Millets, forgotten magical food, make a comeback

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By Bhavna Pant

New Delhi, January 14: Incredibly nutritional and environment friendly millets are not new to Indian kitchens. This   is consumed for centuries but later replaced gradually by rice and wheat . Millets, a group of  small grains, belong to the grass family ‘Poaceae.’

When all kinds of diseases are becoming a part of our life and ailments  like Blood pressure, Diabetes, cholesterol becoming  ‘normal’ and cancer too is no more considered a rare disease,  patients are looking for ‘alternate solutions’ away from the complicated web of hospitals. The ‘alternate solutions’ are, however, not providing disease free life but just ‘managing’ diseases for the temporary relief and running their enterprises.

You stretch your leg and you can touch a Mulity Specialty Hospital  in every nook and corner of the cities, keeping patients routinely busy without giving a permanent relief. Doctors always assure patients that blood pressure or diabetes will be in ‘control’ but  be  ‘never cured’ . In most of the cases, patients have to take doctor prescribed medicines for life.

Multiple researches were on to see whether the food could be the medicine. So, now we are looking back to our forgotten diet of good old millets.  Earlier recognized as coarse grains and part of poor person’s diet, millets are making a  determined come back  with food-consumption- related ailment growing day by day.

Realising the importance of millets which we for long thought fit to be be consumed only by livestock abd birds,  the government of India declared 2018 is national year of Millets. Now, the world  has recoganised the ‘miracle food’ with  United Nations announcing  2023 as the international year of Millets.

The officials declarations apart, the man in the focus who has, for two-decades, done a seminal work on Millets research, is Dr Khader Vali, also known as the ‘Millet man of India’. He  is a Karnataka-based scientist  who has successfully introduced Millets as ‘medicinal’ food at the grassroots.

In his intensive research Dr Vali picked-up five millets and named them as ‘Sridhanya’ millets. These five highly nutritional ‘wonder millets’ are – Foxtail, Kodo, Banyard, Browntop, Little millet. These rich millets have  qualities which can treat different diesel.

Like Foxtail (Kangni in Hindi) can cure problems related to nerves and joints, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Kodo miller ( Kodra) is good for high cholesterol, kidney and all blood-relatedc diseases. Little millet (Kutki) is helpful in curing hormonal imbalances like thyroid.

Banyard millet (Jhingora) is known to treat liver and bladder-related issues Like typhoid, jaundice and hepatitis. Browntop millet (Hari Kangni) can cure gastrointestinal problems like constipation , piles and fistula and have anticancerous properties. All Millets are gluten-free and high in dietary fibre. Being slow-digestive, millets don’t cause sudden spike in blood sugar unlike in wheat and rice.

Millets also have prebiotics which stimulate the growth of pro-biotic within the microbiome 88 which is important for the gut heath. These coarse grain are highly beneficial in reducing and curing type 2 diabities.

Significantly, a number of patients have been able to cure different kinds of diseases including Cancer, Psoraisis, and also reduced cholesterol , blood pressure and even improved their mental health, according to Dr Vali.

Millets are farmer friendly as they can be grown even in draught conditions,requiring very little water vis-à-vis rice and wheat. As compared to 5000 liter of water requirement to grow one Kg of rice, Millets need only 659 to 12,00 in liters of water. Less prone to spoilage and damage, they are also environment friendly.

Millets  can be eaten in any form like dosa, idli, rice, roti and be converted into sweet dishes and  even drinks. Millets are more beneficial if cooked in earthen pots with slow flame. In his pioneering work, changing food habits across the country, Dr Vali re-reintroduced Karnataka’s traditional fermented food – ‘Ambli’  –  with his five magical ‘Sridhanya millets’. The fermented ‘Ambli’ has proven to cure even common ailments  to life threatening   diseases,if taken  for few months or more . this can be the staple food of each household, replacing the processed food and wheat and rice.

Millets are the need of the hour, away from the disease causing processed food marketed globally.

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