Bhubaneswar : 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.
Dr. Indramani Tripathy, Assistant Professor of Microbiology at MPC Medical College, unveiling Ragi’s rich virtues said, “Bursting with nutrients like calcium, protein, vitamin E, polyphenols, and dietary fibre, Ragi offers unparalleled nourishment. Its low glycemic index makes it a boon for diabetes management, ensuring stable blood sugar. Fit for all ages, Ragi promotes holistic well-being among women, children, and infants. From weight management to skin rejuvenation and hair growth, Ragi’s benefits are diverse and timeless.” Dr. Tripathy underscores Ragi’s superfood status, affirming its role as a natural wellspring of vitality and comprehensive nourishment.
This superfood’s nutritional prowess, encompassing calcium, protein, vitamin E, polyphenols, and dietary fibre, is further reinforced by Dr. Ashok Kumar Jena, emphasizing the abundant mineral content, including iron and phosphorus. Dr. Bhagaban Panda, a senior paediatrician at Junagarh PHC, encapsulates Ragi’s potency by equating a glass of ragi to the nutritional essence of three glasses of milk. In a modern world shaped by changing dietary habits and lifestyles, millets rise as a beacon of health and vitality, a testament to the wisdom of ancient practices meeting the needs of today. It’s time we embrace the goodness of millets, for a healthier, brighter tomorrow.