Foxtail millet or belonging to the family of millets is an annual grass and the second most widely planted species of millets in East Asia.
Foxtails are cheaper to acquire and easy to cultivate having a crop cycle of about 60-90 days. Its early maturity and efficient consumption of water make it suitable for cultivation in the dry area. A warm season crop, typically planted in late spring, it has the longest history of cultivation among millets.
In China, foxtail millet is the most common millet and one of the main food crops, especially among the poor. In Europe and North America, it is planted at a moderate level for hay and silage and birdseed. However, in South India, especially in rural Andhra it has been a regular diet among people. It belongs to the old culture of Tamil. In old Tamil texts, it has been associated with Lord Muruga and Valli.
This easily cultivable crop is highly rich in fibre, protein and low in Glycemic Index. Foxtail is ideal for reducing cholesterol of body, controls blood sugar and aids in metabolism rate. As an antioxidant, it removes all acidic elements from the body.
Use in Diabetics:
Regular use of foxtail is a good guard against coronary diseases and reduces chances of cardiac arrest and fatalities. Being a diabetic friendly food, it contains a fair amount of phenolic (a strong anti-oxidant) used to get rid of toxins in the body. Rice is usually devoid of essential minerals and vitamins, but foxtail millet has enough amounts of both besides being rich in all amino acids, making it a desirable food for diabetics. Studies have shown that carbohydrates and fibre in foxtail millet are beneficial for diabetics, reducing blood sugar levels by about 70%
A Gluten Free Diet:
Many people are getting diagnosed with gluten sensitivity ( also called the Celiac disease), a substance found commonly in wheat. People who cannot consume wheat are left with very few options as most of the products in the market like biscuits, bakery items like bread, etc are made from Wheat. As a gluten free diet, foxtal millet is a perfect food for people suffering from Celiac, promoting digestion, increases energy levels and helping in maintaining cholesterol levels. In fact, they provide higher nutrition than wheat. A unique benefit of foxtail is that it helps in eradicating viruses and germs.
Preparations of Foxtail:
An easy to cook food, foxtail is an ideal substitute for rice or other grains that could cause blood sugar. It can be easily eaten with all side dishes that you eat along with rice, e.g., sambar, rasam, curds, dal, etc.
You can even make pulao, khichdi, pongal, upma and other such dishes. These millets can be beautifully served as a fibre rich salad or added to soups, burgers, muffins, pancakes and an endless list of such dishes.
Not every type of whole grain has so many qualities packed into one single shell. So start including Foxtail millets into your diet from today. You can make it all the more healthy and nutritious by buying only the organic millets, free from chemical sludge, pesticides and harmful sprays.