Proso millet, scientific name Panicum miliaceum, is one of the oldest cereals but is often, wrongly, neglected. Several scientific studies have brought attention to this cereal, because, in fact, millet is a precious source of properties for health.
Proso millet, nutrients
Millet is easy to digest, provides energy and protein in higher quantities than rice, wheat or oats. Not only that, millet is a source of easily assimilable amino acids, but also of vitamins, such as B vitamins, especially B6, to support the immune system and brain function, folic acid, and mineral salts (Liu et al, Int J Mol Sci, 2016). In particular, millet is unique among all cereals given the high content of calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc but also fiber. Not only that, millet also contains polyphenols and carotenoids with antioxidant action (Habiyaremye et al, Front Plant Sci, 2016 - Zhang et al, PLoS One, 2014).
Proso millet and water retention
Given the presence of mineral salts such as potassium, millet helps to counteract water retention. In fact, potassium stimulates diuresis and the excretion of sodium through urine (Gallen et al, Am J Kidney Dis, 1998).
Proso millet and nervous system
Thanks to its content in lecithin, millet offers valuable support to the nervous system by helping to restore nerve function, regenerate myelinated fibers and improve brain metabolism, making it useful in the case of intellectual work and fatigue (Habiyaremye et al, Front Plant Sci, 2016).
Proso millet, heart and diabetes
Scientific research has observed that millet is associated with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, given the high magnesium content. In fact, magnesium supports various reactions responsible for regulating glucose and insulin. For example, it was found that, in people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, replacing the rice-based breakfast with a millet-based breakfast reduced postprandial glycaemia, thus showing a protective and beneficial action in case of hyperglycemia (Narayanan et al, Indian J Med res, 2016). Even in the case of prediabetes, the mile can be helpful. In fact, introducing 50 grams of millet per day for 3 months in people with impaired glucose tolerance led to a reduction in both fasting and postprandial blood glucose (Ren et al, Nutrients, 2018). Not only that, magnesium also helps reduce the frequency of migraines and heart attacks (Habiyaremye et al, Front Plant Sci, 2016 - Zhang et al, PLoS One, 2014). Millet generally protects heart health due to the presence of fiber and antioxidants, which help keep cholesterol levels under control. Not only that, millet also helps to keep blood pressure under control (Habiyaremye et al, Front Plant Sci, 2016).
Proso millet and bones
The phosphorus present in millet is essential for the formation of the mineral matrix of bones (Habiyaremye et al, Front Plant Sci, 2016).
Proso millet and antitumor action
The polyphenols of millet help to counteract cellular degeneration. For example, lignans, which are nutrients found in millet, have been observed to act against different types of hormone-induced cancers, such as breast cancer (Habiyaremye et al, Front Plant Sci, 2016).
Proso millet and gluten
Millet is gluten-free and therefore lends itself to being included in the diet of people intolerant to gluten (Habiyaremye et al, Front Plant Sci, 2016).
Proso millet in the kitchen
And how do you eat millet? Here are some ideas. In a saucepan, pour a glass of millet in 400 ml of water with a little salt. Bring everything to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes by lowering the heat and covering with the lid. Serve with a side of vegetables such as steamed green beans and carrots. There is also millet flour. This flour is not useful to make bread, as it does not favor leavening, but it is perfect for making tasty, and healthy, porridge for breakfast. For example, bring three cups of millet flour to a boil along with half a cup of a plant based milk and 3 chopped dates. Let it simmer for five minutes, stirring often and until the dates have flaked apart. Add vanilla and cinnamon and serve with berries.