What are Millets?
Millets are a group of highly variable small-seed grasses, widely grown around the world (especially in India & Africa) as cereal crops or grains for human food and also as fodder. In India, millets have regularly been mentioned in some of the oldest Yajurveda texts, thus indicating that millet consumption was very common, pre-dating to the Indian Bronze Age (4,500BC).
Millets are an excellent crop species as they have numerous benefits for every stakeholder involved in the ‘Millet Cycle’.
Listed below are the benefits of Millets for Individuals, Farmers & Mother Earth.
Millets for You
Consuming Millets or making Millets a part of an individual’s daily diet has innumerable health benefits –
Improves Skin Elasticity
Millet is rich in the amino acids namely L-lysine and L-proline which help to create collagen in the body, a substance which gives structure to the skin’s tissue. Thus, eating millet fortifies the collagen level in the body to improve Skin’s Elasticity.
Helps decrease High Blood Pressure
Millets contain Magnesium which relaxes the muscles that line the inside of the arterial walls of the human body, thereby reducing blood pressure. It also aids in the severity & frequency of Asthma & Migraines.
Aids in Weight Loss
Millets contain Tryptophan, an amino acid which lowers appetite in the human body and aids in managing weight. Millets are slow to digest, therefore keeps an individual’s stomach full for a longer period of time. They have a higher fiber content, thereby satiating hunger quickly, preventing from overeating. Individuals who want to shed weight should definitely incorporate millets into their daily diets.
Helps in slowing down Muscle Degradation
Millets are rich in protein content and the amino acids which slow down the process of Muscle Degradation thereby helping in building leaner muscles.
Powerhouse of Antioxidants
Millets are a godown of Antioxidants which helps in slowing down the aging process considerably.
Millets for the Farmer
Despite Millets like Ragi being the staple diet of the Karnataka population, Farming area for Millets has seen a decreasing trend in the last twenty years. From nearly 30 lakh hectares of Millet Farming in the 80s and 90s, it has declined to less than 14 lakh hectares at present.
The above situation begs to improve & surely there are numerous signs to show it is indeed improving. The drought-like situation in the country for the past 3 years has definitely prompted the increase in Millets Farming as Millets can be cultivated with the use of minimal water.
But there is a catch here, Cultivating Millets is surely easy to say but the returns on farming of Millets are scant. The government should definitely pay due attention to this state of Farmers in the country who want to Cultivate Millets, there is a huge need of providing appropriate returns, framing of new policies to encourage Millet Farming in the Country.
Moreover, the Karnataka government has earmarked 34 crores in the current budget to promote the cultivation of Millets, which is definitely a great start to establish & encourage Millets cultivation.
Millets for the Planet
Millets are the Superfood which is excellent for the Planet due to a number of reasons.
Firstly they consume considerably less water to grow when compared to other popular crops such as rice, wheat which require huge amounts of water to cultivate.
Secondly, the number of pesticides & fertilizers required for Millets are exponentially less, which is advantageous for Planet Earth. The quality of the soil is also maintained due to this practice of consuming lesser fertilizers.
To genuinely care for Mother Earth, it is imperative that we inculcate this healthy habit to consuming Millets in our Diets.