Pearl Millets (José Avelino S, 2018), are the small seeded cereal grains. It is known as BAJRA in Hindi.
This is an ancient grain which comes in the family of Poaceae or Gramineae. The scientific name of it is Pennisetum glaucum. Nutritional value and health benefits of this grain is really high.
Meanwhile, It also has various methods of cooking and can be consumed in breakfast, lunch and in dinner as well.
It also have some functional properties.
On the other hand this grain has potential as food for human as it is gluten free, high dietary fiber than rice, similar in lipid content to maize and rich in essential amino acids. Also good in increased iron content and zinc enhancement (Whitehouse E, 2017).
Howover, Climatic changes like hot or cold conditions affect the growth and nutritive value of any particular food which may also affect the food security and so how reduce the availability of the food. But this grain can be grown in both hot and dry regions.
It plays an important role in our diet as the main source of energy.
NUTRITIONAL VALUE AND HEALTH BENEFITS OF PEARL MILLETS OR BAJRA:
There are various health benefits which are explained in various studies are as under (Vanisha S. Nambiar et.al 2011, Whitehouse E et.al 2017, Kênia Letícia Pessanha et.al 2017, Dias-Martins et.al 2017, Kashkush K et.al 2018)
- Low glycemic index → which signifies that it is the great source of micronutrients like Iron, zinc and magnesium.
- Magnesium→ magnesium content in bajra helps in lower down of blood pressure and also reduce the problem of Heart attacks as it maintain normal heartbeat. Magnesium improve insulin response by decreasing insulin resistance and also don’t result pancreas secret enough insulin to control blood sugar.
- PROTEIN → protein is the key nutrient to build muscle mass and for the development of each and every cell of the body. It can give complete protein when added with legumes and pulses, adding with pulses make it up with all 9 essential amino acids.
- FIBER → bajra contain insoluble fiber that it don’t get dissolve with water.
- It is good for healthy digestive system, fiber cleanse the guts and hence prevent constipation.
- Eating food made up of this grain makes an individual feel fuller.
- High fiber content helps in controlling glucose level and also maintain weight loss. Broccoli is also a great source of Fiber.
- It can also help cure stomach ulcer and gall bladder stone.
- Pearl millet thanks to high level of metabolizable energy and protein, a balanced amino acid profile, a rich source of fiber and lipids, is nutritionally superior to many other cereals.
- Niacin → Niacin content reduces cholesterol. Reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase effects of good cholesterol(HDL)
- has complex carbohydrate which release energy slowly.
- It is GLUTEN FREE which don’t make it stick.
- It also make a good control on nerve function.
- Potassium → potassium is crucial to those patients who has the problem of high blood pressure as it lessens the impact of sodium. Hence eating good and adequate amount of potassium food remove effect of sodium and bajra is really a good source of potassium.
- Bajra combats acidity.
- It is also good for endurance as it enhance the performance of endurance of athletes like runners, swimmer, biker etc.
- It also have the good profile of antioxidants which fight the body against infections.
- Eating food made up of bajra prevents anemia as it is rich in iron content.
- Folic acid (vitamin B9) in pearl millet→ produce and maintain new cells especially red blood cells (RBCs). Also prevent DNA changes that might cause cancer.
- Also beneficial for healthy bones as phosphorus is the major mineral works with calcium to build strong bones.
- Zinc helps in renovation of skin and slow down the aging. Zinc also helps in the activity of enzyme in our body that helps in production of vitamin-A useful treat night blindness.
- Vitamin B1 → is essential for glucose metabolism. It extract energy from food and converts it into ATP (Adenosine triphosphate).
- It is also good for losing weight.
Table 1: Nutritive value of pearl millet in comparison with commonly consumed cereals:
|vitamin a (mcg)||132||64||0|
|folic acid (MCG)||45.5||36.6||8|
|vitamin c (MG)||0||0||0|
All values except protein are expressed on the dry weight basis.
Source: Hulse. Laing and Pearson 1980: United State National Research Council/ National Academy of Science 1982. USPA/HNIS, 1984.
Impotantly, Pearl millet is a rich source of energy (361 Kcal/100g) which is comparable with commonly consumed cereals such as wheat (346 Kcal/100g), rice (345Kcal/100g) as per the Nutritive value of Indian foods (NIN, 2003).
VARIOUS OTHER BENEFITS OF BAJRA:
It is additionally very good for lactating mothers as it increases milk production.
It has three times amount of calcium present in the milk of the mother.
Hence, it is good and nutritive for both mother and the babies.
Eating millets can work as the home remedies for menstrual cramps.
And also advantage for the change of mood swings and irritabilities.
The grain is rich in iron which can provide young children the full requirement of iron (Washington D C, 2013).
Millets are rich source of phytochemicals and micronutrients (Ahmed S M, 2013).
PRESERVATION AND STORING METHODS:
Store the bajra in the air tight container and place it in the cool and dry place to maintan its nutritonal value and health benefits.
Whole matured dry cereal grains have the ability to be stored for a long time at ambient condition.
Industrial made food like flour and final prepared food need some special treatment for increasing the self-life stability of the food due to moisture and some enzymes.
BAJRA FLOUR AND ITS ADVANTAGES:
The flour of this grain is made by grinding millet grains.
The flour is grayish in color.
It has the nutty flavor as well.
It has complex carbohydrate which take time to digest.
Bajra flour makes feel fuller without any weight gain. Hence it is advantage as it helps in weight loss of any individual.
Because the flour is gluten free therefore it don’t allow to stick together and have good insoluble fiber content which helps in healthy digestion and flushes out all toxins. (Caroline L Hoad, 2017).
It is low cost grain available in India.
Moreover, It is less susceptible to contamination by aflatoxins compared to corn (Josh Avelino S, 2018).
Due to low glycemic index
It can be used as the alternative food for weight control to reduce the risk of chronic diseases as diabetes.
OTHER USES OF PEARL MILLETS:
There further other uses as per a study by (Kashkush K et.al 2018)
As a source of feed and fodder for livestock.
Moreover, it can also be used as fuel and construction material.
Can be milled, decorticated, germinated, fermented, cooked and extruded to obtain products as flour, biscuits, snacks, pasta and non-dairy probiotics and beverages (Jose Avelino S, 2018).
PRODUCTION AND CLIMATIC CONDITION FOR THE GROWTH:
The particular grain can be grown in both hot and dry region as it can bear drought condition as well.
It can be grown with water scarcity, high temperature and with low fertility.
Production level or the growth of this grain cover about thirty million hectare in 30 countries spread across Asia, Africa, America and Australia.
Largest land use for this crop is India (about 8.5 million hectare).
Production of bajra rank at 6th after wheat, rice, maize, barley and sorghums (Kashkush K, 2018).
SOME COOKING IDEAS:
- Pearl millet Onion Muthia.
- Bajra methi khakhra
- Bajra chakli
- Jowar bajra spring onion roti
- Bajra khichdi
- Bajra khichu with masala dahi
- Combine bajra with wheat or jowar flour to make rotla, bharkri, thepla etc.