it was recognized as a popular food grain around the world. Millet has now been shown to be extremely beneficial for diseases such as diabetes and helps with weight loss. Millet consumption appears to be popular in the southern part of India. Telugu, Tamil and Kannada cuisines offer a variety of millet recipes. Here is a simple Indian millet diet plan for weight loss and diabetes.
India has seen a gradual decline in millet consumption in recent years. This is because people are unaware of the health benefits of millet. Nowadays, the supermarket shelves are full of processed flours and grains that millet has overwhelmed. Fortunately, millet is gaining popularity again. Read about types of millet and the benefits of millet.
Diet in millet:
Before we move on to the millet diet plan, let's first discuss some basic nutrition and millet information.
Types of millet found in India and common name:
- Sorghum – Jowar
- Finger millet – Ragi
- Pearl millet – Bajra
- Foxtail millet – Kora / Kangni
- Barnyard Millet – Sanwa / Jhangora
- Kodo Millet – Kodra / Arika
- Small millet – Samae / Kutki
- Proso millet – barre
Benefits of millet:
- It's gluten free
- Low in calories
- Rich in fiber
- Sufficient vitamins and minerals
- Contains bioactive compounds
- Read more about the benefits of millet.
Nutritional composition of millet:
- Macros : Millet contains around 65-70% carbohydrates, 7-12% protein, 2-5% fat and 15-20% fiber.
- Vitamins: They contain important vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, folic acid and niacin.
- mineral: The minerals found in millet are calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, etc.
- The Lignan and Phytonutrients in millet act as powerful antioxidants in the body.
- Each millet has a unique property that helps improve health. Bajra (pearl millet) contains comparatively more protein than ragi (finger millet).
- Ragi (finger millet) is a great source of calcium. It is one of the first foods to be used as weaning foods for infants.
- Kodra (Kodo Millet) is most similar to rice. It can be used interchangeably with rice and its preparations. It is also known as "diabetic rice" among some people.
Millet and weight loss
Why is Millet Good for Weight Loss?
- Obesity is linked to chronic conditions like diabetes, heart problems, PCOS, cancer, hypothyroidism, etc. There is research showing that when millet is included in the diet, it helps reduce these comorbidities associated with obesity.
- Millet is high in fiber. Fiber is good for your stomach; It will ensure that you have proper digestion and absorption of nutrients in the body. This fiber will keep you full for a longer period of time. This helps in avoiding binge eating over the next meal and also reduces hunger pangs between meals. The higher the fiber, the more saturated the millet will be. Such a property leads to the fact that a person eats less amount in one meal, which automatically reduces caloric intake.
- The sufficient amount of protein and low lipids in millet makes it a perfect choice for weight loss. If you eat a balanced diet, you will automatically feel energized and empowered to burn fat.
Benefits of millet:
Helps keep diabetes at bay:
Millet is high in fiber, which makes it a low glycemic index (GI) (R1) food. It takes longer to digest in the body. A low GI causes the gradual release of glucose into the bloodstream. So when a diabetic consumes millet, there is no sugar spike in the blood. Read-Indian Diet Plan for Type 2 Diabetes.
The lignans and fiber reduce the levels of triglycerides and LDL in the blood (R2). This stabilizes the level of cholesterol in the body. Millet has high levels of magnesium, which relaxes the muscles of the artery. This will keep your blood pressure under control. The controlled blood pressure further reduces the episodes of cardiac arrest and stroke. Read – DASH Diets For High Blood Pressure.
Studies show that fiber and phytonutrients like lignin protect against breast cancer and colon cancer. Foxtail millet has found a high amount of fiber that is most effective in preventing breast cancer. (R3)
Alternative for celiac sprue patients:
People with celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten in wheat, rye, and barley. Most millets are gluten-free (R4). Millet helps improve digestion, increase energy levels, and maintain cholesterol levels. This millet also helps maintain normal levels of bacteria in the intestines, which is essential to the body's mechanisms.
Good source of antioxidants:
Millet contains lignans, polyphenols, phytocyanins, etc., which act as antioxidants and detoxifiers in the body. These antioxidants help get rid of free radicals in the body. It helps build immunity and reduce stress on the body. Read on – Delicious Sources of Antioxidants.
Millet helps in the secretion of progesterone and oxytocin hormone, which are needed during breastfeeding. These hormones promote the production of breast milk. Millet also relieves menstrual cramps, improves skin elasticity, and has some anti-inflammatory properties.
Foxtail, Bajra, and Nachni are high in calcium, which is essential for maintaining your bone health. Eating millet in the form of sprouts helps fight diseases like osteoporosis and can reduce the risk of fractures.
The protein content in millet helps in the formation of collagen, which helps slow down the appearance of wrinkles. Read on – Anti Aging Foods To Make You Feel Younger.
Brain growth and development:
Regular consumption of millet provides the iron content that is essential for brain cells. It helps in the adequate supply of oxygen to the brain cells and also prevents Alzheimer's and dementia.
How to Consume Millet?
Most millets can be cooked like rice. Millet can replace rice in various dishes such as idlis, dosas, kheer, porridge, etc. It can also be used in the form of flour. Add it to flour to make rotis or bhakris. It can be consumed whole in the preparations, like khichdi, upma, can be added to soups and salads.
Indian Millet Diet Plan For Weight Loss And Diabetes:
Here is an example of the Indian Millet Diet Plan for Weight Loss and Diabetes. We used a variety of millets in this plan to ensure their health benefits. This is a gluten free diet plan.
Sample diet plan:
1 glass of warm water with lemon juice
1 bowl of Nachni Satva (1 tablespoon of Nachni Satva, cooked with 1 cup of milk or water and 2 – 3 almonds, without sugar)
1 glass of green smoothie
Mix 1 cup of vegetables raita / salad +
1 glass of buttermilk
1 cup of green tea +
1 cup vegetable millet khichdi (foxtail + quinoa + moong dal + vegetables) +
1 glass of warm water + lemon
Millet, which is grown locally and is rich in nutrients, is one of the best ways to lose weight. Hope this Indian Millet Diet Plan for Weight Loss and Diabetes will help you achieve your health goal. Try to make a variety of dishes from these millets. Millet is healthy, affordable, and nutritious. Some more diet plans for weight loss are as follows.