While gluten sensitivities are becoming mainstream, the gluten-free alternatives are plentiful and here’s one more you can add to your shopping cart, dinner table, breakfast bowl and snack recipes! That’s a lot of bang for your buck, considering its teeny tiny profile.
Millet is a whole grain that offers a strong nutrient profile in the absence of gluten. High in Magnesium, Potassium, Manganese and Trytophan, Millet is also a good source of insoluble fiber and that’s what helps to slow down the rate blood sugar enters your blood stream (an important factor in preventing spikes that lead to insulin resistance, inflammation and disease).
Studies have shown Millet’s nutrient profile offers many cellular level health benefits, only a few of which I’ve listed here:
Reduced risk of type 2 Diabetes
Promotes healthy cell structure throughout the body
More, much more!
Gluten-Free Source of Minerals and B Vitamins
With over 600 million tons of wheat produced every year, wheat is one of the most popular cereals in the world (along with rice and corn). For many people, whole grain wheat is also a major source of B vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc and copper. But wheat also contains gluten, a protein composite that can cause gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, flatulence and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Millet, by contrast, is inherently gluten-free, and provided that you buy millet that has not been cross-contaminated with gluten-containing grains during processing, you can safely use millet as a gluten-free substitute for wheat, rye and other grains that contain gluten. But the absence of gluten is hardly the only reason why millet makes such a great substitute for whole grain wheat. You see, this ancient grain also contains many B vitamins as well as essential minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, copper, zinc and chromium. A revealing study published in the journal Food Chemistry in 2006 analyzed the mineral content of six cereal grains – hard wheat, soft wheat, barley, rye, sorghum and millet – and found that, among the tested grains:
Millet had the highest levels of potassium, calcium and iron
Millet was second only to barley in terms of magnesium and zinc content
Millet was the only grain that contained significant levels of chromium
Millet is available hulled or whole grain. Whole grain always offers more soluble fiber than the hulled version of any grain. Store it in an airtight container where it’s cool, dark and dry.
From a culinary standpoint, Millet can be made mushy, like a porridge or fluffy like couscous or rice or it can be used in baking.
In all cases, rinse dry grains before cooking.
Fluffy Millet: 1 cup millet to 2.5 cups liquid (water, broth, combo). Bring liquid to a boil, add rinsed grains. Once it has returned to a boil , cover, reduce heat and simmer, approximately 25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff grains with a fork and season with S&P.
FluffyNutty Millet: While waiting for the liquid to come to a boil, lightly toast dry grains in a skillet, then add to liquid, for a nutty flavor profile.
Porridge: Cook the same as fluffy millet, EXCEPT, stir it frequently and add a bit more liquid along the way.
Baked goods: Grind millet grains first, then sub 1/4 – 1/2 cup of flour with ground millet. Alternatively, use ground millet in place of oats in a recipe. If you want that nutty flavor, toast first, then grind. Stone ground Millet has been used for thousands of years in flatbreads in many civilizations!
Fillers and batters: Use whole or ground millet as a filler in veggie burgers, meatloaf, stuffing, or in pancake or waffle batter!