We know we are eating right when we eat those foods recognized by our grandparents. We all know our grandparents & ancestors lived a long healthy life. There are a lot of lifestyle factors that contribute to their longevity, like being active in the farms, a clean & greener environment, exposed to fewer chemicals etc. But a lot of it was also about the food they ate.
And variety was the key! Their staple food was made from a variety of grains, not just wheat or rice which unfortunately has occupied almost 60-80% of our daily diets. They ate millets, legumes, sprouts, cereals, dry fruits, seeds and many herbs and spices.
In this article, let’s focus on the role that millets play in the body of growing babies. Millets provide a host of nutrients, has a sweet nutty flavor, and is considered to be one of the most easily digestible and non-allergenic grains available. It is also one of the few grains that are alkalizing to the body. To summarize, millets have the following nutritional benefits
- Rich in fiber and complex carbs, so eases out constipation issues common in babies and keeps them full for longer.
- High source of minerals and very important nutrients, including calcium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium.
- Rich in Antioxidants, flavonoids, amino acids, and tryptophan.
- It's gluten free and easy to digest, more so when they are sprouted. A big reason why babies should eat this as their digestive system is still developing.
- Improves immunity
- Finally, these are wild grains and naturally are pest resistant. Most of these organic and chemical free foods.
Since many of you are new to these grains, here is a brief description & nutritional benefits of each of the commonly available millets.
1. Foxtail Millet or Korra or Thinai
Foxtail millet is an extremely rich in protein & fiber. The presence of protein is higher than wheat and plays a very important role in the body of a growing baby. It also contains a high amount of lecithin and is excellent for strengthening the nervous system. The rich fiber ensures they stay full for longer and is said to be about 30 times higher in fibre when compared to rice.
Check out our organic porridge mix - Foxtail Millet Makhana / Lotus Seeds porridge
2. Ragi or Naachni or Finger Millet
Ragi is also known as the wonder millet for babies simply because of rich calcium quantity. Calcium present in Ragi or Naachni is 10 times higher than wheat or rice, hence making it the perfect food for expecting mothers and babies. Sprouting Ragi further improves the bioavailability of nutrients and makes it much easier to digest it.
Ragi combined with veggies & dry fruits are a great weight gain food for babies.
3. Bajra or Pearl Millet, Kambu or Sajjalu
Bajra also known as pearl millet is the richest source of iron amongst all other millets. It is 19 times richer in iron and fat when compared to rice! While phosphorous and calcium are about 2.5-3 times higher than rice. Now isn’t it obvious, which grains should become staple foods for our family?
Easy Bajra porridge can be made for babies. Check our store for more details.
4. Kodo Millet
Kodo millet is rich in protein, fiber and minerals and vitamins. The fiber content of the whole grain is very high. Kodo millet has around 11% protein, and the nutritional value of the protein has been found to be slightly better than that of foxtail millet but comparable to that of other small millets.
5. Proso Millet
Proso millet contains high amount of lecithin. Lecithin is a compound that indirectly affects the nervous system and keeps it functioning smoothly. Proso millet is also known to strengthen nervous system of growing babies due to the rich presence of Vit B6 in it. It has the highest amount of phosphorous amongst all other millets. A single cup of proso millet provides the 24% of the body’s daily requirement of phosphorus. Phosphorus is very essential for cell building and genetic replication in the body. Also it is excellent for growing immune systems.
6. Barnyard Millet / kuthiravali / Oodalu / Jhangora
Barnyard Millet is a wholesome grain, rich in fibre and iron. Some varieties of barnyard millets are seen to have over 18mg of iron/100g. The rich iron content can ward of all anemia issues common in pregnant women and growing babies.
7. Little Millet or Saamai or Saama
Little millet is rich in cholesterol, when consumed increases good cholesterol in the body, suitable for weight gain in kids. Little millet strengthens the body. It’s complex carbohydrates digest slowly which is keeps the baby full for longer. It is very rich in phosphorous like proso millet. One cup of little millet contains 220 mg phosphorous.
8. Jowar or Sorghum
Jowar contains 8.45 milligrams of iron in every cup, or nearly 47 percent of the required daily intake of iron. This iron absorption can be increased by eating a little bit of Vitamin C (lemon, amla, oranges etc.) along with this meal of jowar. Riboflavin and Niacin are almost 20-99 times higher in Jowar than in rice.
You can check nutritional facts and charts about millets on http://milletindia.org/
Hoping this information was useful in highlighting the health benefits of millets. We really wish to revive and bring them back to our Indian plates to make the coming generation super healthy.
Joining and supporting this millet revolution is our company Early Foods. This is a mom-founded premium organic food company that envisions to feed natural, fresh and chemical free food to children. "Inspired by this very ancient Indian Food wisdom - Early Foods has come up with a whole range of freshly made organic porridge mixes for your baby. There are over 10 different varieties of porridges made from a wholesome combination of the above millets, sprouts, pulses, dry fruits, seeds. These millets are used to make organic jaggery cookies too.
Apart from using these ancient, super food millets a unique part of these porridge mixes for your baby are:
- They are made fresh on order! Unlike food stored on retail shelves for months
- They contain no sugar, salt or milk powder. Perfect for babies less than 12 months.
- Made from 100% organic certified whole grains
- They are free from preservatives, artificial flavours, colours, supplements and any sort of chemicals.
- Delivered to your doorstep within 3-5 days across the country.
This is a boon for busy moms who don’t find enough time to make these traditional and laborious preparations at home. The instant or pre-cooked mixes are great for travel, where you can just add hot water/ milk and feed.
To order online, check our store www.earlyfoods.com
We strongly believe and promote that a happy & healthy start leads to a happier future. After all behind every healthy child stand wise choices of those parents who inculcate the healthy eating habits at a young age.