International year of millets, 2023

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced 2022 – 23 as ‘International Year of Millets’

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union budget 2022 on Tuesday where she announced the 2022-23 as the International Year of Millets.

“Support will be provided for post-harvest value addition, enhancing domestic consumption, and for branding millet products nationally and internationally,” Sitharaman said.

Earlier, the country had observed 2018 as the National Year of Millets to boost the production of the nutrient-rich cereal.

Terming them as “the superfoods of the future”, Karishma Shah, integrative nutritionist and holistic life coach, welcomed the decision and advocated the use of millets.

“Millet is the superfood of the future. As Indians, it’s our heritage, tradition and culture. For us, millets are very important because we have such a diverse variety of millets that are easily grown and available, at a very affordable price. We need to embrace it more and include it in our diets,” she said.

Highlighting the rise in cases of gluten intolerance due to the consumption of wheat, she said, “Due to the gluten content in wheat and genetically modified crops, many people are turning out to be gluten intolerant. So, people are now trying to stay away from eating wheat and turning towards millets. Eating millets is extremely beneficial due to their health and also spiritual benefits. Yes, a lot of spiritual people don’t eat wheat because of its effects on the body and mind, and prefer millets because it is believed to create a synchronicity between mind and body.”

She asked people to consume it for a “healthy body, mind and soul”.

Earlier, celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar had suggested having a millet bhakri every day. Elucidating the many health benefits of millets, she had said, “They are rich in fibre, amino acids, vitamin B and minerals.”

Most people, however, consume millets in the form of nachni chips, tacos or multigrain bread, which is not the best way to extract all its nutrients, according to the nutritionist. To have access to all of its nutrients, she suggested eating millet chapati with a sabzi, dal or chutney.

Benefits of millets, as shared by Diwekar

*Niacin — a type of vitamin B found in millets — is useful in energy production, nerve health and keeping the digestive tract healthy. If you have food intolerances, this is very helpful.
*The magnesium, zinc and fibre found in millets make it an excellent food for blood sugar regulation, especially for PCOD and diabetes.
*The folic acid helps with iron assimilation and improves skin, health and fertility.

Further, she also shared a seasonal guideline for millets.

*Bajra and makai are for the winters
*Jowar is better for summers
*Ragi can be eaten year-round and can even be turned into a dosa, laddoo etc.

The expert, however, said that millets aren’t a replacement for wheat and rice, which you should continue having.

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