Our grandparents would know more about Foxtail Millets than we do, because they had seen and had them. You Google for it and all you can see is flashy nutrient charts. But Foxtail Millets is not new to India. It was a staple diet among the people of ancient India. According to archaeologists Foxtail Millets is so old that no wild plant of the species is known to exist today. It is called Kangni/Rala in Hindi, Korra in Telugu and Thinai in Tamil. Due to rampant rice production and introduction of the subsidized rice scheme in the early eighties, people switched over to rice and thus millets took a back seat. In rural areas, it is still a staple.
However, Foxtail Millets is in news and has made a big comeback. Its importance as a diabetic-friendly, highly nutritious and non-glutinous food has had a large number of people opting millets over rice. It is rich in dietary fiber (6.7%), protein (11 %) and low in fat (4%).
Traditional dishes like payasam, chapatti, porridge, are all time famous. New contemporary twist to millets comes in the form of burfi, kabab, biscuits, salads, baked items and almost anything that can be made from it. It is available in hulled form i.e., millet grains are present in a hard indigestible hull which are removed before human consumption. Hulling keeps the nutrient value intact.
Add a dollop of Foxtails Millets to any of your recipes and get a crunchy, nutty taste. It can be cooked, steamed, roasted, ground and used raw in your recipes.
Health Benefits of Foxtail Millets:
1. Foxtail Millets lowers the risk of diabetes. It helps to lower blood glucose levels and improve insulin response in the body. The magnesium content in it helps the secretion of insulin and manages metabolism of glucose in the body.
2. It has low Glycemic Index, which ranks carbs by how much they raise food glucose levels compared to a reference food. Therefore, millets increase satiety, decrease hunger and slows down the rate of digestion. Millets release sugar slowly in our blood and enable to work for long durations.
3. Foxtail Millets are a rich source of phosphorus which is an important mineral for energy production and is an essential component of ATP – the energy store of the body.
4. It is low on allergenic.
5. Foxtail Millets also acts as a cofactor for more than 300 enzymes.
6. It does not contain gluten, it is a good grain alternative for people who are gluten-sensitive.
7. Lignans present in millets are thought to protect against breast cancer as well as heart diseases.
8. It is high on antioxidants. It can be used to get rid of the toxins that go rampant inside the body. A toxin-free body is obviously a healthy one.
The long term consumption of foxtail millets in any form will have positive effects on blood lipid profile and glycosylated hemoglobin of diabetics and cardiovascular patients.
It is environment-friendly as it does not demand synthetic fertilizers and is pest-free. Farmers grow them using farmyard manure under purely ecofriendly conditions.