Health Foods 101: Millet

What this ancient grain is, why it's good for you and how to eat it.

Health Foods 101: Millet
(Source: Thinkstock)

Everyone wants to eat healthy, but not everyone knows where to start. Whether you're trying to lose a few pounds or looking for an extra energy boost, food is the foundation for positive results. To help you navigate the grocery aisles, we have Health Foods 101 to break down popular ingredients, why they're good for you and how to eat them with the help of experts. 

Up this week: millet, according to Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies.

What it is:
Millet is an ancient seed commonly found in African and Asian cooking. It can be cooked and prepared similarly to grains like quinoa, rice and oatmeal. "It's a very nutritious grain and is also gluten-free, which has helped it gain popularity," Palinski-Wade said. 

Its nutritional value:
"Millet is an excellent source of whole grains, protein, fiber, and
nutrients including magnesium, phosphorus and manganese," she explained. One cup cooked contains 207 calories, two grams of fiber and six grams of protein. 

Health benefits it yields:
Because it is a good source of whole grains and magnesium, Millet helps promote heart health. Plus, diets rich in magnesium are linked with a decrease in insulin resistance which can help improve blood glucose control in those with diabetes or at risk of developing it. Palinksi-Wade explained, "Whole grains, such as millet, may also help to reduce the levels of dangerous belly fat in the body."

How you eat it:
In addition to eating millet like rice or quinoa, Palinski-Wade said you could put it into cereals, yogurt and salads. She also suggested munching on KIND healthy grains bars (40 for $27.50) for a healthy snack fix on-the-go.

How much you should eat:
You can eat it everyday if you wish! To gain health benefits, eat one half to one whole cup of cooked millet or two to four tablespoons of toasted millet daily. 

Recipe to Try: Vanilla Bean Millet Porridge with Strawberries and Super Seeds

Now that you're familiar with millet, start incorporating it into your diet with a sweet recipe spotted on The First Mess. Get the full recipe here.

Health Foods 101: Millet
(Source: The First Mess)

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