MILLET: A NUTRACEUTICAL GRAIN THAT PROMISES NUTRITIONAL SECURITYMadhulika Esther Prasad, Ayyanadar Arunachalam and Pankaj Gautam
The continued use of crop varieties introduced by Green Revolution that focus entirely on high yield and compromise on nutritional quality, has led to the advent of diet-related diseases in recent times that need to be combated with nutraceutical food products. Nutraceuticals are foods which provide medicinal benefits along with essential nutrients to prevent and treat chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular ailments and certain types of cancers. Millet is a rich source of macronutrients and micronutrients such as Starch, Protein, Zinc, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, antioxidants and essential amino acids. These along with the presence of avenanthramides, flavonoids, polycyanins, lignins and polysterols in them, imparts a medicinal value to the diet. Thus, millet consumption improves the nervous system, reduces cholesterol, blood pressure, osteoporosis, osteopenia and blood sugar levels. Being non-glutinous and nonacid forming they are excellent nutraceuticals for coeliac patients and people with digestive disorders. They are highly popular for their low Glycemic Index (GI) property which reduces the post-prandial blood glucose level for special importance in patients with type 2 diabetes. Overall, millet is an abundant and versatile food resource which requires further exploration for the utilization of its nutraceutical benefits.