Benefits of Foxtail Millet – Introduction:
Millets are the superfood grains when it comes to nutrition. Foxtail Millet grain is making a comeback as the trend of consuming traditional, organic, and locally sourced is witnessing an upsurge in India as well as globally. These grains are augmented with nutrients, flavor, and texture and most importantly naturally gluten-free and consistently featured in many consumer-led health choices against regular staple grains.
Millets have the ability to thrive in extreme climatic conditions. They are nutritious and climatic complaint crops. These are the income crop for small and marginal farmers and most importantly improves the health of the community as a whole. In this blog, we will be knowing about the benefits of foxtail millet briefly.
What is Foxtail Millet and how does it look:
Foxtail Millet is the third-largest crop among the millets. Scientific name is Setaria italica. The common names are Italian, German, Hungarian, Siberian, Kangni, Navane, etc. To know the names of Foxtail Millet in different Indian languages, you can go through my recent blog. It is cultivated for food in the semi-arid tropics of Asia and as fodder in Europe, North America, Australia, and North Africa.
The seeds are small oval or elliptical in shape. The grains are about 2-3 mm in length. The glumes can be white, red, black, or yellow in color. But most of them are yellowish in color. The panicle of the foxtail millet looks like the bushy tail of a fox, so it got its name Foxtail Milet. They contain an outer husk, which needs to be removed by processing for human consumption.
Nutritional Value of Foxtail Millet:
|Folic acid (µg)||15.0|
After knowing the nutritional value of foxtail millet, it’s time to drive into the benefits of Foxtail Millet.
Health Benefits of Foxtail Millet:
- Proper functioning of Heart: Foxtail Millet contains Vitamin B1 which helps in the formation of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. It helps to transfer the message from muscles to nerves. It helps to regulate blood pressure, thus reducing the chances of blockage in the heart. Vitamin B1 deficiency leads to improper functioning of the heart.
- Proper functioning of the Nervous System: Foxtail Millet contains 12.3 g of protein per 100 gm of grains. Protein helps in the proper functioning of the nervous system.
- Helps in Weight loss Journey: Due to a lack of dietary diversity in our diet, there is an increase in obesity or overweight. We are preferring more refined-based cereals, and packaged food high in salt, sugar, and fats. The problem of obesity or overweight is seen more in the urban population as compared to the rural. The presence of high dietary fiber in foxtail millet helps us to control our weight. It also contains Tryptophan which is responsible for slower digestion and prevents us from consuming the extra calories. We can say that it gives the feeling of fullness of our belly and control us from taking excess food.
- Helps in controlling Diabetes: Foxtail Millet has a low glycemic index (GI) which means it raises the blood sugar slowly in the body as compared to wheat and rice. More research and study give us the value of foxtail millet. One such study was conducted by M V Hospital for diabetes on 105 patients with type-2 diabetes and found that patients who consumed Foxtail Millet dosa had low sugar levels as compared to patients who took rice-based dosa.
- Helps in maintaining Strong Bones: Foxtail Millet contains 31 mg of Calcium per 100 gm of grains. Calcium helps us to keep our bones strong. A long-term deficiency of calcium leads to osteoporosis, dental changes, and also alterations in the brain.
- Helps in building Strong Immunity: Today, everyone is concerned about increasing immunity. Foxtail millet is a rich source of vitamins and minerals which boost immunity in our body. Strong immunity is required to fight against diseases. So including foxtail millet in your diet will improve your immunity.
- Helps in Brain Growth: Foxtail Millet contains 2.8 mg of iron per 100 gm and iron is essential for brain oxygenation and prevents Alzheimer’s disease.
- Good for Skin: Foxtail millet contains amino acids that trigger the formation of collagen and it helps in slowing the appearance of wrinkles on the skin. So it provides us with healthy, youthful, and wrinkle-free skin.
- Helps in good Digestion: Foxtail millet contains 6.7g of fiber which prevents us from constipation and keeps us healthy.
- Good for Celiac Patients: Foxtail millet is gluten-free and it is the best option for celiac patients. The gluten-free trends are adopted in the USA at an 8-10% rate.
Research Study on benefits of Foxtail Millet:
Foxtail Millet Dosa caused a significant reduction (p<0.001) in postprandial glucose values compared to individuals who consumed rice dosa.
An intervention study by Ren et al. 2016 with a foxtail millet diet found that cooked millet has the lowest GI values than a pancake, porridge, and steamed bread in that order, respectively.
Processing of millet and method of cooking, i.e., the degree of milling and duration of fermentation, were suggested to play an essential role in the insulinemic response. ( Collings P et al. 1981)
Also, a reduction of insulin levels was observed 2 hours after cooked foxtail millet diet and foxtail millet pancakes compared with consumption of a standard glucose solution. It is reported that Foxtail Millet intake improved blood pressure and lipid profile (Ren et al. 2016)
A study from India reported a substantial reduction in plasma glucose levels after eating a ready-to-eat mixture of millets for four weeks in terms of glycemic index in normal and diabetic subjects (Pathak et al. 2000)
The author opined that this might be due to the cumulative hypoglycemic effect of millets, legumes, and fenugreek seeds. The lowest GI was observed for uppuma, followed by ladoos and dhokla in normal and diabetic subjects.
More research and study will give us ample opportunity to know about the benefits of foxtail millet.
How to use Foxtail Millet and add to our Diet:
Foxtail Millet is a versatile grain that can be fitted into our breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For breakfast you can make upma, for lunch you can make pulao, khichdi, biriyani and for dinner, you can make roti out of it. You can include foxtail millet 2 to 3 times a week. Soaking foxtail millet for 6-8 hours is essential as it breaks down the phytic acid and helps in better digestion. For me, it becomes easy and quick for cooking.
How to eat Foxtail Millet:
- We can make dishes for breakfast, dinner, and lunch.
- The nutty flavor makes it a good sweet dish.
- It can be grounded as flour and we can make bread, cakes, and rotis.
- It is used for making alcoholic drinks.
- Mixing with pulses improves the bio-availability of nutrients in our bodies.
Related Post: How to cook Millets Perfectly
Special Foxtail Millet Pulao(Veg):
This Foxtail Millet Pulao was made on a special day with lots of colorful vegetables and panner. It turned out very tasty and delicious and the whole family enjoyed the dinner. You can surely try this recipe at your home.
By this time you must have gained a lot of information and knowledge about the benefits of foxtail millet and I am sure you will be adding foxtail millet to your diet because embracing this grain will keep you healthy and fit. There is a saying ”We should eat food as medicine otherwise we have to eat medicine as food”.
Can we eat Foxtail Millet Everyday?
You can include foxtail millet 2 to 3 times a week. Do not completely switch over to one kind of grain. As per the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad one can consume about 100 gm of foxtail millet in a day in addition to fruits, vegetables, pulses, and other cereals.
Is Foxtail Millet better than rice?
Definitely, foxtail millet is superior in terms of nutrition. It has low glycemic index as compared to rice, so it is good for the diabetic patients as it slows down the blood sugar level in the body.
Will foxtail millet reduce weight?
Foxtail millet is high in dietary fiber and also contains Tryptophan which is responsible for slower digestion and prevents us from consuming the extra calories. We can say that it gives the feeling of fullness of our belly and control us from taking excess food.