Bengaluru: The state agriculture department’s push for millets has got the stamp approval of cardiac surgeons and nutritionists. “30-40% of patients with cardiac diseases have diabetes, 25% are battling obesity and roughly 40% have hypertension. Incorporating millets into one’s diet is recommended as the grains have high fibre content and low glycemic index," said Dr C.N. Manjunath, Director, Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research.
A study by M.V. Hospital for Diabetes found that replacing rice-based dosas with those made out of foxtail millets (navane) significantly brings down sugar levels in those suffering from type-2 diabetes.
Speaking more about antioxidant-rich grains, Dr A. Sundarvally, HoD, Home Science –Specialised in Food Science and Nutrition, Mount Carmel College, said, “Millets are miracle grains and are powerhouse of nutrition. They, if included in our diet, prevent numerous lifestyle disorders. Proteins, vitamins, minerals, fibres and antioxidant content in millets help consumers manage diabetes, hypertension and, in turn, cardiovascular diseases. Also, millets are gluten free, which helps people with celiac disease. It cannot be used as a cure or treatment for cancer, but its antioxidant character allows cancer patients to manage the disease better.”
Millets are gaining popularity as a healthy alternative to rice because of their higher protein and fibre content, iron, calcium, micro-nutrients and low levels of starch. However, experts suggest that millets have to be included in the diet slowly and not suddenly. Dr Sundaravally said, “The fibre content makes it a little difficult for the gut to accept and it takes time. Slow replacement is advisable. Beginning with one meal a day, one can increase it to two meals a day.”