Millets for Diabetes:
Generally, our food contains cereals, pulses, vegetables, and fruits. But we have given more preference to rice and wheat and they have become our staple food in India. We have totally neglected a cereal which is a good alternative to consider i.e. Millets.
Millets are small-seeded cereals belonging to the Poaceae family which are not just nutritious but also environmentally friendly. When I am asked, which is the best grains for diabetes, I will definitely say ”Millets for Diabetes”.
In this blog, I will make you understand and will cover all the topics related to Millets and Diabetes:
- Millets and types of Millets
- Diabetes and its Status in India and in World
- Millets and Blood Sugar
- Research on Millets for Diabetes
- Best Millets for Diabetes
- Millet Recipes for Diabetes
- Where to get the Millets
Millets and Types of Millets:
Millets are small graned cereal crops that are highly nutritious and are grown in less fertile and marginal lands with very low inputs. Most of the millets are native to India and nowadays it is called Nutri-Cereals. Based on its grain size and area under production it is categorized into 2 types, i.e. Major and Minor Millets.
Under Major millets, we have Sorghum(Jowar) and Pearl Millet (Bajra), and under Minor Millets, we have Finger Millet (Ragi), Foxtail Millet (Italian Millet), Little Millet (Kutki), Barnyard Millet, Proso Millet, Kodo Millet, and Browntop Millet.
To give you a better picture of Millet’s, you can give a look at this video.
Related Post: Millet Grain Identification
Diabetes and its Status in India and in World:
I had an opportunity to attend ”NUTRICON 2020” – International Conference on ”Role of Millets in tackling the Diabetes” conducted by the Indian Institute of Millets Research and Nutrihub, Hyderabad and it was great to hear from the renowned panel speakers.
Dr. Faraz Farishta (Professor in Medicicti Institute of Medical Sciences, MD of FS Endocrine & Diabetes Centre, Hyderabad pointed out that 46.3 crore adults have Type-2 Diabetes Worldwide (2019). As per the estimated report (2019) of the International Diabetes Federation:
- 1 in 11 adults (20-79 years) has diabetes – 463 million people
- 1 in 2 adults with diabetes are undiagnosed – 232 million
- Over 3 in 4 people with diabetes live in low and middle-income countries.
- 10% of global health expenditure is spent on diabetes – USD 760 billion.
- 1 in 13 adults (20-79) has impaired glucose tolerance – 374 million people
- 1 in 5 people with diabetes is above 65 years old – 136 million people
- 1,110,100 children and adolescents below 20 years have type 1 diabetes.
- 1 in 6 live births (20 million) is affected by hyperglycaemia in pregnancy) – 84% of which is due to gestational diabetes.
From the above-estimated report, it can be concluded that Diabetes is a Global Emergency.
Dr Iryna Vlasenko, PhD Pharmacy, Associate Professor (Vice -President International Diabetes Federation) said that Diabetes and COVID-19 are the two dangerous pandemics around the world.
Let us understand the basics of Diabetes. There are 2 types of diabetes, namely Type -1 and Type -2. The people with Type -1 diabetes, the body of the patient does not produce any insulin and with Type-2, the body produces little insulin or is less sensitive to its effects.
Millets and Blood Sugar: Millets for Diabetes
Many of us might be heard from our forefathers that, they had no diabetes during their time. But now it is increasing at an alarming rate in India and abroad. Now you could rightly point out what is going wrong now. It is all about the diet we consume, the lifestyles we are following with no exercise. Our diet plays an important role in managing diabetes in our bodies.
It must be coming to mind, why we should consider millets? Are millets good for diabetes? Let me clarify you one by one:
- Millets have a low glycemic index (GI) that means it raises the blood sugar slowly in the body instead of rising quickly as in case of rice.
- Due to the presence of high dietary fibre, it takes more time for digestion.
- It keeps satiated for a longer time and don’t feel hunger pang between the meals.
- Millets are composed of complex carbohydrates which digest slowly in the body.
Monitoring of Sugar Level is Painless: Why prick, when you can scan??
Research on Millets for Diabetes:
Without research, we can not confirm the value and its importance. Researchers have taken the effort in carrying out the research and came out with findings.
- According to the study, conducted by M V Hospital for Diabetes on 105 patients with type-2 diabetes, found out that patients consuming foxtail millet dosa had low sugar levels as compared to the patient taken dosa made with rice.
- According to the Article, Millets have many properties which make them better suited for diabetes. Similarly, an experiment conducted in mice showed that a millet based diet reduces the blood glucose level and increase insulin sensitivities.
I think more research work is to be done with millets for diabetes so that it becomes a way forward for every stakeholder.
Related Post: 5 Best Millets for Weight Loss
Best Millets for Diabetes:
From the above discussion, now we can say that Millets rich in dietary fibre help in controlling the rise of sugar in the blood. Dietary fibre helps in the slow release of sugar after consumption of food and thus improve insulin sensitivity.
Apart from fibre, a study showed that some minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper and protein help in managing sugar levels in the body.
It has been reported that Millets has a low glycemic index and its value ranging from 54 to 68 in Foxtail Millet, Pearl Millet and Finger Millet. But, I think the carbohydrate to fibre ratio will make us easy to understand and choose the right kind of millet for controlling diabetes. According to the study by the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, Foxtail Millet, Little Millet and Barnyard Millet have a C/F ratio of 8.99, 8.22 and 4.82 respectively.
|Comparison of Millets on Glycemic Index
|Type of millet
|Mean Glycemic Index
|Glycemic Index Food Category
Obesity is another lifestyle disease that increases the risk of diabetes. Research has found out that obese people have iron deficiency and this makes it favourable for rising diabetes. So, millet like Pearl Millet will help in improving iron status and also in the weight loss journey.
So, considering the above fact and figure it’s time to select the best millets for diabetes. They are as follow:
- Foxtail Millet
- Finger Millet
- Barnyard Millet
- Little Millet
- Pearl Millet
Millet Recipes for Diabetes:
When it comes to selecting the recipe, we always prefer to have that are tasty, healthy and nutritious. With millets, we can definitely make it. I have been promoting millets from farm to plate through my Youtube Channel, where you can find many millet recipes from which you can select as per your choice.
But I will suggest a few recipes from where you can add to your diet plan.
Special Foxtail Millet Pulao for Lunch or Dinner
Where to Buy the Millets: Millets for Diabetes
It is always advisable to buy millets from your local market and if you are unable to get them, then you can buy from an online store. I will provide you with the link below to buy the best millets for Diabetes.
Hope you liked going through this article. Please add millets to your diet and be healthy. Leave a comment below and give your valuable suggestions and feedback for improvement.
Author: Tapas Chandra Roy, A Certified Farm Advisor on Millets, ‘Promoting Millets from Farm to Plate’. In a mission to take the forgotten grains- Millets to Millions. To remain updated on my blogs on millets you can join my Telegram Channel – Millet Advisor.