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Nutrition of Millet

 

Nutrition[edit]

Millets, like sorghum, are predominantly starchy. The protein content is comparable to that of wheat and maize. Pearl and little millet are higher in fat, while finger millet contains the lowest fat. Barnyard millet has the lowest carbohydrate content and energy value. Millets are also relatively rich in iron and phosphorus. The bran layers of millets are good sources of B-complex vitamins. However, millets also feature high fiber content and poor digestibility of nutrients, which severely limit their value in nutrition and influence their consumer acceptability.[3]

Inspecting a pearl millet spike at a farm in Zimbabwe

Finger millet has the highest calcium content among all the foodgrains, but it is not highly assimilable.

The protein content in millet is very close to that of wheat; both provide about 11% protein by weight, on a dry matter basis.

Millets are rich in B vitamins (especially niacin, B6 and folic acid), calciumironpotassiummagnesium, andzinc. Millets contain no gluten, so they are not suitable for raised bread. When combined with wheat (or xanthan gum for those who have celiac disease) they can be used for raised bread. Alone, they are suited for flatbread.

As none of the millets is closely related to wheat, they are appropriate foods for those with celiac disease or other forms of allergies/intolerance of wheat. However, millets are also a mild thyroid peroxidase inhibitor and probably should not be consumed in great quantities by those with thyroid disease.

Comparison with other major staple foods[edit]

The following table shows the nutrient content of millet compared to major staple foods in a raw form. Raw forms, however, are not edible and cannot be fully digested. These must be prepared and cooked as appropriate for human consumption. In processed and cooked form, the relative nutritional and antinutritional contents of each of these grains is remarkably different from that of raw forms reported in this table. The nutrition value in cooked form depends on the cooking method.

Nutrient profile comparison of millet with other food staples
Synopsis[13] ~ composition: Cassava[14] Wheat[15] Rice[16] Sweetcorn[17] Potato[18] Sorghum Millet[19] Proso Millet[20]
Component (per 100g portion, raw grain) Amount Amount Amount Amount Amount Amount Amount
water (g) 60 13.1 12 76 82 9.2 8.7
energy (kJ) 667 1368 1527 360 288 1418 1582
protein (g) 1.4 12.6 7 3 1.7 11.3 11
fat (g) 0.3 1.5 1 1 0.1 3.3 4.2
carbohydrates (g) 38 71.2 79 19 16 75 73
fiber (g) 1.8 12.2 1 3 2.4 6.3 8.5
sugars (g) 1.7 0.4 >0.1 3 1.2 1.9  
iron (mg) 0.27 3.2 0.8 0.5 0.5 4.4 3
manganese (mg) 0.4 3.9 1.1 0.2 0.1 <0.1 1.6
calcium (mg) 16 29 28 2 9 28 8
magnesium (mg) 21 126 25 37 21 <120 114
phosphorus (mg) 27 288 115 89 62 287 285
potassium (mg) 271 363 115 270 407 350 195
zinc (mg) 0.3 2.6 1.1 0.5 0.3 <1 1.7
pantothenic acid (mg) 0.1 0.9 1.0 0.7 0.3 <0.9 0.8
vitB6 (mg) 0.1 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.2 <0.3 0.4
folate (µg) 27 38 8 42 18 <25 85
thiamin (mg) 0.1 0.38 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.2 0.4
riboflavin (mg) <0.1 0.1 >0.1 0.1 >0.1 0.1 0.3
niacin (mg) 0.9 5.5 1.6 1.8 1.1 2.9 4.7
Nutrient Content of Various Millets with comparison to Rice and Wheat (Source: Millet Network of India, http://www.milletindia.org)
Crop / Nutrient Protein(g) Fiber(g) Minerals(g) Iron(mg) Calcium(mg)
Pearl millet 10.6 1.3 2.3 16.9 38
Finger millet 7.3 3.6 2.7 3.9 344
Foxtail millet 12.3 8 3.3 2.8 31
Proso millet 12.5 2.2 1.9 0.8 14
Kodo millet 8.3 9 2.6 0.5 27
Little millet 7.7 7.6 1.5 9.3 17
Barnyard millet 11.2 10.1 4.4 15.2 11
Rice 6.8 0.2 0.6 0.7 10
Wheat 11.8 1.2 1.5 5.3 41
 
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