Millet: the healthy gluten-free whole grain


Millet is one of the nutritious gluten-free whole grains that is totally safe for people who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Even if you do tolerate gluten, it’s a delicious whole grain you should consider in your diet. It’s super easy and quick to prepare and millet has lots of health benefits that are worth a look into.

Most people know millet as the small round seeds to feed birds, but it’s also a superfood for us humans. This whole grain packs lots of nutrients that you want to profit from. It can help lose weight, solve and repair digestive problems, diabetes, lower cholesterol and overall strengthen your immunity. It’s an ancient grain cultivated in Africa and Asia that later gained popularity in the Western world. Read on to read more about this ancient grain, its health benefits, and receive some inspiration on how to add millet to your meals.

What is millet?

Millet is actually a seed, even though we call it a whole grain. Because this seed remained unchanged for over the past centuries it is titled an ‘ancient whole grain’ according to the Whole Grain Council. This also counts for chia, quinoa, and buckwheat. Although technically a seed, millet has the same health benefits as grains and the same cooking method. They look like yellow seeds, but when cooked in boiled water they turn into tender grains with a mild cornflower taste.

This cozy whole grain meal is made with spicy flavored deliciously fluffy millet with pumpkin puree and carrot.

What makes the whole grain millet so healthy?

Millet is rich in nutrients including proteins, B vitamins, calcium, manganese, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, iron, dietary fiber, and copper. When adding millet to your plate you will nurture your body with lots of antioxidants, flavonoids, and anthocyanins that protect and strengthen your health.

Protecting the heart
Research has shown a link between whole grains and the prevention of heart disease. Choosing millet as a whole grain to your plate can be a healthy choice if you want to protect your heart. Millet is a rich source of magnesium which is an important mineral to reduce blood pressure and help prevent heart attacks or strokes. Due to its high fiber content millet can help to lower cholesterol which aids in protecting the heart.

Control blood sugar level
Millet is high in complex carbohydrates and low in simple carbohydrates making it longer to digest than standard kinds of wheat. Millet is a low-GI food (low glycemic index). This means it belongs to the foods that help keep your blood sugar balanced. Especially for people with diabetes millet is beneficial to manage their blood sugar levels more easily. 

Improve digestive system
Millet is high in dietary fiber which is essential for a healthy diet. Dietary fiber are mostly found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. They prevent and relieve problems like constipation, bloating, cramps, and excess gas. Your body doesn’t digest fiber like fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Fibers are classified as soluble, which dissolves in water, and insoluble which doesn’t dissolve. Soluble fibers are found in beans, oats, peas, carrots, citrus, and apples. They help lower cholesterol and glucose levels. Insoluble fibers are found in whole wheat flour, nuts, vegetables, and potatoes. They help transport material through your digestive system which can be of help when feeling bloated. Millet contains both soluble and insoluble fibers

Help in weight loss
Millet can be a great help if you want to lose those extra kilos. Using millet flour, making millet porridge for breakfast, and swapping rice for millet can really make a remarkable change. It lowers the accumulation of fat and helps your gut health. Millet is low in calories, gluten-free and high in complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates contain more nutrients, fibers, and digest slowly which makes you feel full longer.

Different types of millet

Before you go to the natural food store, first read on to find out about the most common types of millet:

  1. Ragi ( finger millet)
    It has a brown color and replaces often rice. When turned into flour it makes delicious dosa’s, bread and crackers.
  2. Foxtail millet
    This type is usually available in semoulina or rice flour and have a high iron content.
  3. Sorghum millet
    This is another popular type of millet in India. It makes amazing roti and is locally know as Jowar. People with wheat allergy can use sorghum as a good alternative.
  4. Pearl millet
    This type of millet also makes perfect roti.
  5. Buckwheat millet (Kuttu)
    Buckwheat millet is popular to make bread with.
  6. Amaranth Millet
    This type is the best choice to make delicious porridge and is the type of millet we used in our African Spiced Millet with carrot and shiitake.

What to cook with millet?

Millet makes delicious porridge, fluffy bread, dosas, and even desserts. It has a mild corn flour taste, which makes it a bit sweeter than other grains. If you toast it before cooking it creates a delicious nutty flavor. Millet is amazing in absorbing other flavors so you can basically make it taste like anything you like, curry, cinnamon, turmeric, anis, you name it.

Since more and more people became aware of the important role food plays in our health more and more people opting for nutrient-rich food, millet go popular in recipes. Here are a few examples of dishes you could make with millet.

  • Dosa, the South Indian pancake-like dish is made with ragi millet combined with wheat flour, buttermilk and salt. It makes a perfect healthy breakfast or lunch.
  • Millet burger are made best with ground kodo millet mixed with your favorite spices and herbs.
  • Millet porridge is a delious and healthy change from your oats. Mix it with spices and fresh fruit on top to start your day

We have a delicious cozy recipe for you with millet that is one of our favorite autumn recipes:

This cozy whole grain meal is made with spicy flavored deliciously fluffy millet with pumpkin puree and carrot.
Spiced Pumpkin & Carrot Millet with Shiitake (Gluten- Free)
This cozy whole grain meal is made with spicy flavored deliciously fluffy millet with pumpkin puree and carrot topped with shiitakes. It's 100% gluten-free and vegan!
Check out this recipe

Nutrition facts Millet

The following information about the nutrition facts is provided by the USDA and contains one cup of millet (174 grams).

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size174g

  • Amount Per ServingCalories207
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 1.7g 3%
    • Saturated Fat 0.3g 2%
  • Sodium 3.5mg 1%
  • Total Carbohydrate 41.2g 14%
    • Dietary Fiber 2.3g 10%
    • Sugars 0.2g
  • Protein 6.1g 13%

  • Vitamin A 3%
  • Iron 6%
  • Niacin 1.3%
  • Folate 8%
  • Phosphorus 8%
  • Magnesium 44%

* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Sources: Healthline , USDA

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