Millets are small-seeded grasses that are used like cereal grains for human consumption. India is one of the leading producers of millets. Earlier it was used as fodder for animal cultivation but slowly it was recognized as a popular food grain across the globe. Millets have now proven to be super beneficial for ailments like diabetes and help in weight loss. Consumption of millets is seemingly popular in the southern part of India. The Telugu, Tamil, and Kannada cuisine has a variety of millet recipes. Here is a simple Indian millet diet plan for weight loss and diabetes.
India saw a gradual decline in the consumption of millets in the last few years. This is because people are not aware of the health benefits of millets. These days the supermarket shelves are full of processed flours and cereals that have overpowered millets. But thankfully millets are again gaining back its popularity. Read- Types of Millets and the Benefits of millets.
Nutrition in Millets:
Before we move on to the Millet diet plan, let us first touch base with some basic information on nutrition and millets.
Types of millets found in India and common name:
- Sorghum – Jowar
- Finger Millet – Ragi
- Pearl Millet – Bajra
- Foxtail millet – Kora / kangni
- Barnyard millet – Sanwa / jhangora
- Kodo millet – Kodra / arika
- Little millet – Samae / kutki
- Proso millet – Barre
Benefits of Millets:
- It is gluten-free
- Low in calories
- Rich in fiber
- Sufficient vitamins and minerals
- Contains bioactive compounds
- Read more on the benefits of millets.
Nutritional Composition of Millets:
- Macros : Millets contain about 65-70 % carbohydrates, 7-12% protein, 2-5% fat, and 15-20% dietary fiber.
- Vitamins: They contain important vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, folic acid, and niacin.
- Mineral: The minerals found in millets are calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, etc.
- The lignan and phytonutrients in millets act as strong antioxidants within the body.
- Each millet has a unique property that helps improve health. Bajra (pearl millet) contains comparatively higher levels of protein compared to ragi (finger millet).
- Ragi (finger millet) is a great source of calcium. It is one of the first foods used as a weaning food for infants.
- Kodra (Kodo millet) resembles rice the most. It can be used interchangeably with rice and its preparations. It is also famous as “diabetic rice” amongst some people.
Millets and Weight Loss
Why are millets good for weight loss?
- Obesity is associated with chronic disorders like diabetes, cardiac issues, PCOS, cancer, hypothyroidism, etc. There are researches showing millets when included in the diet help reduce these comorbidities associated with obesity.
- Millets contain a lot of fiber. Fiber is great for your stomach; it will ensure that you have proper digestion and absorption of nutrients in the body. This fiber keeps you full for a longer period of time. This helps in avoiding binge eating in the next meals and also reduces the in-between meals hunger pangs. Higher the fiber higher is the satiety level of the millet. Such property makes an individual eat less quantity in a meal automatically reducing the calorie intake.
- The sufficient amount of proteins and low lipids in the millets makes them a perfect selection for weight loss. When you have a well-balanced diet, automatically you feel energized and amped up for burning fat.
Benefits of millets:
Helps keep diabetes in check:
Millets have high fiber content that makes it a low glycaemic index (GI) food (R1). It takes a longer time to get digested in the body. Low GI causes the gradual release of glucose into the bloodstream. Thus, when a diabetic consumes millets there is no sugar spike in the blood. Read- Indian diet plan for diabetes type 2.
The lignans and the fiber reduce the triglyceride and LDL levels in the blood (R2). This stabilizes the cholesterol levels in the body. Millets have high magnesium levels that help relax the muscles of the artery. This keeps the blood pressure in control. Controlled blood pressure further reduces episodes of cardiac arrest and stroke. Read – DASH diets for high blood pressure.
Reduces Cancer Risk:
Studies show fiber and phytonutrients like lignin protects against breast cancer and colon cancer. Foxtail millet has a high quantity of fiber found which is most effective in preventing breast cancer. (R3)
Alternative for Celiac Sprue Patients:
Individuals suffering from celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten present in wheat, rye, and barley. Most millets are gluten-free (R4). Millets help improve digestion, increases energy level, and helps in maintaining cholesterol levels. These millets also help to maintain the normal bacterial level of the gut essential for the body mechanisms.
Good Source of Antioxidants:
Millets contain lignans, polyphenols, phytocyanins, etc. which act as antioxidants and detoxifying agents within the body. These antioxidants help get rid of free radicals in the body. It helps build immunity and reduce the body’s stress. Read – delicious sources of Antioxidants.
Millets help the secretion of progesterone and oxytocin hormone required during lactation. These hormones promote the production of breast milk. Millets also relieve menstrual cramps, improve skin elasticity, and also have some anti-inflammatory properties.
High in calcium content:
Foxtail, bajra, and nachni are rich in calcium that is essential for maintaining your bone health. Eating millets in the form of sprouts helps fight diseases such as osteoporosis and could reduce the risk of fracture.
The protein content in millets helps the formation of collagen, which helps in the slowing appearance of wrinkles. Read – Anti-aging foods to make you feel younger.
Brain growth and development:
Regular consumption of millets provides the iron content that is essential for brain cells. It helps in providing adequate oxygenation of brain cells and also prevents Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
How to Consume Millets?
Most millets can be cooked just like rice. Millets can replace rice in various dishes such as idlis, dosas, kheer, porridges, etc. It can also be used in the form of flour. Incorporate it into flours to make rotis or bhakris. It can be consumed whole in the preparations like khichdi, upma, can be added to soups and salads.
Indian Millet diet plan for weight loss and Diabetes:
Here is a sample of the Indian Millet diet plan for weight loss and Diabetes. We have used a variety of millets in this plan to ensure their benefits to your health. This is a gluten-free diet plan.
Sample Diet Plan:
1 glass warm water with lemon juice
1 bowl Nachni Satva (1 tablespoon nachni satva boiled with 1 cup milk or water and 2 – 3 almonds, no sugar)
1 glass Green Smoothie
1 cup Mix vegetable raita/salad +
1 glass Buttermilk
1 cup green tea +
1 cup Vegetable Millet khichdi (foxtail + quinoa + moong dal + vegetables) +
1 glass warm water + lemon
Millets being grown locally and high in nutrition are one of the best options for weight loss. I hope this Indian Millet diet plan for weight loss and Diabetes helps you in achieving your health goal. Try making a variety of dishes from these millets. Millets are healthy, affordable, and nutritious. Some more weight loss diet plans are as follows.