Discovering the Hidden Treasure: Kodo Millets and Their Health Benefits

We are back with the Millets series and today we are here to talk about Kodo Millet. Do not confuse this with Ragi (which is called Kodo in Nepal as mentioned in our past article). Kodo millet is an easy crop as it requires less water and can fare well in even harsh and unfavorable conditions. The millets are tiny ellipsoidal seeds with color that may vary from light red to dark grey. These are mildly nutty in taste.

Kodo millets can be used to prepare a plethora of breakfast dishes such as upma, idly, dosa, chapathi, khichdi, adai, and porridge. Lunch dishes like lemon rice, methi rice, coriander rice, and pulao can be made too. In sweets, payasam/kheer can be prepared with this millet. When ground into flour it can be used for baking muffins, cakes, cookies, and used in the preparation of millet pasta.

Facts About Kodo Millet:

  • Kodo millet has its origin in tropical Africa, where the wild variety of the millet is primarily found
  • It has been domesticated and grown in India since 3000 years ago
  • Paspalum scrobiculate is the scientific name of this millet
  • Crop cultivation is found in parts of India, Nepal, China, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Russia, and West Africa
  • In all these regions it is a minor crop, except for the Indian Deccan Plateau where it is a main source of food
  • Kodo millet is majorly grown in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu in India. In other parts of India like Kerala, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal also it is cultivated
  • The millet has other names such as Indian cow grass, cow grass, rice grass, and ditch millet
  • It is called by different names in India – while it is called ‘Kodo’ in Hindi, in Punjabi it is referred to as ‘Kodra’, ‘Kodro’ in Gujarati, ‘Varagu’ in Tamil, ‘Varak’ in Malayalam, ‘Arikelu’ in Telugu, and ‘Arka’ in Kannada¬†
  • There are many variants of Kodo available in India
  • This millet must be soaked(over 7 hours) and then cooked/boiled to be consumed. Another way to use it is to grind it into a flour
  • It is cold in nature, hence it helps in the increase of vata dosha, but balances the issues caused due to kapha and pitta doshas in our bodies
  • It is known to help relieve people who suffer from asthma and migraines.

Health Benefits of Kodo Millet:

kodo pancake
Kodo millet pancakes. Pancake made with a fermented batter of kodo millet, flattened rice and coconut. Shot on white background.

This tiny seed packs so many essential nutrients in it like protein, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorous, iron, calcium, and anti-oxidants. It can be substituted for rice and wheat, as it is much healthier while providing the necessary calories.

Diabetic-friendly:

Like the other two millet that we had discussed, this millet too is of much help to people who have diabetes. Polyphenols are present in Kodo millet. It keeps the blood sugar level in check by elevating the insulin amount in the body. It makes glycated hemoglobin levels reduce, triggers the production of liver glycogen, and brings in instant energy.

This millet too has a low glycemic index, which makes it an appropriate food for diabetic people.

Weight-watcher:

Kodo millet provides the necessary dietary fiber and nutrients with lesser calories than the staple rice and wheat. Thus this can be used by people who want to reduce their calorie intake daily. Kodo is specifically helpful in reducing the stubborn fat deposited in and around the hips, waist, and abdomen.

Cancer-Fighter:

This tiny seed is well known to possess cancer-fighting capabilities. Due to the presence of phenolic acids, tannins, and phytic acids, this little millet can reduce the risk of cancer if consumed often.

Good for Heart:

It is a powerhouse of anti-oxidants and thus keeps the cholesterol levels and blood pressure levels in check and your heart healthy. It also helps in warding off anxiety as well.

Wound-healer:

The flour of this millet can be mixed with water and applied topically on wounds. It acts as a pain-killer and helps the wound heal quickly. The anti-bacterial and anti-allergic properties make this an apt home remedy.

Other Uses:

  • Helps in regulating menstrual cycles and alleviates abdominal cramp pain.
  • Prevents constipation, due to the presence of dietary fiber.
  • Helps in collagen production, thus helps in keeping your skin young and wrinkle-free.
  • Known to provide relief to people suffering from joint pain.
  • Loaded with pre-biotic nutrients, this powerful millet improves your gut health.

Hope this article has given you awareness about the Kodo millet. We hope that you can start incorporating it in your daily diet. More on the other millets coming soon. Stay tuned. Happy parenting.