The Nutritional Value Of Millet

The Nutritional Value Of Millet


  • Fundamentally, millets are grasses. They are grown as cereal crops all across the world, particularly in the tropical regions of Africa and Asia. Among the more popular types are foxtail millet (Setaria italica), finger millet (Eleusine coracana), barnyard millet (Echinochloa utilise), and pearl millet (Cenchrus americanus).
  • Millets are appealing due to two main characteristics: their capacity to reliably tolerate hard, resource-limited environments, and their nutritional value being equivalent to or even exceeding that of key existing food crops.
  • Nutrients can be affected by processing and preparation in one of three ways: they can be enhanced, suppressed or removed, or they can be ignored.


  • Millets are a diverse genus of small-seeded grasses that are commonly cultivated as cereal crops or grains for human and animal nourishment all over the world. The majority of the species that are commonly referred to as millets are members of the Paniceae tribe, but some millets are also members of other taxa.
  • Due to their capacity to flourish in climatic conditions that are becoming more typical as a result of climate catastrophes, millets are becoming more and more popular in India.
  • When compared to other major food crops, millets have lower input requirements, which means they need less water, fertiliser, and pesticides.
  • Millets have a high nutritional density and are a good source of essential elements such as protein, fibre, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Millets are vital for a country like India because of their nutritious profile it is anticipated that in the next decades, food security would present substantial issues.
  • The FAO’s designation of 2023 as the International Year of Millets gives us a platform to draw attention to millets and encourage their consumption around the world.
  • Millets, their nutritional advantages, and their ability to address issues with food security and the environment are all made more known by the recognition of this special year.

The threat posed by grain processing:

  • The bran and germ, as well as other components, are removed during the refining process of grains, which results in the loss of vital minerals and dietary fibre found in whole grains like millet.
  • Because they are more aesthetically pleasing and have a longer shelf life, refined grains are frequently used in the food sector.
  • India has seen considerable growth in the use of refined grains, such as polished rice and refined wheat flour, which has affected the consumption of whole grains like millet.

Points to Ponder:

  • Millets may thrive in warm temperatures and are drought-tolerant. They are resistant to hard conditions. They may grow in loamy soil and have low moisture requirements. They have exceptional water consumption efficiency. Millets have an advantage over crops like rice and maize due to the rise in drought-like circumstances and “flash droughts” brought on by climate change.
  • Millets can grow on marginal land, which is defined as land with a higher rent than the value of the crops that can be grown there. They can therefore be grown in highland and hilly areas where other crops would not do well.
  • Millets have a nutritional profile that is comparable to or even better than that of major food crops. They contain a variety of minerals as well as carbs, proteins, fibre, and amino acids. The nutritional profiles of different millet cultivars vary.
  • One of the first millet kinds to be cultivated, pearl millet contains more protein than rice, maize, and sorghum. Minerals and phytochemicals are abundant in it as well.
  • Finger millet is a rich source of dietary fibre since it contains more crude fibre than both wheat and rice. Foxtail millet contains a lot of lysine, an essential amino acid for making proteins.
  • Millets are a significant source of phytochemicals and micronutrients, both of which have several health advantages.
  • Processing and preparing millets for ingestion can have a variety of effects on the nutrients, such as nutritional enhancement, suppression/removal, or ignorance.
  • Millet grains are stripped of their inedible husk, which is made up of cellulosic material. Certain millet cultivars, meanwhile, may have less phytic acid and polyphenols after this procedure.
  • To reveal the seed, the grain’s outer coats must be removed during decortication. This reduces the amount of crude and dietary fibre while also improving the grain’s edibility and aesthetic appeal.
  •  Grinding grains into flour and sifting to eliminate contaminants, such as bran, can diminish the amount of nutrients present while also improving the body’s ability to absorb those nutrients.
  •  These two processes can enhance millets’ overall nutritional qualities and increase the bioavailability of their nutrients.
  • Polishing is a typical final step in the preparation of millet. However, thorough cleaning can eliminate the fibre, protein, and fat levels.

Strategies to promote millet consumption:

  • Inform people about the health advantages of whole grains, such as millet, and the negative effects of overly processed grains.
  • Encourage the use of whole millet or millet products with little processing in a variety of dietary recipes.
  • To educate the public about the nutritional benefits of millet and its place in a healthy diet, launch awareness campaigns, educational initiatives, and media campaigns.
  • To make millets more acceptable and available to a larger public, promote the creation of millet-based recipes and culinary innovations.
  • Support millet farmers and producers by providing them with education, market access, and financial incentives.
  • Increase the availability of millet-based goods and incorporate millets into the manufacturing of processed foods by working with stakeholders in the food industry.

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