Millets – Benefits, Types, Recipes & Weight Loss

Alpa Momaya

April 15, 2024

Millets are a powerhouse of nutrients. They boost your health and improve weight loss, besides being gluten-free. 

Millets are available in a variety of types, and each has its own health benefits. Consuming millet as part of your daily diet is an age-old concept. The population of central and southern India consumed millet daily until the Green Revolution made rice and wheat more accessible. 

With the boom of rice and wheat production, millets took a back seat for some years. However, they have now reclaimed their position in the kitchen and heart of health conscious individuals.

What Are Millets?

Millets are coarse grains with a high nutritional value. They are rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and fibres. Unlike other cereals, millets require little water and ground fertility. The sheer affordability of millets also tags them as ‘poor man’s food grain’. The world is now noticing millets for their enormous potential.

You can divide Millets into two broad categories:

1. Naked grains

Naked grains refer to the millets devoid of the tough, indigestible husk, such as Ragi, Jowar, and Bajra. These millets don’t require processing after their harvest. They can be consumed right after cleaning. These millets are therefore significantly cultivated today.

2. Husked grains

Foxtail millets, Little millets, and Kodo millets belong to this second type. These types consist of an indigestible seed coat that has to be removed before consumption. The processing of these millets is one of the reasons for making them less popular.

Millets contain a host of micronutrients such as iron, calcium, and phosphorus. Also, they take time to digest, which doesn’t cause the blood sugar spike associated with easily digestible food. So introducing millet into your diet can help control diabetes. 

5 Types of Millets

Millets come in different shapes and sizes. The two broad categories discussed above contain numerous kinds of millets. We will take a look at some of these different types below:

1. Foxtail Millet

Foxtail millet, or indigenously called Kakum/Kangni. It contains blood sugar balancing healthy carbohydrates. The iron and calcium content present in it also helps strengthen immunity. In addition, foxtail millets help regulate your blood cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol levels in your body.

2. Finger Millet/Ragi

Ragi is a more common name for finger millet. It is used as a healthier cereal substitute for rice and wheat. Ragi is gluten-free and rich in protein and aids brain development in growing children.

Read More: Why Ragi Should Be A Part Of Your Diet? 

3. Pearl Millet/Bajra

Bajra is incredibly nutrient-dense. It contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium, protein, fibre, and iron. Practice regular consumption of pearl millet to fight against type II diabetes and aid weight loss. 

Read More: Is Bajra Good For Diabetes? 

Read more: Is Bajra Good For Weight Loss? 

4. Buckwheat

Go for buckwheat if your primary concern is to lose weight. It makes for a healthy food option for diabetes, helps lower blood pressure, and improves cardiovascular health. Buckwheat also fights against diseases such as gallstones, childhood asthma, and breast cancer.

Readmore: The Connection Between Buckwheat and Good Health

5. Little Millet

Little millet is also an excellent option for those looking to lose weight. You can eat it as a rice replacement. It is high in fibre and filled with numerous minerals such as potassium, zinc, iron, and calcium. It is also packed with the health benefits of vitamin B and works as an antioxidant for your body.

7 Proven Health Benefits of Millets

1. Aid Weight Loss

Millet are rich in protein and fiber, two essential nutrients for weight loss. They help to keep the stomach fuller for a longer duration of time and reduce the unhealthy snacking habit between meals. This helps in shedding the extra kilos without compromising on nutrition.

2. Keep Your Blood Sugar Levels Low

According to a meta-analysis, millet consumption lowers the incidence of blood sugar fluctuations. Millets have a low glycaemic index. Therefore consumption of millets regularly lowers the risk of developing diabetes. It also helps to stabilise the blood sugar levels in diabetics.

3. Boost Immunity

Research states that millet consumption, both major and minor are beneficial for building immunity. Protein intake is responsible for building the body’s immunity.

Millets being a great source of protein can help develop and strengthen our immunity. Stronger immunity means fewer chances of you catching diseases.

4. Reduce Cardiovascular Risks

Millets contain essential fats, which provide our bodies with good fats. This prevents excess fat storage as well as effectively lowers the risk of high cholesterol, strokes, and other heart complications as stated by this study. 

The potassium content in millets regulates your blood pressure and optimises your circulatory system.

5. Prevents Asthma

The magnesium content in millets can reduce how frequently you experience migraines. It can also bring down the severity of your asthma complaints.

The reason is, unlike wheat, they do not contain the allergens that lead to asthma and wheezing.

6. Aids Digestion

Millets are a rich fibre source that benefits digestion by alleviating bloating, gas, cramping, and constipation. In addition, good digestion keeps issues like gastric/colon cancer and kidney/liver ailments away.

7. Acts as an Antioxidant

Millets help your body detox because of their antioxidant properties; Quercetin, curcumin, ellagic acid, and other valuable catechins flush out toxins from your body and neutralise the enzymatic actions of your organs.


Millets are rich in several beneficial nutrients, such as phosphorus, magnesium, copper, and manganese. Incorporating them into one’s diet can have various health benefits such as improved immunity and digestive health. It also protects against heart conditions and other complications like asthma. Millet consumption is known to aid weight loss and detoxify the body. It also regulates blood sugar levels which helps in the prevention of diabetes or better management of the condition. 

Healthy Millet Recipes

The uses of millets are diverse. You can cook them for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Use millet rice instead of white rice in your recipes, and your dishes will be significantly healthier. Given below is a rice-substitute millet preparation recipe.

1. Vegan Millet Sushi with Roasted Root Vegetables and Broccoli Cream

Serving Size – 5 sushi rolls
Preparation Time – 45-50 minutes


For the Roasted Root Vegetables

  • 1/2 tbsp oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 100g each of carrot, turnip, root celery, and beet strips

For the Broccoli Cream

  • 50 g each of peeled sunflower seeds and broccoli florets
  • 180 ml cold water
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

For the millet

  • 250 g uncooked millet
  • 1.2 l water
  • ½ tsp salt

You will also need 5 nori sheets and tamari sauce for serving.


1. Bake the vegetables first. Preheat the oven to 400F, put your vegetable strips onto a covered baking tray with a sprinkle of oil. Add some salt over the vegetables and bake them in the oven for 35 minutes or lightly browned. Take the tray out of the oven and allow the baked vegetables to cool.

2. Now, mix the millet with water and salt and bring it to a boil. Boil this mixture on medium heat for about 15 minutes. Once it has softened, keep it aside and let it cool down.

3. Boil the broccoli florets and sunflower seeds in water for 15 minutes and then drain and rinse these boiled vegetables with cold water. Add this cooked broccoli and sunflower seeds to a blender with cold water, soy sauce, and vinegar. Blend for a handful of minutes until you obtain a smooth mixture and set it aside.

4. Take a rolling mat and your nori sheets and prepare to make your sushi. First, add about a tablespoon of millet and spread it out. Then add some roasted veggies and a little of that broccoli cream.

5. Moisten the top of the nori sheet with some water and roll it into a tight sushi roll. Repeat the same process five times and then use a sharp wet knife to cut the sushi into pieces. Serve this sushi with leftover broccoli cream and tamari sauce. Enjoy your millet rice sushi.

HealthifyMe Suggestion

Using a variety of millets as a replacement to traditional grains such as wheat, rice also gives different taste, flavour to the same dish along with nutritional benefits. Millets are gluten-free and a great alternative for those who are gluten intolerant. They can be eaten as a porridge for breakfast, as a side dish, or even used as a flour for baking. They can be added to soups, stews, and salads for an extra boost of nutrition. They have gained popularity in traditional dishes such as dosa and idli by replacing rice. You can also use millets to make healthy and delicious flatbreads, rotis, and even pancakes. With so many varieties of millets the options are endles.


Millets flew under the radar with the presence of more popular cereals, like rice and wheat. It was only recently that health and fitness enthusiasts from across the world understood its potential. The health benefits that the humble food grain offers are truly unique.

Unlike wheat and rice, millet cultivation is incredibly sustainable. This food grain benefits our bodies by strengthening our immunity, keeping diseases in check, and aiding weight loss. In addition, millets take longer to break down in the body and keep us satiated for longer.

There are many ways to include millet in your diet. You can use this food grain as a cereal substitute, make porridge, or infuse it into cupcakes – the uses of millets in cuisine are endless. So include this superfood in your everyday diet and notice the positive changes it brings to your life.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is just to disperse knowledge and raise awareness. It does not intend to replace medical advice from professionals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Is millet carbohydrate or protein?

A: It is rich in carbohydrates, not protein.

Q. Which is better oats or millet?

A: Both of them are high fibre grains. However, processed rolled oats may take second place than whole millets, as they are not processed.

Q. Is Millet bad for thyroid?

A: Millet is goitrogenic, which means it might interfere with the iodine absorption in the body. Hence it is necessary to limit it in people suffering from Hypothyroidism.

Q. Which is the best millet?

A: All varieties of millet have their positives. Consuming them in the right amounts can only help improve your overall health.

Q. What are the 5 millets?

A. There are several types of millet. However Foxtail Millet, Finger Millet, Pearl Millet, Buckwheat and Little Millet are the popular ones. 

Q. Is millet healthier than rice? 

A. Millets is a high carbohydrate and low calorie food. It is also rich in other vitamins and minerals which makes it a healthier alternative to rice. 

Q. Can millets be eaten everyday? 

A. Yes, switching your daily rice consumption to millets can be beneficial for you. It is low in calories and sugar, provides the necessary protein and is rich in fibre. It is safe to have millet daily, yet in controlled portions. 

Q. What is the health benefit of millet?

A. Millets are called superfoods because of the numerous health benefits they offer. They are great to aid weight loss, lower blood sugar levels of an individual, prevent cardiovascular diseases along with enhancing immunity.

Q. Will millets increase weight?

A. No, millets have low calorie content. 1 bowl (242g) of Millet rice only contains 186 calories. So, it is great for weight loss. 

Q. Who should avoid Millets?  

A. Millets must be avoided by people who have low gastric acidity, have inflammation in the colon and by hypothyriod patients. 

Q. When is the best time to eat Millets?

A. Millets are very versatile in nature. So, you can have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. 

Q. Which millet has the highest protein?

A. Finger Millet is known to have the highest amount of protein among other millets. 100 grams of finger millet is 328 calories and 7.3 grams of protein. 

Q. Which millet is good for the kidney?

A. Millets are a great source of potassium that supports kidney health. Pearl Millet and Little Millet are known to be great to prevent chronic kidney disease. 

Q. What type of millet is best?

A. Loaded with vitamins and minerals, fiber and potassium, Millets provide various health benefits. So, by understanding individual properties of each millet, you are choosing the best for yourself.

Q. Can diabetics eat millet everyday?

A. Yes, Millets are a good choice for diabetic people, as they are known to regulate blood sugar. They are low in GI and studies show that millets are especially great for people having type-2 diabetes. 

Q. Do millets reduce diabetes?

A. Yes, millets have properties that can reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes. Its high fibre content is beneficial for keeping a check on blood sugar levels. Foxtail millets are the kinds that improve glucose control. 

Q. What are the side effects of Millets?

A. Excessive consumption of Millets can slow your digestion process causing bloating, constipation, it can cause iodine deficiency, along with suppressing Thyroid activity.

Q. What is the nutritional value of millet? 

A. 100 grams of cooked millet has 119 calories, 23.7 grams of carbohydrates, 1.3 grams of fibre, 3.5 grams of protein.  

Q. How many carbs are in 100 grams of millet?

A. A total of 100 grams of cooked millet contains 119 calories. 

Q. Does millet cause gas?

A. Millets are a good source of fibre. So, it can cause gas for people who generally have low fibre intake.

Q. Why should we soak millet before cooking?

A. Soaking millet before cooking will break down the phytic acid in them, and thus make them more likely digestible. Soaking also helps in the absorption of other nutrients and minerals. 

About the Author

As the holder of a Post Graduate Diploma in Dietetics from the University of Mumbai, Alpa Momaya has always understood the value of good nutrition in an individual's life. She is a Registered Nutritional Practitioner (Canada) with over 15 years of experience in the field. Specializing in Clinical Nutrition, Pre & Post Natal Diets, and Weight Management, Alpa found her calling as a Sr. Nutritionist with HealthifyMe. Alpa's love for cooking and good nutrition has seen her contribute several recipes to the HealthifyMe database over the years. Additionally, she takes a keen interest in reading and painting.

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27 responses to “Millets – Benefits, Types, Recipes & Weight Loss”

  1. Hello Dr. is there a daily limit of intake for any of the Millet Grain, and is roasted better than non roasted in nutritious wise. Thank you.

  2. Millets are the future crops and definitely, it will be addressing the main issues like lifestyle diseases, malnutrition, food security, and most important the climate change.

  3. Its a very helpfull article about millets ..thank you somuch..expecting more articles …

  4. Which water to take in the morning for effective weight loss???Jeera water or apple cider vinegar

  5. Really a very helpful post. This is really great information. Thanks for sharing this information with us.

  6. Very informative. Your page showed in top results for my query “which millet is good”
    Thanks. Also can you please change the phrasing like below in foxtail millet segment.
    “….commonly available in the form like semolina or rice flour”

  7. I am eating millets regularly. Mostly little millet and foxtail millet. I used to eat white rice every day and now I have replaced it with millets and am eating rice only once in a week and millets and roti for the rest of the week. Does it have any negative impact on my health and my goal to lose weight? Please suggest.

  8. Great recipe! I’m also trying to switch to a healthier lifestyle and started to mine for healthy recipes like yours. Your blog posts are super inspiring for me in this phase, thanks!

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