Millet is a whole grain with a slightly nutty taste. Discover the many health benefits it has to offer and why it’s a good choice for the breakfast or dinner table.
Even if you’ve ventured into the healthful world of whole grain foods, millet may be one that you haven’t tried. This tiny seed-like grain used to make bird seed has a variety of health properties that make it quite worthy of human attention. Millet was once an important source of food for the Chinese, but has been slower to be embraced by American culture. This whole grain adds additional taste and texture to recipes, but it can also be enjoyed as a “nutty” tasting cereal all on its own. What are the health benefits of millet?
If you have Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, there are few whole grains available to you; but millet is one you can enjoy without fear. It’s completely gluten free and can be used to make breads, muffins, and pizza crust that won’t aggravate digestive problems such as Celiac disease.
It’s High in Fiber and More Digestible
Whole grains are a healthy addition to any diet, but some people have trouble digesting them. Not so with millet, it’s more easily digested than other whole grains. It even acts as a prebiotic in the intestine to help feed the good bacteria that keep the intestines healthy and the immune system primed. Besides that, it’s a good source of fiber, both soluble and insoluble, for heart and digestive health.
It’s Rich in Important Minerals
Millet is a good source of the minerals manganese and magnesium. Magesium is particularly important for maintaining a healthy heart and blood pressure. Magnesium deficiency is more common now that the quantities found in the soil have declined. A cup of millet provides a quarter of the day’s magnesium requirements.
Millet is also a good source of tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin, a brain neurotransmitter important for restful sleep. A bowl of hot millet is a great way to end the day and insure a peaceful journey into la-la land.
Millet is also a good source of B vitamins and protein and the essential amino acids cysteine and methionine.
How to Use It
To get the health benefits of millet, serve it warm with milk as an alternative to hot oatmeal in the morning. Its nutty taste can be enhanced by gently roasting the grains in a pan on the stovetop. It can also be popped like popcorn to create a healthy “puffed” cereal. If you have a grain mill, it can be ground into gluten-free flour and added to baked goods. You can also use it in soups, casseroles, and as a side-dish in place of rice. Enjoy the many health benefits millet has to offer!