Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) is the most widely grown type of millet. It has been grown in Africa and the Indian subcontinent since prehistoric times. The center of diversity, and suggested area of domestication, for the crop is in the Sahel zone of West Africa.
Wheat is the most abundantly consumed cereal in the world along with rice and corn, but it contains gluten, which is a protein that causes gastrointestinal problems like bloating, flatulence, and irritable bowel syndrome. On the contrary, pearl millet is gluten-free and is most commonly used as a substitute for people with gluten allergy.
Enriched with Vital Nutrients
It contains most of the Vitamin-B and is rich in other minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, copper, zinc, and chromium. It is known to have the highest levels of potassium, calcium, and iron amongst other cereal crops. It is second to barley as far as magnesium and zinc content is concerned. In addition, pearl millet is the only grain to contain significant levels of chromium. It has the highest folic acid amongst all the cereals, which makes it the diet of choice for pregnant women.
Best Plant-Based Protein Source
You must add pearl millet to your diet, if you are looking for a plant-based source of protein as it contains approximately 14% protein, thereby becomes the best source of protein among common millet varieties. However, it is not considered a complete protein because it does not contain adequate amounts of the amino acid lysine. Hence, you must eat pearl millet with lysine-rich foods such as beans, cheese, tofu or eggs and it will make your overall meal into a complete source of protein.
Rich in Antioxidants
Antioxidants kill the free radicals that cause damage to the body at cellular level and the damage is associated with many diseases and disorders. Since pearl millets are a rich source of antioxidants, their consumption offers a great deal of protection against free radical mediated diseases such as cancer, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
Perfect Food for Babies
Millet is an excellent food for the babies from six months of age. It is easily digestible and also has a lot of nutrients. Until one year of age, babies could be fed with millets after it is powdered and made into porridge. After one year of age, the child starts to eat solid food and can be fed with flat breads made with pearl millet.