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Health Benefits Of Finger Millet

by Wangah Wanyama
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Finger millet is one of the most nutritious cereals. The grain is characterized by high concentration of carbohydrate, dietary fibre, phytochemicals and essential amino acids, presence of essential minerals as well as gluten free status. The rich nutritional properties of finger millet has several health benefits as discussed below:

Controls diabetes: Finger millet has high fibre content and low glycemic index that slows down the rate of digestion and thus helping in lowering the blood sugar levels. Therefore, regular consumption of finger millet will help reduce the risk of developing Diabetes Mellitus.

Improves bone health: Finger millet is good source of calcium and helps joining bones. Consumption of finger millet can help developing bones in growing children and maintaining the bone strength of adults. It is also instrumental in keeping ailments like osteoporosis away and can

also cut down the risk of fracture.

Reduces the risk of anemia: Finger millet is an excellent source of natural iron and thus a vital food for anemic patients and for those with low hemoglobin levels.

Anti-cancer potential: Finger millet is rich in antioxidants that is necessary to prevent excessive oxidation, which could otherwise cause cancer and ageing because of cell damage. Phenolic acids, flavonoids and tannins present in finger millet seed coats have very effective antioxidant properties. In general, it has been shown that people on millet-based diets have lower frequencies of esophageal cancer than those on wheat or maize-diets.

Helps in DigestionHigh  level  of  dietary  fiber  in  this  cereal  aids in proper digestion, normal bowel movement and prevents constipation. Insoluble fibers present in finger millet assists movement of food through the intestines while the insoluble fibers retain water thus easing the passage of waste.

Increases Lactation: Lactating mothers are recommended to include finger millet in their daily diet in order to improve milk production. It also enriches the milk with all the essential minerals like iron, calcium and vital amino acids that is extremely important for the child as well as the mother

Improves the performance of the heart by reducing Cholesterol: Finger millet controls the cholesterol level by reducing plaque formation and preventing blockage of blood vessels thus cutting down the risk of stroke and other heart diseases. The key amino acids Lecithin and Methionine present in the cereal helps in lowering cholesterol by extracting and cutting out excess fat from the liver, and the amino acid Threonine prevents formation of fat in the liver.

Finger millet contains vital amino acids methionine and lysine which is lacking in most cereals. These amino acids help in formation and maintenance of collagen which is key in supporting the skin tissues making it less prone to wrinkles and sagging. Hence finger millet act as anti-aging food.

Source: NARO Manuel on Millet

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