Millet: Is It Better than Rice for Your Child’s Growth?
May 10, 2022
May 10, 2022
The first few years of a child’s life are crucial for physical and cognitive growth. The growth proportion at this stage is much higher than in any other life stage. Furthermore, this foundation affects their entire life cycle. Among other factors, food is one of the most important and controllable factors. Traditional crops such as rice, wheat, maize and millets are good energy sources for the body. However, when thinking of a child’s growth, the crucial factor is choosing the best crop to rely on. This article discusses the nutritional benefits of millets, how they are a better option over rice and their benefits for the child’s growth.
Millets are grown as cereal crops or grains worldwide. They are highly variable small-seeded grass. In addition, they have a high nutritional content. Nutritionists believe that millets are many times better than wheat or rice in their nutritional properties. Millets are rich in iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamins and proteins. They are usually tiny in size and have a round shape. Furthermore, different millets boast various nutrients sufficient for a developing human body. The types of millets that children can consume are:
It is the most commonly known and available millet. People in Africa, Asia, and the Arabian Peninsula’s southern coast grow and consume it widely. It offers reasonable quantities of calcium, magnesium, fibre and protein.
Popularly known as Ragi in India, finger millet grows in slightly colder climatic regions. It is rich in amino acids and proteins. It facilitates brain growth in growing children. In addition, it has a high concentration of calcium and iron, which are beneficial for bones and RBC formation.
Rich in protein and dietary fibre, it is a healthy millet that improves digestion and cholesterol levels. As a result, it is beneficial for your cardiovascular health. In addition, it is high in calcium, vitamins and other minerals.
It is rich in carbohydrates that help balance blood sugar levels. In addition, it has a high iron content. Finally, for growing children, it helps develop a healthy immune system.
Also known as ‘Jowar’, Sorghum millet is rich in micronutrients, protein, iron and fibre. It also has high antioxidants and helps boost the body’s metabolism.
It is a healthy millet rich in dietary fibres. As a result, it helps regulate bowel movements. In addition, its high calcium and phosphorus content helps strengthen bone density, which is essential for children.
It is digestible millet that contains calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. In addition, it significantly strengthens the nervous system.
It is a never-ending debate about which grain is healthier for your child’s growth. For example, some experts believe that millets are healthier, whereas most nutritionists suggest that millets are better for your child’s development.
Several research studies believe that rice is a healthy food crop as it helps maintain a healthy weight. In addition, a survey suggests that long-term rice consumption leads to better nutrient intake and diet quality in children. In addition, it shows that rice consumption ensures higher intakes of vitamin D, folate, magnesium, iron, protein, vitamin B12, thiamin, niacin, and zinc, all essential for a child’s healthy development. However, millets are still a healthier choice over rice for children. Here is why:
Both rice and millets have enough fibre. However, millets have a higher fibre content than rice. Hence millets can be a better option, especially for improving a child’s digestive system, bowel movements and weight regulation.
Rice has approximately 2.69% of protein, and they have high carbohydrates. At the same time, millets are low in carbohydrates than rice and contain a higher amount of protein.
Although rice also offers some vitamins and proteins, millets have higher compositions of essential minerals and vitamins. In comparison, the overall profile of rice is not as healthy as millets.
Rice is a good source of carbohydrates and easy to digest for everyone. USDA data provides the macronutrient, vitamin and mineral profile of cooked rice.
One hundred grams of cooked rice offers:
Rice lacks vitamins like vitamin B12, vitamin A and vitamin K, essential for a child’s overall development.
According to USDA, below mentioned is the profile for 100g cooked millets, providing data on macros, vitamins and minerals.
One hundred grams of cooked millets offer:
It is evident from the data that millets have a better and healthier nutritional profile than white rice. In addition, they also offer various health benefits for children.
Studies show that eating millets lead to better growth in children. When examining the nutritional benefits, the research found that it can boost growth in children and adolescents by 26% to 39% when you replace rice with millets in your children’s diet. Results also suggest it can combat malnutrition in children. Children who were examined and served millet based meals found a relative increase in the following:
Children who started consuming millets had a 28.2% height increase than children who ate rice.
Children suffering from malnutrition often have less than the required body weight. For example, children who ate millets saw an increase in body weight by 26% than other children.
Millets are also helpful in providing children with a good body structure. For example, the examined children showed a 37% increase in chest circumference.
These research studies found that millet consumption can be a better option for small school going kids. In addition, it may help them to fight malnutrition and give them a strong and healthy body development.
The HealthifyMe nutritionists state that implementing millet-based tasty meals and recipes may help children and adults get more nutrition from food. As a result, they will have a healthier body and lifestyle.
Besides encountering malnutrition in children, millets can also reduce type-2-diabetes risk and iron deficiencies. Unfortunately, children can also have high levels of cholesterol. Millets are a good meal source for those who have increased cholesterol levels. They help lower cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart problems in children when they grow up. In addition, millets can help fight cardiovascular diseases, obesity and calcium deficiencies.
Calcium is an essential nutrient for a child’s growth as it strengthens the bones and teeth. Available evidence shows that 28% of the calcium in finger millet is bioavailable. Furthermore, it states that finger millet can give you 100mg of calcium per 100g of grain. Therefore, if rightly consumed in adequate amounts, it can help overcome calcium deficiencies.
Obesity is a significant cause of worry in young generations, and so is being underweight. These occur due to changed lifestyle and eating habits and irregular patterns of both. Research on 300 children determined that children who consume fast foods and unhealthy eating have abnormal BMI. This study proved a direct relationship between childhood obesity with dietary habits. Millets are a source of complex carbohydrates and are rich in fibre. The high fibre content helps in your bowel movement, keeps the child full for longer and helps flush toxins out of the body.
Compared to other food varieties, millets are more affluent in micronutrients yet have a low glycemic index. As a result, millets can help regulate blood sugar in some children who suffer from irregular blood sugar levels.
After knowing several health benefits, it’s essential to understand the best ways to consume millets. Eating the same meal every day is not possible for most children. Children tend to be picky about what they eat and have a unique food palate. Change in taste and food combinations is a requirement for them. So why not give the following a try!
Millet is also known as a “wonderful meal” for children, as the nutritious grain aids in their growth and development.
It is a simple, fail-safe way for cooking millet grain on the stovetop, complete with thorough instructions.
It is an excellent option for growing kids and pregnant mothers. Children can be picky about their taste. Millets ladoos are a tasty and nutritional recipe which makes them happy. It is high in calcium, iron, proteins and fibres.
This meal is healthful, probiotic-rich, and easy to make with a bit of millet and yoghurt.
With the inclusion of various vegetables, millet khichdi is a healthy and straightforward meal that is delicious. It is a one-pot, dump-and-go recipe that you can serve as a primary meal.
When prepared appropriately, millets are pretty safe for infants. Antioxidants, protein, vitamins, and minerals abound in millets. In addition, millets are very easy to digest. They are often gluten-free, making allergies to them quite unlikely. Although, it is crucial to note that millets contain antinutrients that can pose a little harm to the body. Hence, it is vital to consume it safely.
Ensuring the correct dietary habits is of utmost importance for a parent as it helps inculcate healthy eating patterns in your child. It is no secret that children need nutrient-rich diets that are also well balanced. Their bodies need the nutrients and minerals for growth, and it also helps them adopt a healthy eating pattern from the start. What they do in these budding years shapes a significant chunk of their future health. Hence, serving each food group in appropriate portions is best to facilitate their overall growth and development.
Unfortunately, modern culture is shifting towards unhealthy eating habits. Having high nutritional foods like millets makes your child fit for a lifetime. Implementing millet-rich foods is advisable as it will give them better health. In addition, you can cook millets in exciting ways and serve them as both savoury and sweet items. So, choose a healthy millet recipe and let your child enjoy the delicious taste with immense health benefits.
A. Many researchers claim that children who eat millets experience an increase in their height by 1.5% in an average of 3 months. In addition, millets contribute a boost of 26% to 39% to the overall development of children.
A. Siridhanya millet may aid in underweight problems. Many children suffer from malnutrition and weight problems; Siridhanya is a better option over other millets to gain weight. Besides this, Pearl millet is high in fat and can boost weight gain. Therefore, Pearl millet can be an excellent alternative to the Siridhanya millet.
A. Pearl millet can be a good choice for daily users. It has high fibre and calories. It keeps you full for a longer duration and has enough calories. Ragi and Jowar are best suitable for snacking throughout the day. You can include them in one meal in your day.
A. Millets are incredibly safe for infants. These have rich antioxidant properties and are rich in protein and fibre. Millets are easy to digest and gluten-free. Some types of millets may aid in weight gain but not fat gain. Millets rarely get allergic to infants.
A. We can introduce millets into a baby’s life after 6-7 months. You can provide them with homemade millet food. However, it is imperative to consult a doctor at this young age before making any dietary changes in your small kids.
A. Millets are safe when consumed in adequate amounts. It is a staple food, and millions of families consume them as a daily part of their diet. However, there is a limit to everything. If consumed excessively, it may result in adverse side effects. For example, it may result in iodine deficiency and goitre formation. Skin dryness, slow thinking and depression may also occur due to overuse of millets.
A. Pearl millet porridge is best for babies. You can cook it on a medium flame for one minute. Then, keep stirring it continuously till it thickens; make sure no lumps are present. Then, you can serve it lukewarm to your little one.
A. Millets are naturally very healthy and do not contain any gluten. A gluten-free diet helps reduce inflammation and also aids in digestion. In addition, people should use gluten-free products to boost energy and help lose excess weight.
A. Millets contain tryptophan. Yes, one may eat it as a night meal. Millets contain serotonin, which is responsible for reducing cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a stress hormone. A cup of millet porridge can reduce stress if taken daily before bed.
A. Millets are rich in iron, protein, fibres, and antioxidants. All these nutrients can be considered a perfect diet for pregnant and lactating mothers. In addition, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and folate are essential for pregnant women. Millets contain all these nutrients.