Paspalum scrobiculatum, Kodo millet (Telugu: Arikelu, Tamil: Varagu, Kannada: Arka, Hindi: Kodra), is an annual grain that is grown in primarily in India, but also in the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and in West Africa where it originates. It is grown as a minor crop in most of these areas, with the exception of the Deccan plateau in India where it is grown as a major food source. It is a very hardy crop that is drought tolerant and can survive on marginal soils where other crops may not survive, and can supply 450–900 kg of grain per hectare. Kodo millet has large potential to provide nourishing food to subsistence farmers in Africa and elsewhere.
Kodo millet is a nutritious grain and a good substitute to rice or wheat. The grain is composed of 11% of protein, providing 9 grams/100 g consumed. It is an excellent source of fibre at 10 grams (37-38%), as opposed to rice, which provides 0.2/100 g, and wheat, which provides 1.2/100 g. An adequate fibre source helps combat the feeling of hunger. Kodo millet contains 66.6 g of carbohydrates and 353 kcal per 100 g of grain, comparable to other millets. It also contains 3.6 g of fat per 100 g. It provides minimal amounts of iron, at 0.5/100 mg, and minimal amounts of calcium, and 27/100 mg. Kodo millets also contain high amounts of polyphenols, an antioxidant compound.
Health Benefits of Kodo millet
Kodu millet intake is found to reduce fasting blood glucose level and promotes significant increase in serum insulin level. The anti-diabetic compounds in Kodo are quercetin, ferulic acid, p-hydroxybenzoic acid, vanillic acid and syringic acid.
Antioxidant and anti-microbial activity
Kodo millet grains contain polyphenols and antioxidants. The polyphenols possess antimicrobial action against certain bacterias (Staphylococcus aureus, Leuconostoc mesenteroides, Bacillus cereus and Enterococcus faecalis).
Kodo is high in fibre and prevents gain in weight. It also helps to prevent rise in cholesterol and triglyceride levels and is a functional food to manage weight and promotes weight loss.
Anti-cholesterol and anti-hypertension:
Kodo is very beneficial for post menopausal women suffering from signs of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
Read more about health benefits of millet from our blog.