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Is it healthy to mix millets?

Millets are full of nutrients, making them a superfood. But should you cook millets together? Know all about millet mix.
Millet mix
Go for millet mix for several nutrients. Image courtesy: Freepik
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 30 Jun 2024, 12:00 pm IST
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Millets, a group of small-seeded grasses, are low maintenance grains that offer many health benefits. They have been around for long, but gained popularity after the United Nations declared 2023 the International Year of Millets. It came as no surprise, as they are rich in vitamins and minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium). You won’t even get bored of them since there are many types of millets, including pearl and foxtail millets. So, you can try them on different days or you can mix them up. Got doubts about cooking millets together? Let us tell you about millet mix and ways to include in your diet.

What are millets?

Millets are a group of small-seeded grasses that are grown as grains. They are highly nutritious, gluten-free, and considered a superfood due to their health benefits, says nutritionist Abhilasha V.

Millet mix
Mix millets in multiple ways. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Here are some of the benefits:

  • Millets are gluten-free, so they are suitable for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
  • They have high fiber content, promoting healthy digestion.
  • Have millets for weight loss, as they can keep you fuller for a longer time.
  • They have low glycemic index, so they help in managing blood sugar levels, making them suitable for diabetics.
  • Millets are a good source of plant-based protein, which are needed to build and repair muscles and bones.

    Types of millets

There are several types of millets grown globally. Here are some of the popular ones:

  • Pearl millet (Bajra): It is known for its high protein content and ability to thrive in harsh climates. It has a slightly nutty flavour. It is commonly used in flatbreads and porridges.
  • Finger millet (Ragi): Rich in calcium and iron, it has a slightly sweet flavour and is often used in porridges, and breads. It is even used as a flour substitute in baking.
  • Foxtail millet (Kangni): Known for its high fiber content, it has a mild taste. It is often used in salads, and soups, and sometimes as a rice substitute, especially by those who are watching their weight.
  • Proso millet (Cheena): It contains high protein and low fiber content, making it easy to digest. It has a mild flavour and is used in porridges and as a rice substitute.
  • Barnyard millet (Sanwa): High in fiber and a good source of iron, it has a slightly sweet flavour. It is used in salads, soups, and as a rice substitute, says the expert.
  • Sorghum (Jowar): Known for its high protein and antioxidant properties, it has a mild, slightly sweet flavour. It is used in flatbreads, porridge, and as a flour substitute in baking.

Can you mix millets?

Yes, you can mix different types of millets. Mixing millets can enhance the nutritional profile of your meals, provide a variety of textures and flavours, and help you gain the unique benefits of each type of millet. Here are some reasons why you should mix millets:

1. Nutritional diversity

Different millets have varied nutritional compositions. Mixing them ensures a broader range of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fibers. Hundred grams of millet mix, including millets like barnyard, and foxtail, consist of nutrients such as 11 grams of protein, 9 grams of fiber, 195 mg of potassium, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

2. Enhanced flavour and texture

If you can mix vegetables or fruits, you can combine millets too. Combining different millets can create a more interesting and enjoyable eating experience with varied textures and flavours.

3. Balanced diet

Mixing millets can help balance the diet better than consuming a single type of grain. This can ensure that you get a comprehensive set of nutrients, says the expert.

Recipes for millet mix

When mixing millets, it’s important to consider their cooking times and water absorption rates. Here are some tips on how to mix and cook millets together –

  • Choose millets that have similar cooking times to avoid overcooking one type while another is undercooked. For example, foxtail millet and barnyard millet cook relatively quickly and can be mixed together.
  • If the cooking times are significantly different, pre-cook the millets separately and then mix them together in the final dish.
  • Soaking millets for a few hours before cooking can help even out the cooking times and make them easier to mix.
millett rmix
Soaking millets is good. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Here are some millet recipes you can try –

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1. Millet mix salad

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cooked foxtail millet
  • 1/2 cup cooked barnyard millet
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Cook foxtail and barnyard millet according to package instructions and let them cool.
  • In a large bowl, combine cooked millets, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and bell pepper.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Toss well and serve chilled.

2. Millet mix porridge

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cooked pearl millet
  • 1/2 cup cooked finger millet
  • 2 cups milk (or plant-based milk)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fruits (banana, berries)

Method

  • Cook pearl and finger millet according to package instructions.
  • In a pot, combine the cooked millets and milk.
  • Bring to a boil then let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until you get a creamy texture.
  • Stir in honey.
  • Serve it topped with mixed nuts and chopped fruits.

3. Millet mix khichdi

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cooked proso millet
  • 1/2 cup cooked barnyard millet
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, beans), chopped
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups water

Method

  • Cook proso and barnyard millet according to package instructions.
  • In a large pot, heat oil and add cumin seeds.
  • When they splutter, add ginger and garlic. Sauté for a minute.
  • Add mixed vegetables, turmeric, and salt. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add cooked millets and water. Simmer for 10 minutes until vegetables are tender and the mixture thickens.
  • Serve hot.

What are the side effects of millet mix?

Eating millets is healthy, but there may be some side effects –

  • Some millets contain goitrogens, substances that can disrupt the production of thyroid hormones.
  • Excessive consumption of millets might cause constipation and digestive discomfort in some people due to high fiber content.
  • Allergic reactions are rare, but possible.

So, consume 1 to 2 servings of millets per day, says the expert. This will provide essential nutrients without overloading on any single type of grain, ensuring a balanced diet.

Millet mix is healthy, as it can enrich your body with essential nutrients. But if you have digestive sensitivities or thyroid issues, limit your intake.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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