Millets for Diabetes:
It was the day when my mother visited a doctor for her eye operation. The doctor asked the first question ”Do you have diabetes”?
Then I took my mother for a blood sugar test and it was beyond 200 after food. The doctor denied doing the operation and advised to reduce the blood sugar level to 140 to 150. The situation was a challenge for me and my mother.
From that day, Millets were part of regular diet of my mother. Within 30 days, the sugar level reduced to 150. Really the doctor was surprised to see the results and the eye operation was successful.
From that day, I got confidence and belief that Millets are miracles. I strongly say ”Millets for Diabetes”.
Today, I take this opportunity to make you understand and will cover all aspects related to Millets for Diabetes.
Millets play an important role in controlling and managing the blood sugar level in our bodies. Millets have a low glycemic index because of their high fiber content. If you include millets in your regular diet, the results will be in front of your eyes.
Generally, our food should be more diverse. No doubt we take pulses, vegetables, and fruits but we have given more preference to wheat and rice. We have forgotten an ancient grain ”Millets” that was part of most of the people in India.
Now, let us go into details about Millets.
What is Millet?
Millets are small-grained cereal crops that are highly nutritious and are hardy rainfed crops grown in less fertile and marginal lands with very low inputs. Most of the millets are native to India and nowadays it is called Nutri-Cereals. Based on its grain size and area under production it is categorized into 2 types, i.e. Major and Minor Millets.
Under Major millets, we have Sorghum(Jowar) and Pearl Millet (Bajra), and under Minor Millets, we have Finger Millet (Ragi), Foxtail Millet (Italian Millet), Little Millet (Kutki), Barnyard Millet, Proso Millet, Kodo Millet, and Browntop Millet.
To give you a better exposure to the millet grains’ shape, size, and color, let us watch the video below:
Millets are known by different names in different states. So, to make you acquainted with the names of millets you can go through this article ”Millets name in different languages”.
Why we are talking all about Millets and how are Millets associated with Diabetes? Let me give some glimpses of the Status of diabetes in India and around the globe.
Status of Diabetes in India and around the globe:
In India, there are 77 million people who are affected by diabetes which is the second-highest in the world. As per the estimated report(2019) by International Diabetes Federation, there are 463 million people affected by diabetes in the world and you will be surprised to know that 10% of global health expenditure is spent on diabetes.
Scientific study on Millets for Diabetes:
Evidence is a must for every statement. Recently a systematic review and meta-analysis of the potential of Millets for managing and reducing the risk of developing diabetes were done by a team of experts from different countries. This analysis was done across different types of millets and the forms of processing and cooking.
Long-term millet consumption showed a reduction in HbA1c, which is lower than the rice-based diet.
This meta-analysis confirmed that the millets evaluated have strong potential in dietary management and prevention of diabetes. To know more about this systematic review – Click here.
A study was conducted by M V Hospital with 105 patients diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. They were grouped into two groups one group was given rice-based dosas and the other with Foxtail Millet dosas. It showed that in patients fed with millet-based dosas, the blood sugar level came down significantly. This is due to the low glycemic index of foxtail millet.
This gives us a clear understanding that Diabetes is a global emergency and Millets have the potential to manage diabetes now let us see the benefits of millets for diabetes.
Benefits of Millets for Diabetes:
- Millets have a low glycemic index (GI) which means it slows down the absorption of sugar in the blood of the human body instead of rushing quickly as in the case of rice.
- It takes more time for digestion due to the presence of high dietary fiber.
- It keeps satiated for a longer time and doesn’t feel hunger pang between the meals.
- Millets are composed of complex carbohydrates which digest slowly in the body.
Types of Millets for Diabetes:
|Sl.No.||Types of Millets||Carbohydrates||Fiber||C/F Ratio|
Looking into the above data that is compiled from the study conducted by the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, we can choose the best 5 millets for diabetes are Barnyard Millet, Browntop Millet, Foxtail Millet, Kodo Millet, and Little Millet.
How to use Millets for Diabetes:
Cooking with millets is simple and easy. When I was doing my project on ”Utilisation of Finger Millet in Nutritional Security” in Koraput, Odisha could find a lot of traditional millet recipes of tribals. They still possess the skill of cooking with millets. With millets, we can make different breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes.
The two important things to note are that we should always soak millets for at least 6-8 hours. Soaking of millets breaks down the phytic acid and becomes easy for digestion. The second thing is going with the measurement of grains and water.
Recipes with Millets for Diabetes:
With millets, we can lot of recipes starting from breakfast to desserts. For breakfast, there are many options in our hands. We can make Millet Idli, Millet Dosa, Millet Porridge, Millet Upma, Millet Pongal, and many more.
For lunch and dinner, you can make Millet Khichdi, Millet Pulao, and Millet Rotis. You can enjoy this video below where I have made Millet Upma with Barnyard Millet. The special of this recipe is that I have used an earthen pot.
Similarly, we can take other millets like Foxtail Millet and Little Millet to make upma.
Story of Millets for Diabetes:
A recent story of Lata Ramaswamy, a Gurugram-based teacher aged 67 shared her Millet journey, where she mentioned how millets played an important role in controlling her blood sugar levels. To read her story- Click here.
Where to buy Millets for Diabetes:
It is always advisable to go for minimally processed millets where the outer husk is removed without losing the bran layer so that the nutrients remain intact. Always prefer unpolished millets. The bran layer contains important minerals, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. Completely removing the bran will result in the deterioration of nutrients.
Millets are beneficial in managing and controlling diabetes. We can also use millets for non-diabetic people as a preventive approach. So, selecting the appropriate millets is very important in managing diabetes. Millets should be included in the regular diet for better results.
Hope this article on ”Millets for Diabetes” was helpful for you and expect your feedback in the comment below. Till then have a nice day and see you very soon in my next blog.
Author: Tapas Chandra Roy, A Certified Farm Advisor on Millets, ‘Promoting Millets from Farm to Plate’. In a mission to take the forgotten grains- Millets to Millions. To remain updated on my blogs on millets you can join my Telegram Channel – Millet Advisor and can write to me at email@example.com