The staple food of our ancestors, millets have recently emerged as the new superfood! Interestingly, also used as cattle feed, millets were once considered the last option for the very poor who could not afford wheat or rice.
Millets are small, whole grains belonging to the Poaceae family, and are usually grown in semi-arid regions. They contain a considerable amount of fibre, protein, calcium and antioxidants. They are gluten-free and have a low glycemic index. This yields better nutrition when consumed compared to rice and wheat.
Inspired by the nutrients in millets, a team of Shoolini food tech researchers, Dr Pankaj Kumar Chauhan, Professor, School of Bioengineering and Food Technology and Mahima Shree NM (MSc Food Technology) have created a unique porridge with ingredients from nine kinds of millets.
The development of the ‘9-Millet Porridge Mix’ is a good substitute for the Indian staple diet and the porridge can be consumed by diabetics and people who suffer from gluten intolerance.
This porridge mix targets a group of people who want to control diabetes, who are looking for healthy alternatives and also who want to transition towards healthy eating. This product is a very healthy alternative to rice and wheat and is rich in dietary fibre as well. This food product is designed so that it is quick to make, high in minerals like magnesium, phosphorus and calcium, low in fats, zero cholesterol and gluten-free. Millets are still not popular among people but these are proven to have greater nutrition than rice, wheat, corn and other cereals.
The 9 types of millets include Finger Millet, Pearl Millet, Proso Millet, Barnyard Millet, Foxtail Millet, Little Millet, Browntop Millet and Jowar. It also contains almonds, cinnamon, cardamom and Vitamin E. The Kodo millet used in the formula helps to regulate blood glucose levels and finger millets is a rich source of calcium. While a mix of a couple of millers is available in the market, there is no other product with nine varieties of millets.
The incorporation of millets like Browntop Millet and Pearl Millet in foods needs to increase. A healthy diet and lifestyle are the key to solving issues like malnutrition, lifestyle diseases and others, according to Dr Chauhan.
Dr Pankaj Kumar Chauhan said the mix they had created did not contain any artificial flavours, colours or preservatives and was free from any kind of chemicals. “This product can be cooked to yield a wholesome meal in the form of a porridge which takes less than 5 minutes to cook. It consists of a considerable number of polyphenols and being low in glycaemic index, it helps to regulate blood sugar levels. Consuming this product will improve overall health,” he added.