Oats and quinoa are the latest health imports, which claim to have several health benefits. But do not get too enamoured with them and forego Indian wholegrains, some of which have higher or equal health benefits. Here are the health benefits of some of the most nutritious Indian wholegrains.
Rajgira or Amaranth:
A popular wholegrain in Northern India, rajgira or amaranth is rich in manganese, phosphorous, vitamin B6 and B2, magnesium, calcium, zinc, folate and potassium.
How to include them in your diet: Pop the grains and mix it with jaggery to prepare laddoos.
Kuttu or Buckwheat:
Technically buckwheat is not a grain, but flour is prepared from the leaves and flowers. Buckwheat or kuttu is a good source of protein and starch, it is also a good ingredient for those who are following gluten free diet. Since this protein can be easily digested, it can improve digestion too. It is diabetes friendly and improves heart health.
Sabudana or Pearl Sago:
Do not confuse pearl sago with tapioca sago – they are two different kinds of sago. Sabudana or pearl sago are not grains but formed into pearls prepared from the sap of the sago palm. Sabudana is consumed during fasting as it is a rich source of carbohydrates that keep you nourished and curb cravings. It also contains calcium, protein and dietary fibre.
Lapsi or Broken Wheat or Dhalia:
Lapsi is a common ingredient for breakfast, especially for porridge. But lapsi or broken wheat is now being used to prepare cakes and main courses. It is a nutritious ingredient and is a good source of energy, fibre, carbohydrates, vitamin A and reduces sugar and cholesterol. The use of lapsi is now entering main stream cooking and it is no longer just a breakfast ingredient.
Barley or sattu or jau:
This grain has several health benefits especially for those who are following a detox. Including barley in your diet helps lower cholesterol, control diabetes, promotes weight loss, reduces LDL and lowers blood pressure. It is also a good source for dietary fibres and a rich source of zinc.
Ragi or Millet:
Ragi or nachni is a wholegrain that is a superfood for adults and babies. Ragi is a great ingredient for weight loss, it can improve diabetes, lower cholesterol, reduce the temperature of the body and improves anaemia. It also promotes bone health and lowers blood pressure. This protein source also slows down the ageing process.
Once upon a time bajra was included as part of the daily diet, now nutritionists are pushing for the comeback of bajra. It is also gluten free. This grain has several health benefits:
– lowering cholesterol
– lowering blood pressure
– stomach ulcers
– weight loss
– heart diseases
– uric acid
Jowar or Sorghum:
Jowar is a rich source of iron and fibre. Sorghum or jowar is gluten free and rich in protein. Increase your phosphorous and thiamine levels with jowar. This grain also helps lower cholesterol, improves heart health, reduces neurodegenerative problems, improves immunity, constipation, diabetes and digestive problems.
Like jowar, maize is a rich source of protein, iron, thiamine, folate and vitamin A and B. Maize also contains dietary fibre that improves digestive problems, lowers cholesterol, improves kidney problems and boosts immunity.