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Hello Readers,

Team Organic Positive wishes you all a very Happy and Healthy New Year 2021.

I hope you have all had a lovely holiday season, some time off from your routine and a wonderful start to the New Year and fabulous Pongal Celebrations.  New Year sets a path for new thoughts and resolutions.  Can I ask each one of you to make one or a few healthy choices for yourself and your families and consistently follow them, from this year?  With the Pandemic changing our lives and lifestyle, it is essential we go back to our basics / roots and consider to follow healthy practices which will bring a better tomorrow for us and a healthier era for our next generation.

From the House of Organic Positive, we will make sure, we provide you the best and affordable healthy groceries essentials for your daily needs.  Rest Assured, we will take care of your healthy eating habits, you can trust us for the same!   

In this blog, we take you through an expedition to into the Magical World of the Wonder Grains –Millets.

irpcTOften referred to as Miracle Grains or Wonder Grains, Millets are coarse grains , cereal crops that were the staple food of our ancestors.  The grains were used as fodder and for human consumption.  Over the course of time, we forgot their values, but thanks to some organic food enthusiasts, renowned medical practitioners, farmers and some families, who have all in their own ways and capacities took steps to revive the usage of Millets among common men, today. 

Popularly referred to as Sirudhaniyam (சிறுதானியம் in Tamil), these grains are true to their name, tiny little wonder, yet are a powerhouse of nutrients and truly are super foods.  There are several references of millets in various Tamil literatures, which tells us that they have been extensively used by our ancestors.  So, explore with me to learn about these miraculous grains. 

Many nutritionists today believe and advise , that consumption of a variety of these millets will help us meet the varied nutritional requirements our body needs.  Naturally rich in protein, iron, fiber, calcium, vitamins and minerals, millets are gluten free and are a healthier alternative to rice and wheat , as it contains low glycemic index and are gluten free. 

Millets protect our internal organs in more than one way. They detoxify the body as a whole and help maintain the organs healthier. They increase energy levels without actually raising sugar levels in our body.  In fact, millets are considered to be diabetic friendly and heart friendly foods. It enhances our immune system , improves the nervous system , muscular system, skeletal system, thereby providing us with a clear mind and stronger physique.  Millets need lesser maintenance in terms of watering, nutrition supplements for growth and has much larger chances of survival and successful harvests despite today’s challenges faced by our farmers. 

A Millet way of life can keep all the diseases at bay and also reverse your existing life style induced health ailments ,  is a popular opinion advocated by many renowned and respectable medical practitioners, dieticians today, across India. Thanks to the Health Consciousness that has occurred to our Youngsters, who have switched to Millets for their daily routine.  Even if a complete switch isn’t possible, at least including them a few days of the week in a rotational manner is one of the ways to be in a good shape of mind , heart and physique. 

Millets are farmer friendly , eco system adaptable, adjusts imperfections in climatic conditions, availability of water , high or low altitudes and give a successful produce.  Grown across tropical regions, throughout the year , even in dry or less fertile lands, where other crops pose challenges, Millets are the saviors for our farmers  as they are drought resistant and can rightly be referred to as Crops of the next generation.  Not only India, but several other countries like Japan, China, Africa, United States, Vietnam, Malaysia, Egypt , Thailand, Philippines , Europe, Arabia etc., grow various types of millets. 

Let’s look at the various names of Millets and also their alternative names in other languages for easier reference : 

English

Tamil

Hindi

Telugu

Kannada

Foxtail Millet

Thinai

Kakum

Korra

Navane

Kodo Millet

Varagu

Kodon

Arikelu

Haarka

Barnyard Millet

Kuthiraivali

Sanwa

Udhalu

Oodhalu

Little Millet

Samai

Kutki

Samalu

Samalu

Brown Top Millet

Kula Samai

Choti Kangni

Andakorra

Korale

Finger Millet

Kezhvaragu

Ragi

Ragi

Ragi

Pearl Millet

Kambu

Bajra

Sajja

Sajje

Sorghum

Cholam

Jowar

Jonna

Jolu

Proso Millet

Panivaragu

Chena

Variga

Baragu

In this blog, we will explain about the benefits our bodies derive from consumption of each of these millets. 

Millets are categorized as Positive Millet Grains and Neutral Millet Grains. The first five mentioned in the above grid are Positive Millets and the rest are categorized as Neutral Millets. 

It is recommended for everyone to consume Positive Millets but it is advised that those suffering from certain health ailments can consume Positive Millets and restrict or not use the Neutral Millets.  

Neutral Millets is beneficial for those having in general, a good health and not having any specific ailments, but those suffering from some illnesses like Thyroid, Diabetes, Issues of the Kidney, Cancer may avoid Neutral Millets and stick to the consumption of Positive Millets and derive their enormous benefits and gain good health eventually. 

In the absence of Positive Millets, Neutral Millets can be consumed.  However, procuring the millets are not tough today and we can choose what each of us need and consume them. 

Soaking Millets for 6-8 hours is ideal and essential to absorb all of its nutrient value.  No soaking or soaking for much lesser time, may not help you derive their benefits. 

We wish to remind you that “ Everyone’s dietary requirements and nutrition needs are different” .  Your Family Physician or a Nutritionist / Dietician who has assessed your body’s requirement will be able to best guide you to choose from the variety of Foods that are suitable for you and in what levels.  So, we recommend you to take advice from a medical professional and then choose your best millet/s combination for a healthy life.  For those of you, who have never had millets , so far, we suggest you to try one at a time, take it for a while and then go to the next one.  Don’t try to mix many millets at a time with a view to maximize benefits.  Every millet grain is wonderfully packed with amazing nutrients which are required for your body, but choose wisely and consume based on your body’s need and cook in the manner where you can derive their wholesome benefits. 

Let us check out what our Positive Millet Grains have to offer us. 

Foxtail Millet 

A boon for us during this pandemic is this wonder grain.  Many of you may have come across the food menu that was provided to those quarantined and were treated for Covid – 19 at the government hospitals in tamilnadu , it contained the food made from thie grain – Foxtail Millet / Thinai Rice / Porridge / Pongal.  The reason behind this is , the grain has the capacity to strengthen one’s nervous system ( helps in seizures , convulsions and nervous weakness) and lungs and wards off the illness.  Consuming this on a regular basis and specifically during the recovery phase from an illness will definitely help us to strengthen us internally and contribute to the process.  This is a heart friendly millet, which helps to reduce the cholestrol and blood sugar in our bodies.  

Foxtail Millets are good for those suffering from diabetes and anaemia.  Rich in fiber, protein, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamins , this grain is also good for growing children, pregnant women.  Also those suffering from obesity, obesity related illnesses like arthritis, heart burns can benefit by consumption of this grain.  Not only during the Pandemic is this millet good, but in general any issue of the lungs or any serious issues of the lungs including cancer, can be cured by the consumption of this millet grain. 

Kodo Millet 

Kodo Millet boosts our resistance.  More relevant to these times, having Kodo Millet regularly will help you to be able to build a strong immue system.  It helps to curtail illnesses of blood related disorders , purifies the blood and cleanses the internal organs.  It is easily digestible and is high in polyphenols, antioxidants.  Rich in Vitamins and Minerals, this grain is ideal for growing children.  This is a miracle grain for combating issues related to constipation, anaemia and is preferred for those who are diabetic , anaemic, suffering from kidney, intestinal issues, asthma , thyroid malfunction, pancreas, throat issues.  Usually this millet is suggested for those who are either suffering from long term illnesses and are getting treated or those who are recovering from a fever, viral attack, who have pain due to swelling or inflammation because of diabetes , weakness of the nerves and eyes.  This millet is rich in fiber and hence keeps a check on the cholestrol and sugar levels of an individual, when consumed. 

While this millet provides immense benefits to those who are recuperating from illness, it is best to be consumed on a regular basis to keep ourselves in good health at any age. 

Little Millet 

A little grain that gives immense health benefits is this little millet.  Good for heart health, helps men and women solve issues pertaining to their reproductive organs, loaded with magnesium, iron, fiber , protein, calcium and other important minerals and vitamins, this is also low in glycemic index and helps to combat hyperglcemia , thus lowering the occurence of Type 2 Diabetes.  Being rich in fiber content, it aids to reduce cholestrol in our blood stream.  It is considered one of the best foods for those suffering from migraine.  Needless to say other diseases that come along with the life style issues like joint pains, due to obesity are also controlled by regular consumption of this grain. 

Barnyard Millet 

Highest content of Protein, excellent source of fiber, low in calories , this wonder grain gives you great energy , yet makes one feel light.  This is a low glycemic index grain, suited for those who are suffering from Diabetes, those who don’t have much physical activity. High in Iron Content , it is one of the good sources of Iron for Vegetarians.  It is excellent for consumption by Pregnant Women, due to the presence of high iron content.  Presence of good amount of fiber helps to combat constipation, cleanses the liver, kidney, gall bladder, spleen and great for the endocrinal glands.  In short, this is good food for your stomach and all the soft organs inside it. 

Browntop millet 

One of the rarest of millets, sometimes referred to as King of Millets, it can be considered as one of the medicines for the issues of the current day’s lifestyle induced illnesses.  It is a forgotten crop, underutilised millet, which has been revived in the recent times.  Rich in essential nutrients, high in fiber, it helps to heal duodenal ulcer, expels waste from the intestine and detoxifies the body, eases bowel movement, lowers the incidence of cardio vascular diseases and diabetes,  helps to increase the good cholestrol (HDL)in the body and lowers the bad cholestrol (LDL) ,treats fissures, piles, fistula and solves issues relating to eye, thyroid,blood pressure and obesity.  Presence of Serotinin in Brown Top Millet, eases and relaxes the mind.  It helps those suffering from Asthma and acts as a tonic for the respiratory system.  It also helps to make the skin glow and helps us get a good posture by helping with the functioning of the brain, spine and skeletal system as a whole. 

With this segment, we finish our journey about the Positive Millets.  Though most millets provide similar health benefits, we have tried to mention the unique ones for every millet variant, so that you can choose the one’s that are more beneficial for you. 

Next , we go to our Neutral Millet Grains, to know more about them. 

Finger millet

One of the first foods for many babies in South India is Porridge made out Finger Millet, popularly known as Ragi Kanji.  It is a traditional food which aids in promoting weight of babies.  A good source of Calcium , Dietary fiber, the B & C Vitamins, Protein , it is considered best to protect our bones.  Women over 40, tend to have weakened bones and may have painful joints, which is a result of osteoporosis, this condition can be completely avoided, if Finger Millet is being taken in their food.  It is good for diabetic patients , but remember to consume Ragi based foods in the morning as it has an elaborate or a complex digestive process.  Generally , patients having Hypothyrodism are advised to avoid Finger Millet.  This millet can also be taken by lactating mothers, more often.  Finger millet contains Vitamin C , which aids in absorption of Iron, thus preventing anaemia.  Having Iron Rich foods during the consumption of this millet, will aid to easier absorption.  It keeps a check on the Blood Pressure and Cholestrol.  Risk of Stroke and Coronary Diseases are avoided by regular consumption. 

Overall, this millet aids in better management of weight, as an individual consuming it can be free from many issues and can have a healthy metabolism.  However, this is a Neutral Millet, so those who have Thyroid are advised to consult a nutritionist and then proceed taking this, if this millet can be suitable for them and in what way.

Pearl millet              

Pearl Millet is rich in Iron and fiber, helps to maintain the sugar levels in the blood.  It also is rich in protein, magnesium, zinc, manganese, folic acid, amino acids,B Vitamins, Pottassium, Phosporous, lecithin, Potassium.  Being rich in Vitamins, Minerals and Nutrients , it helps in maintaining blood pressure, heart health, fights cardiac arrests, cancer, prevents gall stones by reducing the secretion of bile and prevents constipation.  A good food for lactating women, children.

Pearl Millet is often consumed during summer months by people of South India, Tamilnadu in a porridge form to cool the body.  It also promotes weight loss by keeping hunger pangs at bay.     

Proso millet

It is one of the earliest domesticated cereals and is grown for fodder for livestock , as a bird feed and for human consumption.  It is superior to maize, rice, wheat due to the nutrient value in it.  It is considered ideal millet for growing kids due to the presence of various nutrients.  Rich in B Vitamins ( Niacin, B Complex) and Folic Acids,essential Amino Acids and minerals.  It also has low glycemic index which reduces the risk of type 2 – diabetes.  It contains Lecithin, a compound that stimulates the nervous system and helps in smooth functioning of the same. It increases the HDL Cholestrol in the body and thus is good for the management of cholestrol.  Not only that, it also decreases the LDL Cholestrol, making it an ideal food source for managing the Lipid Profile.  It contains anti oxidants, that help in removal of free radicals from the body and further aids in anti ageing and keeps you looking young.  As it contains Vitamin B3 – Niacin, certain skin allergies are taken care of by inclusion of this millet in the routine.  Presence of Calcium, helps both children and adults in promoting their bone health and preventing any issues of the same.  Overall, a diabetic friendly, heart friendly and multiple organ related development can be observed by consumption of this millet regularly.

Great millet

An immunity building, rich in protein, fibre and complex carbohydrates is this Great Millet or Sorghum.  Being rich in fibre, it keeps a check on sugar levels, heart health, high blood pressure , obesity, stroke, digestive disorders.  It is one of the great chocies for those who are in the weight loss journey.  Rich in Protein and Iron, this also aids in maintenance of calcium levels in the body due to the presence of magnesium, which aids in absorption of calcium.  It contains traces of Zinc, Copper and several micro nutrients.  Owing to its presence of the B Vitamins, it helps in the formation of body building tissues and cells.  Antioxidants helps in cardio vascular health, while the cholestrol lowering property inherent in the grain, reduces the chances of hindered blood flow and plaque formation.  This is also great for good cholestrol promotion and bad cholestrol reduction in the blood stream.  While the vitamins promote energy levels, minerals ( Iron and Copper) helps in the body’s blood circulation.  Iron promotes development of red blood cells and copper enhances the absorption of iron in the body.  Overall, it helps in a healther circulatory system and reduction in chances of anaemia.

To summarise, all millets are good for human consumption.  They are Gluten Free.  They can be used in their grain form or convereted to flours and used in various food products.  They help to boost your immunity and also control lifestyle induced issues.  They are great if you are on a weight loss journey.  They cleanse and detoxify your system.  If you are already facing any issue then choose the apt millet which contains the nutrients you need to curb the issue.  If you have issues, begin with Positive Millets, one at a time and include in your daily routine alongwith traditional rices.  If you are having a good lifestyle and in good health, do use all of the millets, one at a time and make them a routine in your consumption.  Great for your digestion, keeps a tab on your cholestrol, promotes heart health, boosts the health of your nervous systems, muscular system, gut health and  checks your sugar levels , aids in a good sleep, helps to keep your internal organs in good shape and prevents / cures cancers. 

Every millet can be had in rotation based on your needs and in the manner you and your family can consume.  Every day foods like Rice can be replaced with millets.  Quick / short eats can be had using millets as a snack  , a cookie , used in cakes / any bakes, used as a porridge , used as flours to make steamed dumplings and in many many innovative ways without being mixed with any other grains / cereals / flours. 

Well, there is just lots to learn and explore , do travel with us in your healthy and sustainable lifestyle journey. 

What’s more? We also have launched our own Youtube Channel, based on so many of our members requests and encouragement.  We have some interesting , innovative and of course, traditional recipes loaded there – Do check out our Channel here and we will keep it coming in the days to come.

Until, I meet you all in my next post, this is Krithiga Prabhakaran signing off.