Miracle Millet: Say K for Kodo


Their time has come. Millets, always associated with the poor in the food hierarchy is now sitting at the top and is cementing its place like never before. Arke (kodo millet) is now on the lips of everyone and even die-hard lovers of polished grains are now turning towards Kodo millet.

From idli, upma and short eats, the humble millet is finding a place of pride on tables. Chefs are also experimenting with the millet as people’s expectations are high. Chef Mahesh says, “Just a dash of lemon turns the kodo into a wonderful snack that is tasty and wholesome. Kodo millet is here to stay.”

For several years now scientists at the National Institute for Nutrition (NIN have been advocating millets. Dr Subba Rao, Chief of Nutrition Information and Communication division says, “”Balanced diet is really healthy which means intake of a mixture of grains rather than focusing on one particular grain because our body need diverse variety of food items, our body needs carbohydrates and carbs too not only the protein, vitamin and minerals. To go for a healthy diet, we must opt for a balanced diet.”

“Sales of millets are constant in any season. There are many people who are switching to millet diets and we used to sell 2 kgs of millets per week last year, now we sell 10 kgs of millets per week,” said Geetha, owner, Geetha Natural Foods, Chandanagar.

Kiran of Kiah Super Foods, Hafeezpet, says, “Now a days we are observing people preferring to buy unpolished grains as awareness among citizens is increasing and the price of millets is always same.”

Millet restos gets popular

As the demand for unpolished grains is growing, restaurants are mushrooming in the some of the more famous ones are The Millet House, Millet Express, Millet Tiffins and Ahobilam in the city. Coarse grains like kodo, ragi, jowar are more beneficial for health than polished grains so the menu at five-star hotels also includes millets. Many five star hotels now have special menu as peoples preferences are changing.

Doctors give a thumbs-up

“People’s increasing interest in foods containing coarse grains is undoubtedly beneficial for health as scientists have found they contain a lot of rich micronutrients,” said Zeenath Fatima, Nutritionist, Continental Hospital. “Kodo millets, Suragam, Ragi, Foxtail, Finger millets are mostly used in our Indian states where ragi helps to reduce body heat and Kodo millet controls blood sugar and cholestrol and will also keeps a track on obesity,” she added.

Dr R Yudvir says, “There is not a single health magazine in India that does not have articles on the benefits of millets and its popularity can also be attributed due to the wide publicity in the print and electronic media. Millets have finally found a place, just on on the tabkle but in peoples hearts.”

“It’s been a year that we have shifted to millets from rice. Now, we feel healthy and strong than before. This slow shift of diet helping us to balance weight and build muscle in shape. We feel tummy full for having a little intake of food in the beginning we had obesity issues and now we are sorted,” said P Sathya, Career Counsellor, Yousufguda.

“If anyone is willing to shift from the rice to millets, i would suggest to go with the mixture of grains by changing the type of grain every day and also must take excess of fluids if anyone is facing digestion issues while having millets,” said K Swathi, Teacher, Chaitanya Techno School, Madhura Nagar.

A better substitute for rice

Millets are multinutri-cereals which have high nutrient content and rich in dietary fibre, proteins, gluten free and low glycemic index grains. Health experts say Kodo millet- is a better substitute for rice.

“Kudo millet is a healthy grain and a better substitute for rice/wheat. Kodo millet’s composition includes fiber content (38%) in comparison with rice, protein(11%) ,carbohydrates (66.6%) . It also contains small amounts of minerals like iron, magnesium, B vitamins, phosphorous, calcium, and zinc. It is a rich source of antioxidants and gluten-free staple food,” said Zeenat Fatima, Nutritionist, Continental Hospital.

“Regular consumption of Kodo Millet is beneficial for postmenopausal women suffering from metabolic diseases like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. It helps to hydrate your colon and prevent constipation. It also controls blood sugar of a human body,” she added.

Moreover, Kodo millet (Paspalum scrobiculatum) and kutki millet (also known as little millet, Panicum sumatrense) are central to traditional rainfed farming systems of Gond farmers in eastern India. These cereals have good protein, fibre and mineral content with a low glycemic index and can be produced excessively because of their low water requirements and early maturation that helps them escape drought, they are recognized as key assets to support farmer adaptation to climate change.

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