Millet is believed to come from Ethiopia in North Africa and has been eaten as far back as prehistoric times. Even today it is a vital food staple all over Africa. Also, the Bible speaks of it in making unleavened bread.
Since prehistoric times, millet was also used in both Asia and India. Indian flatbread or roti is made using ground millet seeds. Plus, during the Middle Ages, it was widely used prior to when potatoes and corn were grown in Europe, particularly in Eastern European countries. The Seteria type of millet appeared in the US during the 19th century.
Western Europe and North America use millet mostly for feeding livestock and birds, but recently it has gained popularity eaten as a nourishing and delicious grain, especially since it is gluten free, so it can be used in place of wheat. Most of the millet today grows in Nigeria, China and India for commercial usage.
Millet has much more health benefits and isn’t just an alternative grain to other more popular ones. It is full of vital nutrients like copper, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus.
While most people think of oats being good for the heart, millet too is very heart healthy, especially since it contains a good amount of magnesium. Studies have found that magnesium can make asthma less severe and it also has been found to lessen migraine outbreaks, lower the blood pressure, and lessen your chances of having a heart attack, particularly in patients who suffer from either atherosclerosis or heart disease in diabetics.
Growth and Body Tissue Repair
Millet also contains phosphorus, which helps in building cells. Besides aiding in building minerals in bone structure, phosphorus is a vital component of many additional life-critical composites such as adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the molecule controlling bodily energy. Phosphorus is also a vital part of the very building blocks in a person’s genetic code in the form of nucleic acids, and the breakdown of lipids (also known as fats) depends on it. Phosphorus is a vital part of parts of the nervous system, and the membranes of cells.
Millet, Whole Grains Significantly Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Millet as well as additional whole grains contain lots of magnesium, which is a mineral that works as a co-factor of over 300 enzymes, counting the enzymes the body needs to secret glucose and insulin.
The FDA allows foods having 51 percent of more whole grains by their weight, along with containing low amounts of cholesterol, saturated fats and other fats, to list health benefits saying eating them can help to lower heart ailments and cancer risks. Plus, some studies have shown that eating whole grains regularly can lessen risk for getting type 2 diabetes.
An eight-year trial with 41,186 black women established links between magnesium, and calcium as related to type 2 diabetes which had previously been shown in mostly white populations. Black women who ingested whole grains regularly had a 31 % less chance of developing type 2 diabetes due to eating foods high in magnesium.
If the diet of these women only took their magnesium intake into consideration, it still showed a 19 % less chance of getting type 2 diabetes and showed eating whole grains was beneficial to maintaining a healthy level of sugar in the blood.
Eating dairy products with low fat was also seen as providing a 13 % less chance of developing type 2 diabetes, therefore, try eating millet as a hot cereal with some low fat milk, fruit, seeds or nuts.
Aids in Prevention of Gallstones
Millet is also full of insoluble fiber, so it aides in helping women keep from developing gallstones, as shown by a study printed by the American Journal of Gastroenterology. A 16-year study involving 69,000 women showed that if they consumed insoluble and soluble fiber, there was a 13 % less chance of gallstones as compared to the women not eating fiber filled foods.
The women who ate more foods with lots of insoluble fiber had a 17 % less chance of gallstones as compared to those who ate the least. If they increased their intake by five grams of insoluble fiber, it lessened the risk to a mere 10 percent.
How do these foods high in insoluble fiber aid in preventing gallstones? Scientists believe insoluble fiber both speeds up the time food travels in the intestinal tract, and lessens bile secretion, which can cause gallstones to form if this is excessive. It also heightens insulin sensitivity and brings down triglycerides values (blood fats).
Insoluble fiber is in all whole grains, as well as nuts and edible peelings of fruits and veggies like cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, many types of squash, pears and berries. Beans are another source of both insoluble and soluble fiber.