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Foxtail Millet: Nutritional and Medicinal Benefits

The must-have item for millennials is a millet.

Shubhi Singh
Setaria Italica is the technical name for millets.
Setaria Italica is the technical name for millets.

Millets, which have been grown since antiquity, have been an essential part of the human diet for more than 8000 years, but the modernization of cuisines has forced us to adapt to everything that is refined and characterized as delectable food. Okay, the good news is that it doesn't sound depressing.

Well, everything about millets is a little bit mysterious, including their advantages and cooking and relishing instructions. Foxtail millets are no different.

Setaria italica is the technical name for these small seeds, which are 2 mm in size and have a thin, crispy shell. They are an annual crop that is grown in dry and semi-arid environments and are typically available in pale yellow-brown or rusty black. There is evidence that this gluten-free cereal was widely farmed along the Yellow River in Cishan, China, as far back as 8000 years ago, according to historians.

It is linked to the worship of Lord Muruga and His spouse Valli and was referenced in the old Tamil scriptures known as Sangam literature of Tamil Nadu. Different names for foxtail millets are used in our nation. Its names include China in Malayalam, Kangni in Hindi, Korralu in Telugu, Thinai in Tamil, and Priyangu in Sanskrit.

In other nations, foxtail millets are equally common. It is widely grown in Southeast Asia's dry uplands, and it is becoming more well-liked in Northern America and Europe. Chinese millet, Foxtail Bristle Grass, Dwarf Setaria, Italian millet, Red Rala, and other names are used to describe it internationally.

Foxtail millet is a dry crop that is sown in the final week of May and can be harvested in up to 70 days. The annual plant can grow up to 150 cm tall and has thick, lance-shaped leaves that reach a length of 40 cm. Along with a few northeastern states, it is primarily grown in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh.

Nutritional Benefits of Foxtail Millet:

Like other millets, foxtail millet is a nutritional powerhouse. These tiny seeds can provide you with a daily serving of sufficient protein, healthy fat, carbohydrates, and exceptional dietary fiber content. They are also rich in vitamin B12. It supplies abundant levels of calcium in addition to abundant amounts of lysine, thiamine, iron, and niacin.

Foxtail Millet is beneficial according to Ayurveda:

In Ayurveda, millets are referred to as Trinadhanya or Kudhanya. Foxtail millets are described as sweet and astringent to taste in early Ayurvedic texts like Mahodadhi, written by Sushena in the 14th century, which increases Vata dosha but balances doshas related to pitta, Kapha, and blood tissues.

For maximum benefit, millets must be cooked thoroughly; however, this particular millet should never be combined with milk as it may cause severe indigestion.

Health Benefits of Foxtail Millet:

Stronger Bones:

Iron and calcium, which are essential for the upkeep of the bones and muscles, are abundant in foxtail millets. Numerous medical disorders, such as anemia, weakened muscles, and recurrent muscle spasms, can be brought on by an iron shortage. Make Foxtail millet a regular part of your diet to help your body get the calcium and phosphorus it needs to fight off inflammation and other bone-related chronic conditions like osteoporosis, arthritis, spondylitis, etc. as well as brittle bones.

Strengthens Nervous System:

Foxtail millet is highly recommended by nutritionists for preventing a variety of neurological problems. This little gluten-free cereal is packed with vitamin B1, providing 0.59 milligrams per heated 100 grams. Consuming this healthy cereal benefits the nervous system as well as slowing the progression of a number of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and others. By increasing brain oxygenation, the increased iron content stimulates cognitive performance.

Boosts Cardiac Health:

Millets are often favored for preserving heart health. These incredible creations of nature help to form the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which not only transmits messages between muscle and nerves but also safeguards the heart functions, because they are gluten-free, high in protein, and low in carbohydrates. Consume it regularly to shield the heart from various diseases.

Manages Diabetes:

Due to its high carbohydrate content, rice is typically discouraged from being reduced in the diet by diabetic patients. Rice can be substituted with foxtail millet since it keeps you fuller for longer. The secret is to replace rice with well-cooked Foxtail millet to stave off midday hunger and prevent a sharp rise in blood sugar. Foxtail millet is the best option for low-glycemic foods due to its 50.8 glycemic index. Make it a regular part of your diet to see healthy drops in your blood sugar, glycosylated hemoglobin, and lipid profile.

Lowers Bad Cholesterol:

Lecithin and methionine, two amino acids that play a significant role in lowering cholesterol by reducing excess liver fat, are found in foxtail millet, which is a good source of these nutrients. Threonine prevents fatty liver and consequently lowers levels of bad cholesterol.

Triggers Weight Loss:

Foxtail millet contains a lot of the amino acid tryptophan, which is essential for fending off hunger pangs. Increase your intake of Foxtail millet because it prevents the buildup of fatty substances in the body if you are one of those struggling with excess belly fat.

Promotes Digestion:

A healthy stomach is a sign of general well-being. If not treated right once, digestive problems can become chronic and cause severe constipation, diarrhea, or irritable bowel syndrome. For people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, it is a fantastic food option. Eat a lot of vegetables with it to control bowel movements and reduce weight.

Builds Immunity:

Nothing is more crucial in these pandemic days and times than a strong immune system. Foxtail millet increases stamina keeps you stronger and builds immunity to fight off various infections that may be lurking because it is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Include it in your daily diet if you recently became ill with any viral or bacterial infections to help you regain your strength.

Is Foxtail Millet Better Than Rice?

Although there is much discussion about whether rice and millets have similar nutritional values, rice is unquestionably still a mainstay in many households. In India, rice is eaten in a variety of ways, including as a breakfast food in the shape of dosas and idlis in addition to its basic cooked form. According to numerous studies, rice has a high glycemic index and significantly increases the risk of diabetes and weight gain. Of course, rice tastes better with many different sides and provides instant energy.

On the other hand, millets are a class of gluten-free cereals that have recently had a type of rebirth, all thanks to the awareness of embracing traditional cuisine. Because of their multiple health advantages, millets are preferred over rice in some regions of Andhra Pradesh, such as Rayalaseema and Karnataka.

If you're wondering whether you should completely replace rice with millet, the answer is no. The same as with food, moderation is key. Rice and millet, including foxtail, are both delicious. Each ingredient only offers the best advantages.

Are Foxtail Millet And Quinoa the same?

Quinoa and Foxtail Millet are both members of the grain family, however, they differ greatly in terms of their botanical makeup. Quinoa is classified as a pseudocereal, which implies it is derived from the Goosefoot plant, which is related to spinach and beets.

Quinoa is, like Foxtail millet, gluten-free and rich in vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, amino acids, and tonnes of fiber for the digestive system. Quinoa and Foxtail millet are both healthy grains to eat if you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

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