The ancient grain; millet is a staple grain in many countries of Asia and Africa and an alternative to rice. Millet can be cooked and served as a side dish, mixed into other foods or ground for use as flour. Millet grains are small and round and can be white, red, yellow, brown or gray. At 6 g of protein per serving, millet is a good choice to help vegetarians meet their protein needs. It’s gluten-free, so celiac sufferers can indulge without fear of intestinal damage, and according to the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory, its magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and lutein content make it nutritious. If you suffer from frequent bowel trouble, including millet as a regular part of your diet may help keep your digestive system running smoothly.

Whole Grain-Millet is eaten as a whole grain, meaning you eat the germ, the endosperm and the bran together. Unlike white rice, cornmeal or rolled oats, millet is minimally processed. Millet contains more fiber than most refined grains, with about 2 g of fiber per one-cup serving, but not as many other whole grains. Quinoa, for example, has 5.2 grams of fiber per cup. According to MayoClinic.com, fiber benefits your cardiovascular system and can help prevent diabetes as a regular part of your diet.
Fiber-Whether you suffer from constipation or diarrhea, an adequate fiber intake may help provide relief. Instead of stimulating or slowing the bowels, fiber regulates both conditions to return bowel regularity, according to MayoClinic.com. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool, which can help move a slow bowel or help add form to a loose stool. Soluble fiber turns into a gel in the intestine, which can lubricate a dry digestive tract or help soothe an inflamed one. Like most grains, millet contains both types of fiber. When they work together in adequate amounts, your bowels may function more smoothly and predictably.
Anti-Inflammatory- According to chef and nutrition consultant Rebecca Katz, millet has anti-inflammatory properties. The intestinal lining can become inflamed from conditions like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease or reactions to medications. The inflammation causes abdominal pain and can result in diarrhea. Although they are not a substitute for medical care, anti-inflammatory foods like millet may contribute to the healing process and help reduce the frequency or severity of symptoms.

Including Millet- If your fiber intake is low, increase it gradually. Otherwise, you may experience gas, bloating, flatulence and a temporary worsening of your bowel condition. Begin by replacing low-fiber foods with fiber-rich substitutes. Instead of mashed potatoes, try millet. Cook it like rice for a fluffy dish, or prepare it like risotto for a creamier dish. It can be substituted for cornmeal in polenta, or try a puffed millet breakfast cereal. If your bowel problems are severe or are accompanied by other symptoms, consult your doctor for treatment.

Basic Nutrition-One cup of cooked millet, approximately 174g, contains 207 calories. There are 2g fat and 6g protein in 1 cup of millet. A cup also contains 41g carbohydrates, including 2g fiber. A cup of millet has only 3mg sodium and is cholesterol-free. The water content in a cup of millet is 124g. 
Micronutrients- A cup of millet contains 0.2mg thiamin and 2.3mg niacin, 12 percent of the recommended daily value of both of these essential vitamins. There is 0.5mg manganese in 1 cup of millet, 24 percent of the daily recommended intake. It also has 77mg magnesium, about 19 percent of the daily recommendation, and 174mg phosphorus, or 17 percent of the daily recommended amount. Other nutrients in millet include selenium, zinc, copper, potassium, iron, choline, pantothenic acid, folate, vitamins B6, K and A, riboflavin and calcium.
Phytochemicals- Millet contains a range of beneficial phytochemicals. Lignans, including 7-hydroxymatairesinol and syringaresinol, are abundant in millet. The grain also contains polyphenols, which act as antioxidants in the body. In general, brown millet varieties contain more polyphenols than white varieties, according to Science Alert. Specific flavonoid polyphenols in millet include orientin, quercitin, isoorientin, vitexin, isovitexin, saponarin, violanthin, lucenin-1, tricin and gallic, vanillic, caffeic, coumaric and ferulic acids. The polyphenols in millet not only destroy dangerous free radicals but also exhibit antimicrobial activity and act as enzyme inhibitors within cells.
Health Benefits- Millet is considered a whole-grain food. Whole grains are associated with protection against cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes as well as certain types of cancer. Another health benefit of millet consumption is a decrease in the incidence of stomach ulcers. Whole grains, such as millet, may also provide protection against childhood asthma. The USDA advises three or more servings of whole grains each day.
Glycemic Load- The glycemic load of a food indicates how much a single serving will raise blood sugar levels. The glycemic load of millet is approximately 25, which indicates a small effect on blood sugar. This means that diabetics or others who need to control blood sugar fluctuations should be able to safely eat a serving of millet without needing to worry about it raising blood glucose to any significant degree.

How to Cook Millet… 
1 part millet to 3 part liquid to per 1/4 tsp oil and dash of salt
Ingredients
1 cup raw millet
3 cups water (or broth, nut milk if you’d prefer)
¼ teaspoon salt, optional
1 tablespoon coconut oil or unsalted butter, optional

Instructions

1. Measure millet and cooking liquid: You’ll need 1 cup of raw millet and 2 cups of cooking liquid (water or broth).2. Toast millet: In a large, dry saucepan, toast the raw millet over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until it turns a rich golden brown and the grains become fragrant. Be careful not to let them burn.3. Add the water and salt to the pan: Since the pan is hot, the water will sputter a bit when you pour it in. After adding water and salt, give the millet a good stir.4. Bring the liquid to a boil: Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil.5. Lower the heat and simmer: Decrease the heat to low, drop in the butter and cover the pot. Simmer until the grains absorb most of the water (they’ll continue soaking it up as they sit), about 15 minutes. Avoid the temptation to peek a great deal or stir too much (unless its sticking to the bottom). Stirring too vigorously will break up the grains and change the texture.6. Remove From Heat and Let Stand: Like most grains, millet needs a little time off the heat to fully absorb the liquid. Allow it to sit, covered and removed from heat, for 10 minutes.7. Fluff and Serve! After millet sits, fluff it with a fork. Taste and add additional salt if you’d like. Millet does not keep well and is best served warm (see Additional Notes below). ]

Additional Notes:

• To make millet porridge, increase the liquid to 3 cups and stir every few minutes as the millet simmers.• In terms of texture, some of millet’s little beads will cook more quickly than others. You’ll likely have some softer grains and some chewy or even crunchy grains. I find this to be a good thing!• In addition, millet is one thirsty grain and doesn’t keep incredibly well overnight. So while I often double or triple many grain recipes to have leftovers for the week, I don’t do this with millet as I find leftovers to be quite dry.• Millet is best served warm.

by Seven Johnson

7LoveJohnson; Executive Creative Director / Organic & Natural Living, Balance Is True Beauty. Sharing Wealth Through Health and Wellness~ xo seven

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