Bajra - A Nutritional Powerhouse
If you are looking out for healthy options to fill your plate, different cereals can solve your confusion.
One of such marvel foods is Bajra!
Bajra, also known as Pearl millet, is a widely grown type of millet. It grows in various shades of white, yellow, grey, brown and bluish -purple.
It is also called as Sajjalu in Telugu, Kambu in Tamil, Sajje in Kannada and Kambam in Malayalam.
Bajra is profoundly nutritious and easy to digest cereal grain. It is power-packed with carbohydrates, essential amino acids, antioxidants and a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Per 100gms of Pearl Millet contains
Energy- 1456 KJ
Dietary fibre- 11.49gm
NUTRITIONAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF BAJRA
1. Good for Diabetes
Pearl millet is loaded with fibre, which is digested slowly and helps maintain a stable glucose level for long hours.
This makes them a healthy food option for Diabetics.
2. Heart Healthy
Again, the high fibre quality of Bajra has cholesterol lowering effect and thus, good for heart patients.
Also, Bajra contains good fats which is the desired quality of food for cholesterol patients.
3. Gluten free
Bajra being gluten free, can be freely consumed by people with Gluten sensitive enteropathy/ Celiac disease or even those who wish to shed off those extra kilos.
4. Prevents Constipation
High insoluble content in Bajra helps promote good gut health.
5. Great for Acidity or stomach ulcers
Bajra helps reduce stomach acidity and ulcers
6. Great source of protein to Vegetarians
Vegetarians cannot get the needed protein from meat and fish products.
This is where pearl millets come into the picture. However, Bajra flour becomes complete when it is combined with seeds like Rajma, moong dal, Chana, chole
7. Strengthens bones
Bajra is loaded with phosphorus, thus making bones stronger.
8. Lowers Blood pressure
Bajra being rich in Potassium, helps flush out extra Sodium from our bodies.
This maintains the sodium -potassium ratio in the body and reduces Blood pressure too.
9. Rich in Anti-oxidants
Bajra consumption reduces free radical damage in the body, and prevents early ageing, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s.
10. Nutritious Baby food
Bajra is easily digested and light on the tummy.
It is thus well tolerated by the little ones which makes it a mandatory ingredient for baby food especially during weaning period and even later.
11. Reduces Colon Cancer
Bajra makes the stomach PH alkaline and thus, reduces the risk of Colon Cancers.
12. Not to forget, Bajra is a healthy choice of food for Pregnant women and Lactating mothers due to high iron and folic acid content.
HOW TO COOK THIS POWER GRAIN!
If u say Bajra, everyone seems to be aware of it!
There is a nod among all, a sense of awareness of the subject in question.
But then, if you ask, how many have actually tried cooking with it, you probably won’t see many hands going up!
Why does this ancient healthy grain get such a cold shoulder? There are plenty of delicious was to include Bajra in your diet!
Bring home a pack and start experimenting!
One way to cook and eat Bajra
1. Rinse bajra before cooking
2. Remove any dirt or debris mixed with the seeds
3. Boil 2 ½ cups of water or broth for every one cup of bajra
4. Add it to boiling water or broth and let it return to a boil
5. Cover it and let it simmer for 25 minutes
It can be used like common flours to make a variety of dishes like cakes, Khichdi, Bhakris, Multigrain chapatis, Wraps.
You can also use whole bajra and make it into a khichdi or upma. Bajra flour can be used to make laddu to! Bajra puffs are too available.
A SIMPLE BAJRA RECIPE
Bajra Potato Pancakes
2 large potatoes
1 chopped onion
1 cup bajra flour
2 tablespoon Rawa
1-2 Green chillies
1 Tsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp coriander leaves
1. Peel and grate the potatoes in a bowl. In the same bowl, add bajra, onions, coriander, chilli paste and cumin seeds into it. Mix them all together to make a thick batter.
2. Pour the batter into the pan to make medium sized pancakes.
3. Cook them on slow flame till the pancakes turn golden brown in colour from both the sides.
Serve hot with chai.
Bajra is a nutrient- dense, healthy whole grain and a good addition to your diet no matter where in the world you are from.
It is one of the best replacements for white rice and unhealthy carbs. However, if you suffer from Thyroid, you need to avoid consuming it as it further compromises the gland functioning.
Also, if not soaked for longer hours and cooked properly, it might cause digestive issues
Sorghum and millet in human nutrition, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 1995
Singh, Purushottam (1996), The origin and Dispersal of millet cultivation in India
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sneha Jain, Dietician
Sneha is a Post graduate with specialization in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a university topper and holds 5+ years of experience in Apollo hospitals, VLCC, slimsutra and first cry fit-kids .
She has successfully counselled clients all over India for weight loss, weight gain, diabetes, hypertension, PCOD, hypothyroid, Pregnancy and lactation and growth charts for children. She has her own diet consultation e-clinic (diet_diariez)
She believes in customized diets and eating local and seasonal foods. Her counselling not only involves diet planning, but also lifestyle modification and stress relief strategies.