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Millet is a food staple for many diets throughout the world. Millet has been grown for centuries in Africa, Egypt and other parts of Europe. For the most part, its types grew wild in Africa before being cultivated. Records are showing the farming of Broom yard millet since 8000 B.C in China.
Millet may not be the most common type of seed crop that you’re expecting on your table, but in fact, this group of variable small-seeded grasses is cultivated throughout the world, both for livestock feed and human consumption.
Although there are different varieties of millet grown around the world, the most common cultivar is Pennisetum glaucum, also known as pearl millet. In terms of history, millet likely originated in Africa but then spread through Asia and the Middle East as early as 10,000 years ago. Its reliability to survive in harsh conditions made it a perfect crop and is still preferred for that reason today.
Most people have not even heard of millet, much less understand the benefits of millet nutrition. And yet, millet is one of the best-kept secrets of our ancient ancestors. Millet is not just for the birds. When you find out all the benefits of millet nutrition, you’ll want to include this ancient prized grain-like seed in your own diet!
Millet is more than just an interesting alternative to the more common grains. It is qualified as a good source of some very important nutrients, including copper, manganese, phosphorus.
Heart protective Properties
Although oats have been widely publicized for their heart-protective properties, millet is a grain that should also be included on your list of heart-healthy choices because of its status as a good source of magnesium. Magnesium has been shown in studies to reduce the severity of asthma and to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. Magnesium has also been shown to lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack, especially in people with atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease.
Controls Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol levels go hand-in-hand with heart health, so the high fiber levels in millet make for an ideal cholesterol-lowering approach. Dietary fiber eliminates dangerous bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) from the system while promoting the effects of good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol).
One of the most common diseases affecting millions of people in the world is diabetes. It is the gateway to a host of diseases. It has been observed that people who have incorporated millet into their diets are less likely to be affected by this disease. Millet contains a good amount of magnesium which helps the body use produce insulin efficiently and also prevent the occurrence of diabetes. Eating millet has also shown to keep the sugar levels in check.
Recent research has revealed fiber to be one of the best and easiest ways to prevent the onset of breast cancer in women. In fact, women can reduce their chances of breast cancer by more than 50% by eating more than 30 grams of fiber every day. Given that breast cancer is one of the most common and deadliest forms of cancer, this is an advice that every woman should consider!
Aids in Digestion
As most fiber-rich foods boast, millet can help move your gastrointestinal system along and eliminate problems like constipation, excess gas, bloating, and cramping. By regulating your digestive processes, you also improve your nutrient retention and reduce your chance of more serious gastrointestinal conditions like gastric ulcers or colon cancer. Regular digestion and elimination of waste also help optimize your kidney, liver, and immune system health, as those organ systems are closely related to the body’s metabolic activities.
Millet is one of those foods vegetarians love, because it is rich both in fiber, which makes your stomach feel full longer, and in protein, which helps you meet your daily protein needs from a complex carbohydrate rather than animal sources. And studies have shown a direct link between cutting back on meat and natural weight loss.
Millet has a unique composition of beneficial nutrients. It has an advantage over other grains of growing in a short period in areas other grains may fail too. It is also gluten-free and can make rather a delicious bowl of porridge. Some countries also use millet flour in making flatbread.
Ghanaian local dishes like Kenkey and Banku which is made with corn can be replaced with Millet.