INDIA, July 17, 2014 (Press Information Bureau): Millets are one of the oldest foods known to humans. These are the small-seeded hardy crops belonging to gramineae family which can grow well in dry zones/rain-fed areas under marginal conditions of soil fertility and moisture. Due to their short growing season, these can develop from seeds to ready to harvest crops in about 65 days. This highly beneficial characteristic of the millets is of vital importance in thickly populated regions of the world. If stored properly, millets can keep well for two years or beyond.
Most of the millets are highly nutritious, non-glutinous, non-acid forming and easily digestible foods. Being gluten free, individuals suffering from celiac disease can easily incorporate various millets in their diets. Millet ingestion helps in a slower release of glucose over a longer period of time; thus, due to low glycemic index (GI), their habitual intake reduces the risk of diabetes mellitus.
Further, millets are rich sources of minerals like iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium. Ragi (Finger millet) is very rich in calcium; and bajra in iron. These also contain appreciable amounts of dietary fibre and various vitamins (Carotene, niacin, vitamin B6 and folic acid); high amounts of lecithin are useful for strengthening the nervous system.