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Millet: Not Just "For The Birds"

Millet: Not Just "For The Birds"

When's the last time you cooked up a steamy bowl of millet? Never? Well hopefully I'll have you running to the store to pick yourself up some for dinner.


Millet is known as a whole grain, but it's actually a seed. It's one of the oldest crops grown in the world, so I'm surprised that it's not more popular. Although it's the main ingredient in most birdseed, it's nutritious and delicious for people too.

It's got a similar taste to rice, somewhat bland and earthy, and its texture is like cous cous or mashed potatoes, depending on how long it's cooked. Although this tiny round grain is usually yellow, you can also buy gray, white, or red millet.

The healthy benefits of millet should not be overlooked. It has almost the same amount of protein as wheat and oats, the same amount as quinoa, and it actually has more protein than long grain brown rice.

It can lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attacks just like oats because it's a great source of magnesium. Magnesium has been shown in studies to reduce the severity of asthma and the frequency of migraine headaches. 1 cup of cooked millet provides 26.4% of your daily value of magnesium.

Want to know what else millet has? Then read more

Millet is also rich in B vitamins, especially niacin, which can help lower cholesterol. It contains vitamin B6, folate (B9), calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc as well. Since it's a seed, millet contains no gluten, so it's a great alternative for people who are allergic.

Eating foods high in insoluble fiber, such as millet, may also help prevent gallstones in woman. The fiber supplied by millet may also offer protection against breast cancer.

You can find breads, muffins, and casseroles made with millet, but I definitely recommend cooking some up yourself. Here's how:

  • Boil 3 cups of water. Add 1 cup of millet, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes. If you let it sit as is, you'll get a consistency similar to cous cous. If you add more water and let it cook longer, it'll get creamier like mashed potatoes.

Fit's Tips: Substitute millet for rice or quinoa in your favorite dishes. You can also use it in place of oats to make "milletmeal," instead of oatmeal.

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