Millet helps increase hemoglobin, reduces risk of heart disease: study

According to a study by the National Institute of Nutrition, hemoglobin (Hb) increases when eating millet than rice. However, it also shows that there is no single type of millet that can be called the best, as the levels of vitamins, proteins, minerals and fats vary from  millet to millet. National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) scientist JP Devraj said in a conclave on millets on “nutritional value and health benefits of millets” that according to a study conducted by the research institution, Hb level increased by 13.2 percent in millets, consumer group, 2.7 percent in the rice consumer group. Consumption of young millets shows an increase in Hb levels  from 10.8 g/dL (moderate anemia) to 12.2 g/dL (normal), and millet can cover most of the average person’s daily physiological iron requirement. 

 A study on diabetes 

  Devraj said that NIN studies show a 12 percent drop in blood sugar in the fasting state and 15 percent in the postprandial test when diabetics consume millets . HbA1c  was reduced by an average of 15 percent, he added. According to NIN research, eating millet can reduce the risk of  cardiovascular disease by reducing total cholesterol, triacylglycerol (a simple lipid made up of fatty acids), body mass index (BMI) and obesity.

 “Millet reduced total cholesterol by 8 percent and lowered cholesterol from high to normal,” the researcher said, adding that it helped reduce bad cholesterol by nearly 10 percent. In addition, consumption of these grains increase good cholesterol (HDL) by 6 percent, he said. The body mass index of overweight and obese people also decreased by 7 percent, which indicated the possibility of returning to normal. Bioavailability of minerals 

 Another important observation that Devraj made  was the significant reduction of phytic acid  (up to 62.9 percent) in humans when millet is traditionally boiled, fermented overnight, and then curd is added. He further explained, “This means that the process can improve the bioavailability of minerals, especially iron and zinc.” He said that even  processed millets are good to consume as they are rich in water soluble vitamins like B2, B3 and B5.

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