Traditional rice Versus Millets
Traditional rice varieties of the country are slowly making a comeback in our diets. They offer a huge array of health benefits like they prevent unnecessary oxidation, are good anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and are, in most cases, beneficial for the farmers to grow. Millets are also a store house of various nutrients and minerals that are good for variety of things like preventing cancer, improving digestion and help fight diabetes.
About Traditional Rice:
Traditional varieties of rice are indigenous to various places and are mostly found in and around those places. Kashmir, alone, is home to 32 varieties of traditional rice which cannot be grown anywhere else. Growing these rice varieties in a specific type of soil, temperature and altitudes gives them unique flavor, aroma and medicinal properties. Yes, these rice varieties have a lot of medicinal properties, more than any other food product. Traditional rice is mostly pigmented and can have colors like black, red, purple etc. Now, these pigments are actually what enhances the qualities and separates traditional rice varieties from white and, even, brown rice. Chemicals responsible for pigmentation are called anthocyanins and they are rich in antioxidants and anticarcinogens. They contain 2-3 times the amount of Zinc and Iron than the white rice variety and that’s why they energize, strengthen and regenerate the body.
Millets are coarse grains grown in various parts of India, not really native to any one place but are favored more in those parts of the country where the rainfall is scarce and temperature is slightly elevated, all this because millets can be grown in the harshest environment. They used as fodder in developed countries but are used as food grains in developing countries. Millets have the highest amount of proteins of all grains and are rich in Riboflavin (Vitamin B2). Due to them being fully packed with nutrients, millets curb unwanted hunger pangs and keep us feeling full for long periods of time, this property of millets also contributes to weight loss as our body is continuously working to digest the high-fiber grain.
Which one is better?
Both the grains have benefits that make our body better and strengthen our digestive tract and immunity. For instance, Millets and Rice are gluten free, so are perfect for people suffering from celiac disease. They are good for soil as neither requires pesticides or insecticides to grow. However, there are some factors where the two differ from each other and that’s what makes one of them slightly better than the other.
Factor 1: Medicinal Properties
Millets have low glycemic index so they are perfect for diabetics, aid in digestion (due to high fiber), detoxify the body and significantly improve weight loss. They also reduce the risk of one having a stroke mainly because of vasodilators present in them, also lowering the blood pressure.
Pigmented traditional varieties of rice have so many benefits ranging from improving eyesight & vocal clarity, restoring humors in the body, curing boils, giving a cooling sensation to the body. Extracts from these varieties can be used as energy drinks or in treating chronic gastric problems, jaundice etc. They are especially beneficial to pregnant women/new mothers and children as they improve their nutrition. They also have a chemical called oryzenol that controls cholesterol level in our body. Low sugar content also makes them ideal for diabetics. Free radical scavenging helps keep the amount of oxidative free radicals low in the blood, which gives another boost to the body’s overall health.
Winner: Traditional Rice
Factor 2: Nutritional Content
When it comes to nutritional content Millets seem to have the upper hand mainly because they have the highest protein content out of all the known grains , have a really high fiber content making them super food when it comes to weight loss! They have a higher amount of Calcium in them as compared to most rice varieties.
Traditional rice do have higher energy, carbohydrates, Zinc and Iron in them. Rich source of thiamine, riboflavin and 8 out of 9 essential amino acids.
Factor 3: Taste
This is one the most important parameters of all as people tend to bank more towards the food items that tend to be tastier. Traditional rice, no doubt, are full of aroma and flavor owing to the vast variety of flavonoids present in them. Millets, on the other hand, tend to be a little bland and lack much flavor and aroma which is one of the biggest reasons for reluctance in masses to include them in their diet. After all, the food we eat has to satisfy our taste buds as much as it has to satisfy the nutritional needs of the body.
Winner: Traditional Rice
Overall, rice seems to have an upper hand on millets as they have high medicinal properties and are much more soothing in taste and aroma. It doesn’t, however, undermine millets in any sense as they have their own unique qualities which make them quite special. B&B Organics sells more than 40 types of traditional rice and 10 types of millets which are difficult to find in markets.