Rainy days can be a mood dampener, but they don't have to be a digestive downpour, if we pay adequate attention to getting our health in order. And the easiest way to do it is by rejigging our daily diet to include foods that have a salubrious effect on our gut, and thus on our body, in the rainy season.
Despite their charm, rainy days open the portals to a plethora of diseases - flu, malaria, dengue, chikungunya, typhoid etc. It's important, therefore, to prioritize our health and strengthen our immune system.
Enter Millets, the unsung heroes of maintaining digestive health during the rainy season. Highly nutritious, gluten-free, and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, these tiny powerhouses are known to save the day (and our tummy) with their impressive nutritional profile and gut-friendly properties.
So why should we turn to millets when the rain starts pouring? Well, for starters, they are gentle on the stomach while still providing essential nutrients. Plus, their high fiber content helps regulate bowel movements and keeps things moving smoothly.
But that's not all! Millets also have a unique ability to absorb excess moisture in the gut, which can be particularly helpful during the rainy season when humidity levels are high. So instead of feeling bloated or sluggish after a heavy meal on a rainy day, millets can help one feel light and energized.
Whether we make ourselves a warm bowl of millet porridge or incorporate them into our favourite rainy-day recipes like soups, stews, dosas, vadas, upma and crispy pakoras…these versatile grains will diligently go about their job of keeping our digestive system happy even when the weather is anything but sunny.
Here are five select millets that are specifically good for our health during the Monsoon season:
Foxtail Millet: Foxtail millet is a popular choice due to its high antioxidant content and low glycemic index. It helps regulate blood sugar levels and promotes cardiovascular health. It is also rich in iron, magnesium, and phosphorus, which are essential for maintaining healthy bones and teeth.
Little Millet: This millet is known for its high fiber content, which aids digestion and prevents constipation. It is a good source of B vitamins, particularly niacin, which supports brain function and helps in reducing cholesterol levels. Little millet also contains phytochemicals that possess antioxidant properties.
Barnyard Millet: Barnyard millet is a nutrient-dense millet that offers several health benefits. It is rich in protein and dietary fiber, which promote satiety and aid in weight management. It is also a good source of calcium, phosphorus, and potassium, which are vital for maintaining strong bones and regulating blood pressure.
Pearl Millet: Pearl millet is a highly versatile millet known for its high iron content. It aids in the production of red blood cells, and prevention of iron deficiency anemia. Pearl millet is also rich in protein, fiber, and antioxidants, making it beneficial for overall health and boosting the immune system.
Finger Millet: Finger millet, popularly referred to as Ragi, is a powerhouse of nutrients. It is an excellent source of calcium, making it a great choice for maintaining bone health. Finger millet is also rich in iron, protein, and amino acids, so very essential for growth and development. It has a low glycemic index, making it ideal for managing diabetes. Whether we cook it with milk as a porridge; make a health drink out of it; fashion it into steamed balls to be relished with peanut chutney; mix it with jaggery & coconut to prepare laddoos; or simply make rotis and have them with vegetable dishes, Ragi is delicious and nutritious in every avatar.
Kids under 5 years are at great risk of the vagaries of climate change. Millets are the best way to future-proof their health and well-being. Millets are especially beneficial for pregnant women, as they generate the needed warmth, and aid in better bowel action.
Experts say that for better absorption and assimilation of their nutrients, millets should be consumed in combination with curd and butter. Who are we to argue? Let’s make this a habit.
So, the next time it's pouring outside and the craving for comfort food reigns supreme, let’s reach for those trusty millets. They'll instantly satisfy our taste buds and keep our digestion singing in harmony!