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UN declared 2023 as International Year of Millets: Learn about its health benefits

by Prosenjit bhattacharya

Date & Time: Dec 25, 2022 2:00 PM

Read Time: 2 minute



Millets, which are primarily grown in India during the kharif season, have a high nutritional value. The United Nations declared 2023 to be the International Year of Millets.

At the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters, the United Nations declared 2023 the International Year of Millets (IYOM 2023). Millets, a popular Indian food staple that includes pearl (bajra), propo, foxtail, barnyard, little, kodo, browntop, and others, are an important source of nutrition for millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

According to FAO Director-General QU Dongyu, the year 2023 will serve as a timely reminder of "this important crop."

"Millets are amazing ancestral crops that have a high nutritional value. Millets can play an important role in empowering smallholder farmers, achieving sustainable development, eliminating hunger, adapting to climate change, promoting biodiversity, and transforming agrifood systems "QU Dongyu, Director General, stated.

TYPES OF MILLETS

1. Pearl

2. Foxtail

3. Proso

4. Finger (Ragi)

5. Kodo

6. Barnyard

7. Browntop

8. Fonio

9. Adlay

MILLETS' HEALTH BENEFITS

The kitchen ingredient, which is primarily a kharif crop in India, provides numerous nutritional benefits and ensures long-term production. It contains phytonutrients, which 
help to lower the risk of heart disease. It's also high in niacin, a B vitamin that regulates over 400 enzyme reactions in the body. It is beneficial to the skin and organ functions, and the darker varieties are high in beta-carotene.

Millets have a low glycemic index, so they can aid in blood sugar control. This makes it an excellent substitute for wheat and rice, both of which have a high glycemic index. 

This means they can cause a spike in blood sugar levels, making them unsuitable for diabetics.

It has a low carbon and water footprint and can grow in poor soils under adverse and arid conditions with few inputs.

Millets are also known as a prebiotic, which means that they support the good bacteria in the digestive system. It can help grow and repair body tissue because it contains more essential amino acids than other cereals. It contains antioxidants such as ferulic acid and catechins, which protect the body from damaging oxidative stress.

Millets are a gluten-free option for those with celiac disease who follow a gluten-free diet. Because other grains such as wheat, rice, barley, and rye contain gluten, a protein that many people are sensitive to, the millet family may be ideal for consumption.

To commemorate the 'Millet Year,' Union Agricultural Minister Narendra Singh Tomar hosted a special 'Millet-only' lunch for members of Parliament earlier today. The special lunch menu included dishes such as Bajre Ke Raabri (pearl millet soup), Raji Roti, Foxtail Millet Bisibelebath, and Jowar Halwa.

More than 90% of millet production occurs in developing African and Asian countries. Because millet cultivation is declining in many countries, the UN stated that there is an urgent need to promote the nutritional and environmental benefits of millets to consumers, producers, and decision-makers.

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