Keep Your Diabetes in Check with Millets

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which a person has high blood sugar levels either because the body produces little insulin or the body cells do not respond to it; or both. Good nutrition and exercise are crucial to prevent and manage diabetes.

A Staple Food

Millets are ancient grains and were the staple food in Asia and Africa. With the advent of polished rice and wheat, these grains had disappeared from our diets. Polished rice and wheat are now considered to be the ‘silent killers’ that can cause a myriad of health problems. Rather, a balanced meal rich in complex carbohydrates, fiber, good quality proteins, good fat, vitamins, and minerals is recommended to manage diabetes. Millets–the wonder grains–have it all.

Different Varieties

A wide variety of millets, foxtail millet, pearl millet, proso millet, little millet, sorghum, and finger millet are now available. Millets are nutrient dense contain 60 to 70 percent complex carbohydrates, 7 to 11 percent protein, 1.5 to 5 percent fat, 2 to 7 percent fiber, in addition to being rich in vitamins and minerals. Millets also contain phytochemicals, antioxidants, and detoxifying agents.

The Insulin Connection

Millets are digested slowly and release sugar at an even pace and prevent abnormal spikes in blood sugar. Magnesium in millets helps insulin synthesis and its action. Phytochemicals-polyphenols, lignans, and phytosterols help to maintain blood sugar and also reduce the risk of cataracts and heart disease. Antioxidants in millets help with skin wound healing.

Other Benefits

Millets are gluten free and can be used to treat celiac disease. The fiber and probiotic activity helps maintain a healthy gut. Millets also promote healthy weight loss. Millets add variety to the diet. Simple processing- soaking, germination, and fermentation improve the bioavailability of nutrients in them.

Considering the immense health benefits of millets, it is time to include them in your daily diet. Eat millets to prevent and manage diabetes.

Written by: Dr. Geetanjali Bhide, Nutritionist at Diabetic Food International (Pvt) Ltd 

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