Panicum miliaceum, with many common names including proso millet, broomcorn millet, common millet, broomtail millet, hog millet, Kashfi millet red millet, and white millet, is a grass species used as a crop. Both the wild ancestor and location of the original domestication of proso millet are unknown, but it first appears as a crop in both Transcaucasia and China about 7,000 years ago, suggesting it may have been domesticated independently in each area. It is still extensively cultivated in India, Nepal, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Middle East, Turkey and Romania. In the United States, proso is mainly grown for birdseed. It is sold as health food, and due to its lack of gluten, it can be included in the diets of people who cannot tolerate wheat.
Proso is well adapted to many soil and climatic conditions; it has a short growing season, and needs little water. The water requirement of proso is probably the lowest of any major cereal. It is an excellent crop for dryland and no-till farming. Proso millet is an annual grass whose plants reach an average height of 100 cm (4 feet.). Like corn, it has a C4 photosynthesis. The seedheads grow in bunches. The seeds are small (2–3 mm or 0.1 inch) and can be cream, yellow, orange-red, or brown in colour.
Health benefits of Proso Millet
Beneficial in anti-ageing: Proso millet has high anti-oxidant content. Anti-oxidants are substances which remove free radicals from your body. Free radicals are produced in virtually every process in the body. These molecules damage the cells and fatigue them causing them to age. These are the reasons for wrinkles on skin, complexion loss etc. A healthy serving of Proso millets everyday can help you delay the ageing process.
Beneficial for nervous system : Proso millet contains high amount of lecithin. Lecithin is a compound that indirectly affects the nervous system and keeps it functioning smoothly. Proso millet is also known to strengthen nervous system.
Beneficial in preventing pellagra and other Niacin dependent conditions: Pellagra is a condition in which the skin becomes scaly and rough and starts falling off. This is caused due to the deficiency of niacin. Proso millet has a very high content of niacin. Thus people whose diets are primarily meat based can avoid niacin deficiency by consuming daily portions of millet.
Helps to lower cholesterol : Proso millet has been shown to reduce the cholesterol levels in mammals. Apparently, Proso millet elevates the levels of High Density Lipoproteins in the body. The presence of HDLs increases the metabolism of cholesterol and helps bring it under control. Apart from this, Millet is also known to contain phyto chemicals like Phytic acid. Phytic acid is known to reduce cholesterol. This is an added benefit to the fact that it can also reduce heart disease risk.
Decreases risk of cancer : Lignans are an essential phytonutrient present in millets that are very useful to humans. In the intestines of humans, the bacteria act on them and convert them to mammalian lignans that are known to cut the risk of cancers like breast cancer.
Useful for people with coeliac disease: Coeliac disease is a condition in which the individual is highly resistant and allergic to gluten. Gluten is found in almost every cereal grain apart from Common millet or Proso millet. Thus this is one of the foods which these people can consume safely.
Read more about health benefits of millet from our blog.