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Foxtail Millets: Benefits, Uses & Side Effects


Foxtail Millets: Benefits, Uses & Side Effects


Medically Reviewed By
Dr Divya Rohra

Written By Meenakshi
on Apr 17, 2024

Last Edit Made By Meenakshi
on Apr 17, 2024

Foxtail Millets

Foxtail millet, scientifically known as Setaria italica is a gluten-free yellowish small-grain cereal crop that has made its way back into our diet. Our ancestors widely consumed it for its multitudinous health benefits. A recent survey states that 1.2 billion people consume millet as a part of their diet. Being rich in essential minerals such as Iron, Phosphorus, Magnesium, and Zinc, foxtail millet is an excellent choice for individuals who want to increase their whole grain and high fiber intake.

It is grown in sandy soil, having a pH of 5.5-7, and is found in parts of China, Russia, Africa, and India. This millet is believed to have made its way from Africa to the archaeological sites of China almost 4000 years ago and later spread to Europe. It has now become a prominent part of our diet due to its high nutritional value and low fat content. Its nutty crunchy taste and versatility make it a culinary chameleon. Let’s explore the myriad of health benefits of foxtail millet.

Benefits Of Adding Foxtail Millet To Our Daily Diet

Foxtail millets due to their high nutritional content have emerged as a shining star, drawing the attention of nutritionists for being a potential dietary consideration for a healthier lifestyle. Read further to unlock their health benefits.

  1. Promotes Heart Health

A survey by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) stated that foxtail millets are good for cardiac health. It helps form the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which aids in transferring messages between muscles and nerves thus protecting our heart from various ailments. Being rich in Vitamin B12, potassium, and protein, and low in carbohydrates, it is a good option to be added to our diet for a healthy heart

  1. Monitors Blood Sugar Level

Our body takes time to digest whole grains thus not raising the blood sugar levels as quickly as refined grains do. Foxtail millet is a whole grain and a great substitute for rice that will keep us :

  • Fuller for longer
  • Prevent hunger pangs and 
  • Spike in sugar levels.

 Its low glycaemic content helps lower glycosylated hemoglobin and blood sugar levels.

  1. Helps in Weight Reduction

Foxtail millet has high fiber content and low glycemic and calorie content, becoming a great option for those planning to lose weight. Tryptophan, an amino acid present in it reduces the urge to eat and is known to reduce fat, especially around the belly.

  1. Good For Gut Health

A good gut is essential for an individual's overall well-being. 

If you face 

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Or other digestive issues you need to modify your diet. Consume foxtail millet with lots of vegetables for proper bowel movements.

  1. Boosts Immunity

The rich nutrients present in foxtail millets are known to

  •  Strengthen our stamina 
  •  Build immunity and
  •  Fight infections. 

They are rich in antioxidants and micronutrients and known to be immunity boosters. It is advised to add them to the diet if you are susceptible to viral and bacterial infections.

  1. Strengthens Bones

Foxtail Millets promote bone health by being rich in :

100 g of foxtail millet contains 31 mg of calcium and 81 mg of magnesium along with other vital components such as iron, vitamin C, and vitamin A that strengthen bones naturally and lower the risk of internal bone injuries.

Foxtail millets improve our health and gets us closer to a balanced way of life while adding taste to our diet.

Stay Cautious While Consuming Foxtail Millets

There is no doubt that foxtail millets offer a plethora of health benefits but individuals reaction to it may vary. Hence it is crucial to be cautious before you consume it.

  • You May Be Allergic To Foxtail Millets

If you experience itching or a scratchy throat or face difficulty breathing or swelling after consuming foxtail millet, immediately consult your healthcare provider. You should do a patch test before consuming it to know how it reacts to your body.

  • Consult Before Consumption If You Have Thyroid

Goitrogens are compounds present in foxtail millet that affect thyroid function. Although the levels are low, individuals having thyroid dysfunction should consult their healthcare provider before adding it to their regular diet.

  • Can Lead To Kidney Stones

The oxalates present in foxtail millets are a leading contributor to kidney stones. One should consume it in moderation and if there are any unusual symptoms or lower abdomen pain experienced then it is advised to consult your healthcare provider immediately for personalised treatment.

Be mindful of allergies and health issues before incorporating foxtail millets into your menu. Consulting a dietician before making modifications to your diet is advised to help you reap the nutritional benefits and meet the unique dietary needs of your body.

Foxtail Millets & Pregnancy

High Iron content and folic acid presence in foxtail millets are beneficial for fetal development and prevention of anemia. Pregnant women can consume it by adding this versatile grain into their diet in dishes like

  • Porridge
  • Upma or
  • Use as an alternative to Rice.

 It is a nutritious choice for both maternal and fetal health due to its numerous nutritional benefits. Its low glycemic content makes it a suitable choice for pregnant women at risk of gestational diabetes.

However, one should always consult their healthcare provider for a proper diet plan to ensure that the nutritional needs of both the mother and the fetus are fulfilled.

Get Yourself Tested With Redcliffe Labs 

Foxtail millets, apart from being a great choice for a well-balanced diet, are also sustainable crops that require less water to grow, thus saving water and making it an eco-friendly option for consumers and farmers.

A good diet and regular health checkups are essential for maintaining overall well-being. Redcliffe Labs is your reliable partner in diagnostics, providing hassle-free and timely services. Before you make any dietary modifications consult your doctor and take the tests he suggests to get diagnosed for health conditions. Don’t wait for complications to strike; book your test to know how your body reacts to different food items.

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