The second millet we are discussing is the Foxtail Millet, which has been a prominent member of our ‘Tiny Tummy’ menu. Foxtail Millet, fondly called ‘Miracle Millet’ is another favorite millet of Indian households. The yellowish-brown small seeds have a crispy exterior and a nutty flavor profile. These tiny seeds pack multiple vitamins and minerals and can replace staple foods like rice and wheat. 

According to a few experts, foxtail millets can even replace animal-based proteins and be a rich source of essential nutrients for vegetarians and vegans. Foxtail millet is used in making idli, upma, pongal, biryani, roti, etc. Even sweets such as pongal, paniyaram/paddu, kheer, and laddoo can be used to make these nutritional grains.

Facts About Foxtail Millet:

  • Foxtail millet originated in China along the Yellow River and dates back almost 8000 years
  • Setaria italica is the scientific name of this millet
  • Crop cultivation is found in parts of Asia, Africa, Europe, and South and North America
  • In India, it is cultivated extensively in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh. It is also cultivated in the Northeastern states of India, but very less than in the other states mentioned
  • It earned its name because of the plant’s tapered end that has tail-like panicles
  • It is called by different names in India – while it is called ‘Kangni’ in Hindi and Punjabi, it is named ‘Kang/Rala’ in Marathi, ‘Kang’ in Gujarati, ‘Kaung’ in Bengali, ‘Thenai’ in Tamil, ‘Thina’ in Malayalam, ‘Korralu/Korra’ in Telugu, and ‘Navane/Navanakki’ in Kannada
  • Rajasthan ranks first in Foxtail millet producers in India
  • There are four types of foxtail millet – maxima, moharia, nana and indica
  • This millet either must be soaked or toasted, post which it needs to be cooked/boiled in water or stock of any kind
  • It has antioxidant properties

Health Benefits of Foxtail Millet:

ragi millet

This small grain is packed with protein and also has carbohydrates, vitamins A, B1, and E, dietary fiber, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, and folic acid. The fiber present in this millet is crude fiber. That makes foxtail millet a natural laxative, which encourages smooth bowel movements and aids metabolism.

A low-glycemic miracle:

Just like ragi, foxtail millet also has a low glycemic index. That makes this grain diabetic-friendly. It is found to stimulate the production of insulin, which in turn keeps blood sugar levels in check.

The Millet can easily replace rice and wheat in the diets of people having diabetes, as the other two have a higher glycemic index. It is also known to prevent the storage of fat in our bodies. Tryptophan is present in foxtail millet, which is essential in reducing hunger. And added to it is the fact that it’s high in fiber. It is a boon for people on a weight-loss journey.

Pregnancy-friendly:

Foxtail millet provides the iron and magnesium pregnant women need. Therefore, it is highly advisable for them to consume it regularly throughout their gestational period. It also helps with bowel movements due to the high fiber content, preventing constipation in the expecting mother.

Immunity booster:

This tiny round grain is known for its immunity-building properties. It helps in increasing the body’s stamina and fights against all sorts of ailments and infections that may try to attack the body. Additionally, it protects against various fungal infections too.

A hearty friend:

Foxtail millet is a friend to your heart, as it is a natural source of ACE inhibitors. ACE inhibitors are useful in fighting against stress and hypertension. The millet also helps form acetylcholine, which aids in neurotransmission. Being gluten-free makes it an added advantage.

Strengthens bones:

strong immune system

A super source of calcium and iron, millet is an ally for stronger bone health. Bone strengthening can prevent diseases such as brittle bones, arthritis, spondylitis, and osteoporosis.

Enhances the nervous system:

With a high Vitamin B1 content, this miracle millet aids in maintaining the proper functioning of the central nervous system. It provides more oxygenation to the brain and keeps at bay diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, which occur due to the deterioration of the nervous system.

Rectifying anemia:

With optimum levels of iron present in foxtail millet, it helps increase hemoglobin levels in the body thus preventing/treating anemia.

Hope this helps you appreciate the miracle that is the foxtail millet. There are various ways to include it in your daily diet. More on the other millets will follow. Stay tuned. Happy parenting.