Millets: properties, benefits

Gluten-free and highly digestible, millet is a cereal with energizing properties and is rich in silicic acid, which strengthens skin and hair.

Millet is an ancient cereal belonging to the Graminaceae family, whose botanical name is Panicum miliaceum. The millet plant can reach up to one and a half meters in height and produces these small smooth seeds, which make up the edible part.

Millet was widely consumed in Ancient Rome, especially in the Middle Ages, when millet was eaten instead of meat. Today in the West it is not very common for human use, and is mainly used as bird feed.

Instead it is widely used in Africa and Asia, especially in India, where this cereal is thought to have originated. The millet that is found on the market is the hulled one, i.e. deprived of the external cuticle, and this makes it less rich in fiber but faster to cook.

However, the nutritional properties of millet are so many, which is why we should start re-evaluating it as an integral part of our diet. Let’s find out together.

Millet: calories and nutritional values

Millet has an abundant share of carbohydrates, which also justifies its calories, 378 per 100 grams (a value which, however, is in line with other cereals). In addition to carbohydrates, millet also contains a good part of proteins, about 11%, with a high biological value, that is, they contain amino acids that cannot be synthesized by our body.

The proteins of millet, in qualitative terms, are superior to those of other cereals, with a very high presence of sulfur amino acids (cystine, methionine); moreover, the proteins contained in millet are easily assimilated. In addition, the good fiber content of millet is useful for increasing the sense of satiety and to stimulate intestinal transit, preventing constipation.

As for the micronutrient content, millet is a cereal rich in minerals, especially phosphorus, potassium and magnesium and in B vitamins, in particular thiamine, niacin and folate.

One of the characterizing substances of millet is silicic acid. This substance is able to stimulate the production of collagen, bringing benefits to the skin, and of keratin, strengthening the structure of the hair. These effects are demonstrated by a study conducted a few years ago, in which the administration of orthosilicic acid resulted in an improvement in the resistance and elasticity of the skin and an increase in the thickness of the hair.

We also remind you that hulled millet does not contain gluten.

Nutritional values ​​per 100g of shelled millet:

  • Waterfall: 8.67 gr
  • kcal: 378
  • Proteins: 11 gr
  • Fat: 4 gr
  • Fibers: 8.5 gr
  • Carbohydrates: 72.8 gr
  • Soccer: 8 mg
  • Magnesium: 114 mg
  • Potassium: 195 mg
  • Phosphorus: 285 mg
  • Iron: 3 mg
  • Vitamin B1: 0.421 mg (30.1% RDA)
  • Vitamin B2: 0.29 mg (18.1% RDA)
  • Vitamin B3: 4.72 mg (26.2% RDA)
  • Vitamin B5: 0.848 mg (14.1% RDA)
  • Vitamin B6: 0.384 mg (19.2% RDA)
  • Folate: 85 µg (42.5% RDA)
  • Glycemic index: 70
  • Cholesterol: 0 g

What is millet good for? The health benefits

The richness of nutrients such as fiber, vitamins and silicic acid, gives millet anti-stress properties, benefits for cardiovascular health and for the beauty of skin and hair. It can also be consumed by diabetics and those suffering from gluten intolerance. Let’s now examine in detail all the beneficial effects of millet.

✓ The restorative and anti-stress mile

Thanks to its nutritional properties, and above all to the abundant presence of B vitamins and the richness of minerals, millet is a restorative and energizing food; it is therefore recommended in case of asthenia and convalescence. Furthermore, it has always been considered a kind of natural anti-stress. For this reason, the consumption of millet is also recommended for students or for those who do a “mentally” tiring job, as the phosphorus contained in millet also helps memory.

✓ Does not contain gluten

The hulled millet is suitable for the diet of celiacs or those who are intolerant to gluten as it is gluten-free. It can therefore be used instead of pasta, as well as its flour to prepare desserts. Precisely because it is gluten-free, millet flour is not suitable for making pizzas or large leavened products.

✓ The best ally of the gastrointestinal system

Thanks to its high digestibility, millet is suitable for all those categories of people who need easily digestible foods such as the elderly, pregnant women and children, but also for those who suffer from poor digestion or do not want to get heavy. Millet flour can be used to prepare creams and baby food, even in the weaning phase. It has an “anti-acid” action and is therefore also useful for those suffering from stomach acid.

✓ Reduces cholesterol

The fiber present in millet, together with the presence of niacin, is able to contribute to the reduction of bad cholesterol levels in the blood, consequently increasing those of good cholesterol. It is therefore a useful food in case of high cholesterol.

✓ Millet strengthens nails and hair

Millet has always been considered a useful food for the beauty of hair, eyelashes, skin, teeth and nails. In fact, the silicic acid contained in millet is able to strengthen the nails and hair as it strengthens the structure, also improves the health of the skin because it also stimulates the production of collagen.

It is therefore a valid remedy to restore strength to damaged and brittle hair, as well as to weak nails. In general, therefore, millet seems to be a very useful food for the health of the skin appendages.

✓ Prevents gallstones

Thanks to the presence of insoluble fiber, regular consumption of millet would be able to prevent the formation of gallstones. This happens because the fiber, accelerating intestinal transit, reduces the secretion of bile. Insoluble fiber is abundant in whole grains, legumes and nuts.

✓ Promotes a good mood

Millet is rich in tryptophan, an essential amino acid essential for the production of serotonin, the hormone that promotes good mood. A regular consumption of millet could therefore exert an effective anti-stress action.

✓ Useful in case of diabetes

Millet is an easily digestible cereal and can also be consumed by those with diabetes. In addition, benefits have emerged in the consumption of millet on blood glucose values. Specifically, it appears that the intake of millet could have positive effects on glycemic control and improve cardiovascular risk markers.

How much millet to eat?

Let’s start by saying that an average portion of a mile is equivalent to about 80 gr, a measure that provides about 300 Kcal. Based on this, it is also possible to consume millet every day, for lunch or dinner, to replace other cereals. Remember, however, that a healthy diet is also based on the variety of foods we bring to the table. Therefore it is certainly advisable to include millet in the diet (even 3, 4 or 5 times a week), alternating with other cereals or pseudocereals such as rice, quinoa, buckwheat or spelled.

Millet: how to use and consume it

Millet has a rather mild flavor which makes it suitable for use in sweet or savory recipes. In any case, it is good to rinse it thoroughly to avoid the bitter aftertaste that can appear after cooking.

Millet can be cooked as a first course both hot and cold. For the preparation it is not necessary to soak, but it is advisable to wash the cereal thoroughly under running water, in order to eliminate impurities. Then we can proceed with cooking, which must be done in water for about 20 minutes.

Once cooked, it can be used in numerous recipes, replacing or adding to other cereals. If you want to try some preparations based on this cereal, we invite you to read our easy and light recipes with millet!

Millet also produces a very digestible drink with a neutral and delicate flavor. Millet flour can be used in cakes and cookies while millet flakes or puffed millet can be eaten for breakfast.

Millet: contraindications and potential negative effects

The consumption of millet has no particular contraindications, except for those suffering from intolerance or individual allergy. In addition, it contains a fair amount of nickel, which should be taken into consideration in case of allergy to nickel.


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