Bhubaneswar, Aug 23: In an era where dietary choices shape our well-being, millet has emerged as the champion of nutrition. With roots tracing back to the Indus civilization in 3000 BC, millets have transcended time and continents to become an essential component of our diets.
These ancient grains were among the first plants domesticated for sustenance and have now found a place of prominence in 131 countries. The heart of Asia and Africa reverberates with the consumption of millets by over 590 million people, underscoring its cultural and nutritional significance.
India, a harbinger of millet cultivation, proudly boasts five primary millet types: Jowar, Ragi, Bajra, Kutki, and Kodon. This rich diversity of millets has garnered global attention, leading to the United Nations General Assembly's declaration of 2023 as the International Year of Millets. This proclamation, proposed by India, attests to the pivotal role millets play in fostering sustainable and healthy diets.
Professor (Dr) Geetanjali Sethy from PRM Medical College, Baripada, ardently praising millets said “Millets, rich in fibre, aid gut health and alleviate constipation. They excel as a protein source, surpassing other cereals and catering to vegans seeking non-dairy protein. Their amino acid profile bridges gaps in nutrition present in staples like rice and wheat. Millets also house vital vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, and iron, bolstering bones and combating anaemia. Going beyond, millets boast water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins, fatty acids, carotenoids, and complex sugars, making them an exceptional choice for holistic health.” Professor Sethy emphasizes millets' role as a nutritional powerhouse catering to diverse dietary needs.
Millets are not just preventive measures against various ailments, but also allies for those dealing with hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease, and obesity. Their inclusion alongside medication and physical exercise augments the battle against these conditions.