Millet is a delicious cereal grain that is much-ignored but has many valuable health benefits. Although it is a common ingredient in bird seed, it has much more benefits for human health. This high-quality, protein-rich grain is easily digested and is gluten-free so it makes an excellent alternative to wheat. Also, because millet is never highly refined, it retains all of its essential nutrients.
Millet is a small white, yellow or red grain with a mild, sweet flavor. It is a good source of fiber and protein, the vitamins thiamine and niacin, and the minerals magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper and manganese. It is also a good source of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.
This gluten-free grain is considered to be one of the least allergenic and most digestible grains available; it is not acid-forming; it contains nearly 15 percent protein, is low in starch and particularly rich in the mineral silica. Silica is a prime ingredient of collagen, the body's glue that binds everything together, and is needed for healthy hair, skin, teeth, eyes and nails.
A 2006 study found that diabetic rats on a high-millet diet had decreased levels of insulin sensitivity and better glucose management compared to their control group.
Tips for Using Millet
- Use millet in the same way as, and in place of rice.
- One cup of millet requires three cups of liquid; it should cook for 20-30 minutes. One cup dry makes three cups cooked millet.
- Millet can be used in soups or casseroles, and millet flour can be used in baking.
- Cook it as an alternative to porridge, adding cinnamon, honey and raisins.
- Millet can be dry roasted to increase the nutty flavor of the grain.
Choi YY et al. Effects of dietary protein of Korean foxtail millet on plasma adiponectin, HDL-cholesterol, and insulin levels in genetically type 2 diabetic mice. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2005 Jan;69(1)31-37.