On a winter morning, Ragi ka cheela or Bajre ki khichdi is no less than bliss! Rich in taste and power packed with nutrients, Millets are perfect to kick-start the day in the most healthy way!

Before the era of the green revolution, millets were the staple grain consumed in Central and Southern India. However, the green process made rice and wheat accessible to people across India. This was because the government policies did not incentivize farmers to grow millet. Eventually, this reduced the cultivation of millet in the country. 

However, extensive research over a period of time revived the necessity of millet consumption. This is because of the growing nutritional deficiencies in people of all ages. Thankfully! Millets have a rich nutrient profile, making them necessary for a balanced diet. 

Through this article, let’s try to understand what millets are, the types of millets, and the health benefits of millets. 


Millets are a group of coarse cereal grains traditionally grown and consumed in Indian subcontinents. Different types of millet require distinct climatic conditions. However, roughly all millets require warm temperatures and less water. They can be quickly grown in areas where other crops usually fail to produce. 

Nutritionally high in dietary fiber, protein, B vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, millets are gluten-free and suitable for people of all groups. 

types of millets and their health benefits

Varieties of millets are available in India. Some of the most popularly researched and consumed millets are as follows-

1. Sorghum

This millet is popularly known as Jowar in India. The craze for jowar millet is not new in India. People have admired and consumed jowar since ancient times. However, experts now recommend sorghum for reducing cholesterol buildup in the blood. 

A bunch of Jowar or Sorghum millet head in its plant

This is because jowar contains policosanol (a part of sorghum wax) that works at cleansing the blood vessels by eliminating plaques or fat buildup in the body. 

2. Foxtail Millet

Foxtail Millet Or Kakum in a bowl

Traditionally called Kakaum or Kangana, foxtail millet is loaded with extra nutrients to energize and nourish the body. Foxtail millet is extremely rich in calcium and iron; foxtail millet helps to strengthen bones and build muscles. Due to low glycaemic index and high fiber content, experts recommend foxtail millet to diabetics and fitness seekers. 

3. Finger Millet

Ragi is one of the most consumed gluten-free millet. Finger millet load with amino acids, phytonutrients, and calcium; finger millet is best for building and boosting immunity. 

Health experts recommend ragi for people of all age groups, particularly for growing children. This is because the intake of ragi supports cognitive and physical development. 

gluten-free whole finger millet and ragi flour in two bowls

4. Pearl Millet

Free-flowing Bajra or Pearl Millet from a sack

Bajra or pearl millet is one of the ‘most talked about’ millet to date. Loaded with powerful antioxidants that help to neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals, bajra is best for body detoxification. People aiming to reduce weight or get lean should definitely incorporate this wonder superfood into their diet regularly. 

5. Buckwheat

Kuttu, or buckwheat, is primarily consumed in India during days of fasting. It is power packed with complex carbohydrates and micronutrients like niacin, copper, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorous; buckwheat provides instant energy and nutrition to the body while being naturally low in calories. 

Kuttu or Buckwheat on flat surface

6. Little Millet

Kutki or Little Millet on wooden spatula and a flat surface

Little millet or kutki is a healthy replacement for rice and is extensively consumed in southern India. Generously packed with the goodness of B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, and calcium. Nutrition experts recommend kutki for boosting metabolism and fat loss benefits.

7. kodo millet

Kodo millet or kodra originated in West Africa and is now commonly grown in India. Experts recommend Kodo millet as it contains good fat, protein, magnesium, thiamine, iron, potassium, phosphorous, calcium, and many more micronutrients. 

Kodo millet is easy to digest. This makes it ideal for even those who have a suppressed digestive system. 

Flowing Kodo Millet or Kodra from a cane basket

Interesting facts about millets

  • According to Ayurveda, millets are known as Kudhanya or Trinadhanya.
  • Millet is one of the oldest human foods and is believed to be the first-ever domesticated cereal grain. 
  • Sorghum contributes to 60% of the whole millet produced globally. 
  • Bajra can grow and survive in the roughest climatic conditions like drought, extreme heat, and other semi-arid growing conditions. 
  • Finger millet comes in different colors. People often confuse the dark brown variety of finger millet with mustard seeds.  
  • According to Ayurveda, foxtail millet can balance the pitta and Kapha doshas. 
  • Kodo millet benefits women with post-menopausal symptoms like high blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Buckwheat or Kuttu is rich in all essential amino acids, one of which is tryptophan- a precursor to serotonin, the feel-good hormone. 
  • Due to its small size, kutki is called ‘little millet.’ In fact, it is the smallest of all the millets. 


1. when is the best time to eat millets?

Millets can be consumed any time of the day, i.e., breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Apart from being nutrient-dense, millets are filling to the stomach. 

2. which millet has the highest protein content?

Of all the varieties of millets, ragi or finger millet has the highest protein. Around 100 grams of finger millet contains approximately 7.5 grams of protein. 

3. are millets safe for kidneys? If yes, then which one?

It is rich in potassium, and millets are suitable for the kidneys. However, pearl and little millet are exceptionally known to support healthy kidneys.

4. who should avoid millet?

Millets are generally safe for everyone. But people with severe gastric complaints or hypothyroidism should limit their millet intake. 

5. why is soaking advised before cooking millet?

Soaking breaks the phytates present in millets. This leads to better digestion and absorption of nutrients present in millet. 

6. can i consume millet during pregnancy?

Definitely Yes. Millets are a rich source of amino acids, good fat, iron, calcium, B vitamins, and minerals that are required to meet a pregnant woman’s growing needs. However, if you are dealing with digestive complaints, it’s better to limit millet consumption to not more than twice a week. 

wrapping up

Traditionally known as ‘poor man’s food grain.’ Millets are superfoods that are not just nutrient-dense but are pocket-friendly too. Nutrition experts believe and recommend adding millet to the diet as it can help to bridge nutritional deficiencies and related health complaints. 

Including millet in the diet is one of the best natural ways to add nutrients. Millets can be easily incorporated as porridge, smoothie, cheela, khichdi, halwa, chapati, dosa, idli, and many more mouth-watering recipes. 

Try it for yourself and share your experience in the comment section below!