Millet - the healthy power grain: The most important questions and answers

Hirse - das gesunde Power-Korn: Die wichtigsten Fragen und Antworten

Whether as porridge, bread or for breakfast as an energy supplier in your muesli. The power grain millet offers you a variety of uses. But is millet well tolerated and healthy for the human body's immune system? And what are the ingredients anyway? If you have already asked yourself the same questions, now you will find certainty.

It is precisely this question that we would like to address in this article today, so that all your open questions and doubts are answered. You will also receive neutral reporting. So you have all the information you need to support your body individually with the right type of millet. Of course, any hints and advice should not be neglected. This will ideally make you the best millet guide after this article.

the essentials in brief

  • Millet is regaining higher popularity and attention nowadays after being forgotten for some time (1). The boom and the accumulation of new recipes and ideas for preparation is now all the greater.
  • Millet is one of the foods that is highly resistant to external conditions (such as drought) (2). Especially in the course of advancing climate change, it offers a promising alternative to common types of grain. Because millet has a short growing season, it can be harvested very quickly (2).
  • The grain has outstanding nutritional information that provides the human body with essential substances and vital components. Especially people with diseases or allergies can use millet as a profitable source of nutrients.

Support your health with millet: What you should know

Millet can be very healthy and revitalizing for your body. Millet is also becoming increasingly popular in connection with Ayurvedic nutrition as a component of the “Pitta type”. But millet can also strengthen your health in everyday life. What exactly the components are and what the advantages are, you can find out here:

How does millet strengthen health?

Millet has numerous notable benefits on specific organs in the body. For example, the type of grain is particularly suitable for people with intestinal problems or gastrointestinal diseases because it does not contain gluten . In addition, special oils can have positive effects on skin and hair (3.4">. This is said to guarantee healthier and stronger growth. We have put together a brief overview for you so that you don't lose track of all the benefits:

organ / body part Effect
Colon Millet fills you up in the long run. This is due to its high fiber content(1).
skin / hair Millet ensures that you have a higher collagen content in the body and skin appears firmer and younger. In addition, the amino acids it contains can help your hair grow stronger and faster(3.4">.
blood pressure Millet has a scientifically proven effect on your blood pressure. It will usually decrease(1).
susceptibility to disease You are less prone to disease because millet scavenges free radicals(1). In addition, your immune system is additionally strengthened by the supply of minerals and vitamins.
aging Due to its specific components, millet can preventively slow down the aging of people (14,15). The decisive factor here is the combination of vitamins and collagen(3,4). Nevertheless, you should not do without sporting activities.

As you can see, the grain has a multitude of positive properties. They all have the potential to boost your health and immune system. Although the millet species look very similar, they differ in their composition. Although the differences are sometimes very small, we still want to give you an objective insight into all areas. You will now find the following under this question:

What types of healthy millet are there?

Millet can be divided into the species finger millet, sweet millet, foxtail millet, teff, proso millet and pearl millet(1). The latter two variants are the most common(1). With regard to the health effects, however, the subspecies hardly differ. But with regard to the biochemical components, things are different. Some species have higher levels of fiber or protein than others.

Pearl millet, for example, is very rich in fiber, whereas crabgrass has a higher polyphenol content (5.6">. You can find the exact information here:

millet type Protein (g) Carbohydrates (g) Riboflavin (mg) Niacin (mg)
pearl millet 11.8 67.0 0.21 2.8
finger millet 7.7 72.6 0.19 1.1
foxtail millet 11.2 63.2 0.11 3.2
sweet millet 10.4 70.7 0.15 4.3
proso millet 12.5 63.8 0.28 4.5


For example, if you value a high-protein diet, proso millet is clearly the better choice for you. But also with regard to the vitamins B2, B3 (riboflavin and niacin), proso millet is far ahead. Since it has the highest energy content of all types of millet, it keeps you full for the longest time(1).

However, if you prefer a carbohydrate-rich diet, finger millet is more suitable for you. It also contains the highest calcium content(1), which ensures the maintenance and stability of your teeth and bones. Before you reach for any type of millet, you should take a look at this table. As a result, you can easily determine the ideal millet variety for you.

Which ingredients in millet contribute to health?

Millet has nearly identical nutritional information to wheat and rice(7). The amounts of vegetable proteins are enormous. In percentage terms, e.g. B. pearl millet with 7.5% liquid components. The dry elements carry the largest part at 92.5%(8). They are made up as follows:

  • 2.1% ash,
  • 2.8% crude fiber,
  • 7.8% fat (millet oils; amino acids),
  • 13.6% crude protein (proteins),
  • 63.2% starch (carbohydrates)(8).

In addition to these ingredients, millet also has a lot of fiber. These fill you up permanently (1). Essential bulk elements such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium, which are among the minerals, are also included (1).

Important proteins and vitamins (e.g. B1, B2, B6 and C) are also included (1). They all contribute to the maintenance of vital human organs.

Just one portion of millet is enough for you to cover the majority of your daily need for healthy nutrients. With good reason, millet was therefore placed at the bottom of the food pyramid(9.10">. This is intended to make it clear that it should be an essential part of your daily food intake(9.10">. Along with fruit and vegetables, you should form the basis for you.

Which groups of people benefit most from the healthy effects of millet?

We have informed you that millet does not contain gluten. For this very reason, millet is particularly suitable for people who suffer from certain food intolerances. People with allergies to cereals (e.g. wheat) can also benefit from it.

In the northern part of China, foxtail millet was widely used as a porridge or soup for pregnant and lactating women (...).(1)

It is therefore not surprising that millet is particularly suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers(18). The high level of tolerability and the overall quite positive properties make this type of grain a harmless product.

Understandably, this is one of the reasons why millet is found in a wide range of baby foods and is extremely healthy for children(1).

toddler eating

Millet is particularly suitable and easily tolerated for small children and infants. (Image Source: Hui Sang / Unsplash)

Due to its very positive effect, millet can also be suitable for people with obesity or other weight problems. The high proportion of carbohydrates and fiber ensures long-term satiety. At the same time, it is very digestible. As you know, your stomach can stretch depending on the amount of food you eat.

If you now rely on a high-fiber diet, your stomach wall has to stretch to a lesser extent. As a result, future meals will also be smaller. Consequently, your need for food becomes much less. Overall, this means that millet can clearly lead to weight loss. At the same time, it still fills you up.

The grain is also particularly profitable for people with diabetes (16,17"> or certain cardiovascular diseases(11). For example, it has been found that millet significantly reduces the blood sugar level of patients with diabetes(12). However, there are others Studies are necessary and definitely needed(1), but the correct preparation should be observed(19).

How do I prepare healthy millet?

Basically, you hardly have to pay attention to anything when preparing millet. However, you should never eat millet raw. Millet sprouts contain protein-damaging enzymes. These are intolerable for your intestines(1).

In many African countries, millet is often the main ingredient in many meals and is essentially consumed (...)(1)

The most common variant for preparing millet is the swelling method. With this you take a certain amount of millet and a certain amount of water in which your portion can swell. The water can be boiled or unboiled. You can use this method to filter the phytine out of your millet(1).

Porridge with fruit

Along with healthy fruits and vegetables, your serving of millet can be a high-energy meal if prepared properly. (Image source: Melissa Belanger/ Unsplash)

You can also prepare delicious meals by cooking your millet. In principle, however, important nutrients and vitamins can be lost when vegetables and grains are cooked. Millet can be boiled or soaked as a side dish, main course or even dessert. There are no limits to your ideas.

When does it make sense to take millet to strengthen health?

Since millet has favorable nutritional information, it offers you an ideal choice for breakfast in the morning. Certain advantages crystallize especially for this time of day. Of course, the corresponding disadvantages should also be taken into account. You can find out what they are here:

But you can not only prepare a meal with millet for breakfast. The grain is also very digestible for dinner and is usually well tolerated. Overall, however, you should be careful if you want to use millet as a meat substitute, for example. We will explain why this is the case in the next question.

What should you consider when boosting your health with millet?

Millet does not contain gluten, which is why it should be easy for you to digest. If you are someone who prefers to use millet as a meat substitute, you should consider something. This is because the grain may not necessarily give you the benefits you are hoping for. You can find out why this could be the case here in our pros and cons comparison:

Since millet also contains a large amount of phytin, your body can use important minerals such as e.g. B. Iron and calcium do not absorb properly in the first place(13). That is why the correct preparation is very important. If you can't get iron from meat, supplements should provide some relief.


Not all foods are tolerable for everyone. That's why you should always pay attention to the amount of millet in your portion. (Image Source: Ava Sol/Unsplash)

It is also possible that you can have an allergic reaction to certain foods. It is therefore important that you try your first portion of millet in small quantities. If your body actually has a food intolerance to millet, you should use alternatives. Whether e.g. E.g. wheat or rice - they all come very close to the glycemic values ​​of millet.


In this article we wanted to deal with the question of whether millet is healthy at all and if so, which ingredients contribute to it. Overall, it turned out that millet can indeed be a power food. It provides your body with all the essential nutritional values. However, as with all other foods, there is always something to consider. Millet should always be boiled or swollen before consumption, as this will filter out harmful phytine.

Furthermore, millet can be suitable as a meat substitute under certain conditions. Millet can be considered in combination with dietary supplements that replace important vitamins. In combination with other healthy, nutritious and vitamin-rich foods, it guarantees you a balanced and high-energy diet. You should also pay attention to the daily intake of liquid. In this way, you too conscientiously follow the food pyramid and at the same time support your health.


  1. Ahmed SM Saleh, Qing Zhang, Jing Chen, Qun Shen, Millet Grains: Nutritional Quality, Processing, and Potential Health Benefits in: Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 2013; 12, pp. 281-295. Doi: 10.1111/1541-4337.12012 .
  2. Palanisamy Bruntha Devi et al., Health benefits of finger millet (Eleusine coracana L.) polyphenols and dietary fiber: a review, in: J Food Sci Technol. DOI: 10.1007/s13197-011-0584-9. Available from Springer []. Posted Nov 22, 2011.
  3. Mal B, Padulosi S, Ravi SB. 2010. Minor millets in South Asia: learnings from IFAD-NUS Project in India and Nepal. Maccarese, Rome, Italy: Bioversity Intl and Chennai, India: MS Swaminathan Research Foundation. p1-185.
  4. Singh P, Raghuvanshi RS. 2012. Finger millet for food and nutritional security. Afr J Food Sci 6(4):77-84.
  5. Ragaee S, Abdel-Aal EM, Noaman M. 2006. Antioxidant activity and nutrient composition of selected cereals for food use. Food Chem 98(1):32-8.
  6. Chethan S, Dharmesh SM, Malleshi NG. 2008. Inhibition of aldose reductase from cataracted eye lenses by finger millet (Eleusine coracana) polyphenols. Bioorg Med Chem 16:10085-90.
  7. Parameswaran K, Sadasivam S. 1994. Changes in the carbohydrates and nitrogenous components during germination of proso millet (Panicum miliaceum). Plant Foods Hum Nutr 45:97-102.
  8. Ali MAM, El Tinay AH, Abdalla AH. 2003. Effect of fermentation on the in vitro protein digestibility of pearl millet. Food Chem 80(1):51-4.
  9. USDA. 2010. Dietary guidelines for Americans. US Government Printing Office. US Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Human Services. Washington, D.C.
  10. USDA. 2005. Nutrition and your health: dietary guidelines for Americans. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C.
  11. Fardet A, Rock E, Remesy C. 2008. Is the in vitro antioxidant potential of whole-grain cereals and cereal products well reflected in vivo? J Cereal Sci 48:258-76.
  12. Pradhan A, Nag SK, Patil SK. 2010. Dietary management of finger millet (Eleusine coracana L. Gaerth) controls diabetes. Curr Sci 98(6):763-5.
  13. Eyzaguirre RZ, Nienaltowska K, de Jong LEQ, Hasenack BBE, Nout MJR. 2006. Effect of food processing of pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) IKMP-5 on the level of phenolics, phytate, iron and zinc. J Sci Food Agric 86:1391-8.
  14. Bravo L. 1998. Polyphenols: chemistry, dietary sources, metabolism and nutritional significance. Nutr Rev 56:317-33.
  15. Hegde PS, Chandrakasan G, Chandraa TS. 2002. Inhibition of collagen glycation and crosslinking in vitro by methanolic extracts of Finger millet (Eleusine coracana) and Kodo millet (Paspalum scrobiculatum). J Nutr Biochem 13:517-21.
  16. American Diabetes Association. 2005. Diagnosis and classification of diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Care 28:37-42.
  17. Shobana S, Sreerama YN, Malleshi NG. 2009. Composition and enzyme inhibitory properties of finger millet (Eleusine coracana L.) seed coat phenolics: mode of inhibition of a-glucosidase and pancreatic amylase. Food Chem 115(4):1268-73.
  18. Mohamed, Tabita & Zhu, Kexue & Amadou, Issoufou & Tarawalie, Fatmata. (2009). Functionality, in Vitro Digestibility and Physicochemical Properties of Two Varieties of Defatted Foxtail Millet Protein Concentrates. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 10. 5224-5238. 10.3390/ijms10125224.
  19. Chandrasekara A, Shahidi F. 2010. Content of insoluble bound phenolics in millets and their contribution to antioxidant capacity. J Agric Food Chem 58:6706-14.
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