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5 Things: Millet, It's Not Just For Parakeets

5 Things: Millet, It's Not Just For Parakeets

Refined carbs are linked to so many unhealthy things, like obesity, acne, and even throat cancer, so avoiding them is certainly part of a healthy lifestyle. If you are trying to eat more whole grains like rice, oats, and barley, have you ever considered millet? Yes, it is the main ingredient in bird food, but it's great for people, too. You can find it at most health-food stores on the shelf alongside other grains (it is only about $2.25 a pound). If you've never tried millet, here are some reasons to give it a shot.

  1. Millet isn't actually a whole grain, it's a seed, which means it's gluten free. It's also a great source of protein. Half a cup of cooked millet has 5.5 grams of protein. That's more than long-grain brown rice, which has 2.5 grams.
  2. It can lower high blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart attack because it's a great source of magnesium. This mineral can also help reduce the severity of asthma and migraines. One cup of cooked millet has 26 percent of your RDI of magnesium.
  3. When cooked, it has a texture similar to couscous or rice. Adding extra liquid and cooking it a bit longer, gives the millet a creamier texture similar to polenta. Since it has a bland, slightly nutty taste, you can flavor with all types of herb and spices. You can add it to cooked cereals, casseroles, soups, and side dishes.

What else should you know about millet? To find out


  1. It's a great source of insoluble fiber, containing 4.3 grams per half cup. Not only is it great to get at least 30 grams of fiber for overall health and to prevent certain types of cancers, like breast, but it may also help to prevent gallstones.
  2. It's rich in B vitamins, especially niacin (B3), which is linked to lowering cholesterol.
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