The health benefits of millets are such that it treats coronary artery disorder, helps in weight loss, reduces risk of colon cancer, helps to decrease high blood pressure, helps in preventing Celiac disease, controls diabetes, good source of antioxidants, helps in slowing down muscle degradation, aids in sleep, helps in relieving menstrual cramps, aids breast milk production, improves skin elasticity.
Millets are a group of highly variable small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains for human food and as fodder. In India, millets have been mentioned in some of the oldest Yajurveda texts, identifying foxtail millet (priyangava), Barnyard millet (aanava) and black finger millet (shyaamaka), thus indicating that millet consumption was very common, pre-dating to the Indian Bronze Age (4,500BC). Millets however lack the nutrients critically important for a person’s body.
Millet is counted on around the world to provide basic nutrition for many developing nations. Every 100 grams of millets contain 378 calories of energy, 4.2 grams of total fat out of which saturated fat is 0.7 grams, total carbohydrate content is 73 grams, dietary fibre is 8.5 grams, protein content is 11 grams, folate is 85 mcg, niacin is 4.720 mg, Pantothenic acid is 0.848 mg, Riboflavin is 0.290 mg, Thiamine is 0.421 mg, Vitamin B6 is 0.384 mg, Vitamin E 0.05 mg, Tocopherol alpha is 0.05 mg, Vitamin K is 0.9 mcg, Calcium is 1%, Iron content is 17%, Copper is 38%, Magnesium is 28%, Manganese is 82%, Phosphorus is 28%, Potassium is 4%, Selenium is 4%, Zinc is 11%.
Consumption of millet in large amounts helps decrease triglyceride levels in the body. It thins the blood to prevent blood platelet clumping, thereby reducing the risk of sunstroke and coronary artery disorder.
Millets contain tryptophan, an amino acid which lowers appetite and helps in managing weight. It digests at a slower rate and keeps stomach full for a longer period of time. Millets are high in fibre and satiate hunger quickly, preventing from overeating. People who want to lose weight should incorporate millets in at least one of their main meals.
Millet contains both fibres and phytonutrients, the combination of which is believed to reduce the risk of developing colon cancer. Lignan, a phytonutrient in millet, is converted into mammalian lignan in the intestine that protects from breast cancer. In fact, consumption of millet can lower the risk of developing breast cancer by 50%.
Magnesium in millet relaxes the muscles that line the inside of the arterial wall, which helps to reduce blood pressure. It also reduces the severity of asthma and frequency of migraines.
Celiac is a disease which damages the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food. People who suffer from this disease cannot tolerate gluten. This makes millet a perfect food for them since it is completely gluten-free.
The low glycemic index in millet slows down the digestion process and keeps the blood sugar level at a constant ratio. Millets increase insulin sensitivity for people suffering with diabetes and also helps to control the sugar levels for non-diabetics especially type 2 diabetes.
The high amount of antioxidants present in millets fights free radicals present in the body which slows down the ageing process.
Millets are high protein grains and contain lysine, an amino acid which slows down muscle degradation and helps to build leaner muscles.
Tryptophan in millet raises the serotonin level in the body which helps in reducing stress. A cup of millet porridge every night can help to get sound and peaceful sleep.
Because of its high level of magnesium, millet is a great food for women who suffer from unbearable pain and cramps during their menstrual cycle.
Pregnant and lactating women are advised to consume Ragi in high amounts to increase the production of breast milk in their body. This enables the mother to feed the child for a longer period of time.
Millets are also used to prepare alcoholic beverages. Millets are traditionally important grains used in brewing millet beer in some cultures, for instance by the Tao people of Orchid Island and the Amis or Atayal of Taiwan. It is also the base ingredient for the distilled liquor rakshi in Nepal and the indigenous alcoholic drink of the Sherpa, Tamang, Rai and Limbu people, tongba, in eastern Nepal.
Millets are major food sources in arid and semiarid regions of the world, and feature in the traditional cuisine of many others. Millet porridge is a traditional food in Russian, German, and Chinese cuisines.
In addition to being used for seed, millet is also used as a grazing forage crop. Instead of letting the plant reach maturity it can be grazed by stock and is commonly used for sheep and cattle.
Millets are safe when consumed in a moderate amount. It has been consumed as staple food by millions of peoples in the past thousands of years. However, excessive consumption of millet might cause an adverse effect. Millets contain goitrogen, a substance that interferes with the production of thyroid hormones and inhibits iodine uptake and utilization by the thyroid gland. Deficiency of iodine is a significant health problem which leads to the development of enlarged thyroid gland, known as goitre. Goitre causes dry skin, anxiety, depression and slow thinking. In the Sudan region of Africa where millet is consumed as the primary source of energy, the occurrence of goitre was much greater than anywhere else in the world. Hence, people with thyroid problems need to restrict their consumption of millets.
Millet is one of the oldest crops known to mankind. Both the ancestor and the location of domestication of millet are unknown. It was believed that millet was cultivated during the Neolithic period (8000-2000 B.C.) in China where farmers plant the proso millet during the Second Chinese Dynasty. Nowadays, millet still plays an important role in the diet of northwest China. Millets used to be cultivated in western Europe but with the extensive growth of potatoes, millet production increasing decreased and almost disappeared by the beginning of 20th century.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, millet production ranks fifth in the world cereal production, following corn, wheat, barley and sorghum. The production of millet had increased from 27.6 million tons in 2000 to 31.6 million tons in 2010. It is widely cultivated in the Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, U.S., Argentina, Australia, Eastern Europe and southern India. The major exporters of proso millet are U.S., Argentina and Australia. The major millet importers are Belgium, Germany and Netherlands.
Millets have long been used as traditional staple foods by a large proportion of the world’s poor as in Asia and Africa. Currently, it was consumed in northern China, India, Africa and southern Russia. About 80% of the global millet production is directed consumed as human food in forms of porridges, breads, cakes, snacks, steamed goods and beverage. Because of lack of gluten, millet flour is normally used to make flat bread. Proso millet is used as a basic ingredient to make distilled alcoholic drink in Shanxi Province of China. It is also used to make bread-beer in Balkans, Egypt, Sudan and Turkey.
health benefits of millet
1. Millet is alkaline and it digests easily.
2. The hunzas – who live in a remote area of the himalayan foothills and are known for their excellent health and longevity – enjoy millet as a staple in their diet.
3. Millet will hydrate your colon to keep you from being constipated.
4. Millet acts as a prebiotic feeding microflora in your inner ecosystem.
5. The serotonin in millet is calming to your moods.
6. Millet is a smart carb with lots of fiber and low simple sugars. Because of this it has a relatively low glycemic index and has been shown to produce lower blood sugar levels than wheat or rice. (kamari and sumathi, 2002)
7. Magnesium in millet can help reduce the effects of migraines and heart attacks.
8. Niacin (vitamin b3) in millet can help lower cholesterol.
10. All millet varieties show high antioxidant activity. A team of biochemists analyzed the antioxidant activity; all varieties showed high antioxidant activity.
11. Millet is gluten-free and non-allergenic. A great grain for sensitive individuals.
12. Millet’s high protein content (15 percent) makes is a substantial addition to a vegetarian diet.
|ECZEMA OR DERMATITIS [ECZEMA]|
It is a chronic inflammatory condition of the skin causing a distinctive pattern of symptoms such as itching, scaling, thickening of skin and discoloration of skin.
• Can be associated with asthma.
• Allergic – dust mites, detergents, rubber, nickel plated jewellery.
• Stress – physical or emotional.
• In babies diaper rash or napkin eczema is possible.
|SIGN AND SYMPTOMS:|
|• Intense itching.
• Dry thickened skin usually on wrists, face, knees, and elbows.
• Small eruptions and blisters that may ooze fluid.
• Occasional redness and scaling.
• Dry leathery skin areas.
• Skin is abnormally dark or light in color than the normal skin.
• Raw areas of the skin from scratching.
|• Do not scratch especially with long nails. It may lead to secondary infection.
• Avoid foods you are allergic to.
• Avoid nickel plated jewellery, cosmetics, and other articles that give you skin complaints.
• Do not self medicate.
|• You can apply non-medicated ointments like petroleum jelly to soothe the irritation.
• Yoga will help to relax and de-stress yourself.
• When washing or bathing, use less soap than usual. After bathing, apply lubricating cream on the skin while it is damp.
peanuts and soy.
• Avoid dairy products, sugar, white flour, fried foods and processed foods.
• Avoid the excess fat from meat – buy lean and preferably organic.
• Avoid sugar, gluten (wheat, barley, rye and oats) and raw eggs.
• Avoid soft drinks and oranges (if allergic to oranges).
|• Drink plenty of water.
• Consume lots of fresh and raw fruits and vegetables.
• Eat healthy diet, including five portions of vegetables per day, brown rice, millet, oily fish and a little fruit (no oranges).
• Consume diet rich in vitamin A and zinc, helps in regeneration of the skin.
• Diet rich in vitamin A:
– Liver oils of fish, egg, milk and milk products,
– Yellow orange colored fruits and vegetables; green leafy vegetables are good source of - carotene.
• Foods rich in zinc:
– Shellfish, beef and other red meats, eggs and seafood, nuts, sea plants especially Japanese sea plants.
• Increase intake of vitamin C, it helps maintain healthy skin:
– Milk and milk products, citrus fruits, green vegetables
– Fruits and vegetables when fresh have maximum of vitamin C.
• Have coriander leaves frequently, its high in vitamin C and helps to maintain healthy skin.
• You can have 3-4 strands of saffron in milk, it is beneficial for skin.
• Basil leaves (tulsi) are said to be helpful in skin ailments, eat 3-4 fresh leaves daily.
• Breast feed your child; breast milk increases the immunity of your child and helps preventing eczema in future.
|• In case of prolonged duration or change in rash pattern take physicians opinion immediately.
• If symptoms get worse or if you see any Signs of infection (fever, redness of the affected area, pain) occur, see your physician immediately.
Knowledge regarding the food habits of man is provided by many disciplines. the social scientists, anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists and cultural geographers have been concerned with man’s culture, social activities and food habits. a number of factors influence the food habits. these include, among others, educational and economic level of the community, availability and cost of foods and social and cultural practices. once the food habits are established, they are handed down from generation to generation. in the present chapter, the following aspects of the problem have been discussed:
Early man ate whatever food he could get to satisfy his hunger. the food he could get consisted of what he could cultivate in the locality. soil, climet, water and local agricultural practies determined the types of foods that can be grown in the locality. this may explain the large scale and maize (corn) in many countries of africa, central and south america over the past several centuries. consumption of diets based predominantly on this staple food has given rise to large scale incidence of protein calorie malnutrition among preschool children in this region. pellagra was also widely prevalent among poor maize eaters. rice is the main food crop in the tropical countries where rainfall is high and water is available for irrigation, while millets are cultivated in areas of low rainfall. incidence of beri beri was high among the population consuming highly milled raw rice. wheat is mamly cultivated in temperate regions.
the various religions of the word have had some influence on the food habits. for example, muslims are forbidden from eating pork and hindus from eating beef. such religious beliefs have been practiced over the past several hundred years.
traditional beliefs in food habits are still prevalent with a large majority of the population who are illiterate or ignorant regarding the nutritive value of foods. these beliefs influence profoundly the pattern of food eaten. in south pacific islands, it is believed that certain shell fish eaten during pregnancy will cause the child to be born with scales on its head. in ethiopia, pregnant women must avoid roasted meat as it is believed to abortion. eggs are thought to cause baldness and sterility and hence not consumed by pregnant women. in india, consumption of papaya fruit by women is believed to lead to abortion, and consumption of garlic by lactating women will increase milk production. milk, which is an essential protective food in western countries, is disliked in many asian and affrican countries and not even weaned infants and preschool children
hot and cold foods
foods are classified as hot and cold by different cultures in many countries. ‘hot’ foods are believed to produce more heat in the body and lead to the development of boils. ‘cold’ foods are supposed to lower the heat production and lead to the development of cold, sore throat, etc. meat, eggs, legumes, nuts and oilseeds are supposed to be ‘hot’ foods, while fruits, vegetable and milk are supposed to be ‘cold’ foods.
pica is a common practice among pregnant women and children in many countries. pica is the habit of eating mud, clay, chalk, limestone, plaster, ashes, starch, etc. this habit has been reported since ancient times from asia, africa, europe and north, central and south america among pregnant women. there is a belief that the baby will not be normal if one does not eat clay or starch.
food fads and cults
exaggerated claims for some foods: hippocrates wrote of the health value of certain foods. food fads of various kinds have persisted ever since. according to indian ayurvedic system of medicine many foods are reputed to have curative properties for some diseases. for example, bitter gourd is reputed to cure diabetes mellitus, but without any scientific basis. yogurt, wheat germ, black strap molasses, brewers yeast and honey have been widely promoted by some food faddists as possessing extraordinary nutritional and medicinal qualities. fruits and vegetables cultivated using organic manure (compost etc.) are believed to possess greater nutritive value than foods grown with inorganic fertilizers. brown sugar is reputed to possess higher nutritive value than white sugar.