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Rediscover the Ancient Nutritional Powerhouse: Pearl Millet 

Pearl millet (Bajra/Kambu/Sajje) is an ancient cereal grain cultivated in India since prehistoric times. This hardy, drought-tolerant crop is highly nutritious and gluten-free, making it suitable for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Pearl millet has numerous health benefits thanks to its impressive nutrient profile.

Pearl millet is a rich source of:

  • Protein - It contains 11-15% protein, which provides all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source. The proteins in pearl millet are easily digested.
  • Iron - One cup of cooked pearl millet provides about 20% of the daily iron requirement, which helps prevent anemia.
  • Fibre - Pearl millet is high in insoluble fibre that promotes gut health, relieves constipation, and reduces the chances of diverticulitis. The fibre also helps lower cholesterol levels.
  • B-complex vitamins - It is loaded with vitamins like niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, and folate, essential for cellular metabolism and energy production.
  • Magnesium - Pearl millet grains are high in magnesium, vital for bone health, muscular function, and enzyme activity. 
  • Antioxidants - It contains phenolic acids like ferulic acid and catechins, which have antioxidant properties that reduce inflammation and lower oxidative stress in the body.

Some health benefits of consuming pearl millet:

  • Maintains heart health: The magnesium and potassium present in bajra help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
  • Controls blood sugar levels: Pearl millet has a low glycemic index, preventing sudden blood glucose spikes. This makes it suitable for diabetics.
  • Aids weight loss: The high fibre keeps you full longer by slowing digestion. The low-fat content also helps in managing weight.
  • Prevents gallstones: The insoluble fibre promotes the secretion of bile acids, which lowers the occurrence of gallstone formation.
  • Boosts immunity: Pearl millet is a source of zinc and selenium, which play a key role in maintaining immune function.

Pearl millet is highly versatile. It can prepare porridge, puddings, bread, pancakes, and even biryanis! Some popular dishes made from bajra are:

  • Bajra khichdi: Combining millet with moong dal makes a protein-packed khichdi.
  • Bajra rotis/bhakris: Flatbreads made from bajra flour are an excellent gluten-free alternative to wheat rotis.
  • Bajra dosa: Adding bajra flour to the batter lends a delightful twist to the famous South Indian dosa.
  • Bajra pasta: Pasta made from multigrain flour, including bajra is nutritious and delicious. 
  • Bajra pizza/burgers: The flour can make healthy buns and pizza bases.

Pearl millet is a versatile supergrain for all ages, from children to the elderly. The high nutritional profile and digestion-friendly nature of bajra makes it beneficial for the overall growth and well-being of people of all ages. So embrace this ancient grain and make it a regular part of your diet.

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