Finger Millet

Millets are a type of grain and there are several kinds of them. Finger millet is one of them. It is gaining attention because of its rapid growth rate and capacity to fight food insecurity of the world. Know everything about this nutritious crop here.

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Finger millet

Finger millet is a type of millet that is delicious and nutritious. Food insecurity and scarcity has hit the world. The covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing Russian-Ukraine war has worsened the situation. Experts are looking at crops that would be able to absorb this food uncertainties and feed hungry mouths. And finger millet seems to meet the requirements. It has a rapid growth and also is nutrient-dense.

Finger Millet
Finger Millet plant and grain (Source: Amazon)

This millet has been in culinary use in several areas of Africa and South East Asia for many centuries. It has been employed as a cereal and to make bread and also beer. It is a good alternative to wheat and other grains. Moreover, it is now available in several supermarkets of the USA.

Nutritive value

The millet is a great source of several macronutrients and micronutrients. 0.25 cup serving of dry whole millet contains 189 calories. In the same amount, there is 6 grams of protein and 2 grams of fat. Carbs content is 36 grams. While fiber is 4 grams. Sugar is negligible and less than 1 gram.

Additionally, it has a lot of minerals and vitamins. It is rich in vitamin A, niacin, iron, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. Like all plant based foods, finger millet also has a lot of phytochemicals that act as antioxidants to dilute the damaging free radicals.

Finger Millet
Finger Millet (Source: Ueir organic foods)

The millet is calories dense. Hence moderation is advised especially if you want to lose weight.

Health benefits

The main health benefits come from its high protein, dietary fiber, minerals and vitamins. The B vitamins in it can regulate energy production and metabolism. These vitamins overcome fatigue and weakness. It also has a lot of potassium and this dilates the blood vessels. Thus it reduces the load on the heart and protects it. Moreover, it can assist the kidney in its function.

The high fiber content can assist in reduction of the bad LDL cholesterol of the blood. This is the root cause of atherosclerosis and heart ischemic diseases. By lowering the bad cholesterol, this millet can protect the heart and improve its health. Furthermore, it can increase the good cholesterol of blood and decrease triglycerides.

Finger Millet
Finger Millet porridge (Source: Pinterest)

These millets have a low glycemic index. Hence, they do not cause an appreciable rise in blood sugar levels after consumption. They have greater level of complex carbs that take a longer time to digest.Therefore,  it is an excellent grain option in diabetics. The higher fiber content also improves digestive and gut health. It also prevents constipation and lowers the risk of colon cancer.

It has a nutritive profile better than that of other cereals. And it also grows faster and even in not so suitable soil and climate conditions.

Read here: What is Fonio? Know the nutritional value and health benefits of this ancient grain!

Consuming this millet is healthy but like all other cereals, have it in moderation. One can have it as a flour to make pancakes or bread, cook it like rice, add it in peppers as stuffing, make millet pilaf, or add it to curries or make marshmallow squares from puffed millet. All forms are nutritious and tasty.