Do you remember your grandma telling you to munch on dry fruits ladoo or eat millet rotis during winter? Well, it’s not just old talk, there’s some wisdom there.
Why? Firstly, millets are seasonal foods and these foods are the freshest of the fresh and they are filled with all the nutrients your body needs. Additionally, local goodies hit the shelves faster, keeping more of that nutrition intact, unlike the fancy stuff shipped from miles away. Moreover, millets are grown right here in India and are loaded with health benefits. So, when it’s cold outside, go local and seasonal, your body will love you for it!
Also in winter, it’s important to nourish your body and stay warm. Your immune system gets a boost during this season, and you can support it by including Indian grains, spices, millets, and traditional recipes like winter ladoo and dry fruit ladoo in your diet. Indian millets, some of the healthiest and oldest grains, are incredibly good during winter.
Also, a study revealed that millets contain phenolic compounds such as phenolic acids, flavonoids, and tannins, which are known for their positive effects on human health. These compounds are responsible for antioxidant activity that helps to combat oxidative stress in the body.
In this blog, we will discuss five different healthy millets you can eat in winter and their various benefits.
Top 5 healthy winter millets:
Here is a quick review of five millets, their benefits, and how to use them in winter.
|Bajra (Pearl Millet)
|Kangini (Foxtail Millet)
|Ragi (Finger Millet)
|– Rich in fiber, Full of proteins, and loaded with vitamins and minerals
|– Rich in carbohydrates, Dietary fiber, Vitamins and minerals
|– Rich in iron, High in fiber, and Essential nutrients
|– Rich in micronutrients, Dietary fiber, Low glycemic index
|– Rich in calcium, High in iron, Dietary fiber, Essential amino acids
|How to Use in Winters
|– Jowar Roti (Flatbread), Upma, Khichdi, Salad
|– Makai Roti (Corn Flatbread), Corn Soup, Makai Kheer (Corn Pudding), Corn Salad, Makai Pulao (Corn Pilaf)
|– Bajra Roti (Flatbread), Khichdi, Bajra Soup
|– Kangini Upma, Foxtail Millet Pulao, Kheer, Foxtail Millet Salad
|– Ragi Roti (Flatbread), Ladoo, Ragi Soup, Ragi Smoothie
Now let’s take a deeper look into its benefits and uses.
Jowar, also known as Sorghum and white millet. It is a gluten-free, ancient grain that has been a staple in Indian diets for centuries. It belongs to the millet family and is celebrated for its nutritional richness. This grain is not only versatile but also offers a range of health benefits which makes it an excellent choice, mainly during the winter months.
Rich in Fiber: Jowar is a good source of dietary fiber that promotes digestion and helps in maintaining a healthy gut.
Full of Proteins: It contains essential amino acids that make it a valuable protein source. Also, it is vital for muscle health and overall body functions.
Loaded with Vitamins and Minerals: Jowar is a good source of vitamins like B-complex vitamins and essential minerals such as iron, magnesium, and phosphorus, that help in overall well-being.
How to Use:
Jowar Roti (Flatbread): Replace regular wheat rotis with Jowar rotis for a nutritious and gluten-free alternative. These rotis can be paired with winter vegetables, lentils, or curries.
Jowar Porridge: Prepare a warm Jowar porridge by cooking the grains with milk or water. Add seasonal fruits and nuts for extra flavor and nutrition.
Jowar Upma: Create a savory Jowar upma by sautéing the grains with vegetables, spices, and herbs. It makes for a wholesome and satisfying winter breakfast or snack.
Jowar Khichdi: Cook Jowar with lentils, vegetables, and aromatic spices to make a nourishing and easy-to-digest khichdi, perfect for winter evenings.
Jowar Salad: Toss-cooked Jowar grains with fresh winter vegetables, herbs, and a light dressing for a refreshing and nutritious salad.
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Makai, commonly known as Maize or corn. It originates from the Americas and it has found its way into diverse cuisines worldwide. Maize is a great addition to winter meals due to its rich nutrient profile.
Rich in Carbohydrates: Maize is a substantial source of complex carbohydrates. It is important to keep warm during winter.
Dietary Fiber: With both soluble and insoluble fiber, maize supports digestive health, which aids in proper digestion and prevents constipation.
Vitamins and Minerals: It contains essential vitamins like B-complex vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus that help in overall well-being.
How to Use:
Makai Roti (Corn Flatbread): Substitute or mix maize flour with wheat flour to make delicious Makai rotis. These pair well with winter vegetables and curries.
Corn Soup: Prepare a warm and comforting corn soup by combining maize grains with broth, vegetables, and aromatic spices. It’s an excellent way to stay cozy during the winter evenings.
Makai Kheer (Corn Pudding): Create a delightful dessert by making a kheer with maize. Cook maize with milk, sugar, and cardamom for a sweet and nutritious treat.
Corn Salad: Make a refreshing salad by mixing boiled maize kernels with seasonal vegetables, herbs, and a light dressing. It’s a crunchy and healthy addition to winter meals.
Makai Pulao (Corn Pilaf): You can make winter rice dishes by adding maize kernels to pulao. The sweet and nutty flavor of corn complements the warmth of the season.
Bajra, commonly known as pearl millet. It is a nutrient-dense grain that has been a traditional part of Indian diets for ages. It thrives in arid regions. It is well known for its hardiness and nutritional richness. Bajra is an excellent choice during the colder months as it offers a lot of nutrients to keep you nourished.
Rich in Iron: Bajra is an important source of iron, crucial for maintaining healthy blood. It also prevents winter-related fatigue.
High in Fiber: With a high fiber content, Bajra supports digestive health which helps combat issues like constipation.
Essential Nutrients: It provides essential nutrients like magnesium, phosphorus, and B-complex vitamins responsible for overall well-being.
How to Use:
Bajra Roti (Flatbread): A staple in winter meals, Bajra roti are hearty and pair well with various winter vegetables, lentils, or curries.
Bajra Khichdi: Create a nourishing and warming Bajra khichdi by combining the millet with lentils, seasonal vegetables, and aromatic spices.
Bajra Porridge: Make a wholesome Bajra porridge by cooking the grains with milk or water. Add honey, nuts, and winter fruits for a nutritious and tasty breakfast.
Soup: Prepare a comforting Bajra soup by cooking the millet with vegetables and herbs. It’s a soothing and nutritious option for cold winter nights.
Salad: Incorporate Bajra into salads by mixing cooked grains with fresh winter vegetables, herbs, and a light dressing for a crunchy and nutritious side dish.
Kangini, commonly known as Foxtail Millet. It is a lesser-known yet highly nutritious grain that has been gaining recognition for its health benefits. It originated from Asia, and it has been a traditional part of many Asian diets.
Rich in Micronutrients: Kangini has essential micronutrients, such as iron, magnesium, and phosphorus, that promote various aspects of health.
Dietary Fiber: With a high fiber content, it aids in digestion, supports gut health, and helps in maintaining a healthy weight.
Low Glycemic Index: Kangini has a low glycemic index, making it a suitable option for those looking to manage blood sugar levels.
How to Use:
As mentioned above, you can make a variety of dishes with this millet. Such as Upma, Pulao, Kheer, and salad.
Ragi, also known as finger millet, is a nutrient rich grain. It originated from Africa and has gained popularity for its nutritional richness and versatility.
Rich in Calcium: Ragi is an excellent source of calcium, crucial for maintaining bone health, which is extremely important during the winter months.
High in Iron: With a significant iron content, Ragi helps prevent anaemia and supports overall blood health.
Dietary Fiber: Ragi is abundant in dietary fiber that promotes digestive health and helps in managing weight.
Essential Amino Acids: It contains essential amino acids that make it a valuable protein source for vegetarians.
How to Use:
Ragi Roti (Flatbread): Prepare Ragi rotis to replace or complement regular wheat rotis. You can eat these roti with winter vegetables, lentils, or curries.
Ragi Ladoo: Make healthy Ragi ladoos by combining flour with jaggery, ghee, and nuts. These sweet treats are not only delicious but also energy-boosting.
Soup: Prepare a comforting Ragi soup by combining the flour with vegetables and aromatic spices. It’s also a healthy and nutritious option for winter evenings.
Smoothie: Blend Ragi flour with yogurt, fruits, and a touch of honey to create a nutritious and refreshing smoothie. It is perfect for any time of the day.
So, these are the top five millets you can enjoy in winter, which are both warm and healthy.
Adding to it, in the winter season, the body experiences a slowdown as the days get shortened. As a result our physical activity also gets reduced which ultimately lowers fat burning. To address this, adjustments to our winter diet become crucial for improving gut health and overall well-being.
Millets offer a valuable dietary variation during this season. It provides essential nutrition and immune-boosting elements necessary to maintain a healthy body.