Barnyard millet is also known as Japanese or German Millet. Its pinnacles are the most beautiful and attract many birds. These birds drop their excreta while feeding, enriching the soil. In the process, one does not need any fertilisers for its crop. It is easy to grow, and takes 200-300 litres of water. Its yield is ready in 3 months, so, three crops can be grown.
Also, the farmers who want to remove the excessive content of chemicals and fertilisers from their soil should grow barnyard crops before, as the droppings of birds attracted on its pinnacles help clean the soil and put nutrition to it.
Barnyard millet is the 4th millet in this 5 part series.
Its characteristics are as follows:-
(i) It is creamish/ offwhite in colour, and it is a little flatish and sweet in taste.
(ii) Its protein content is 6.2%.
(iii) Its fibre content is 10%.
(iv) Its iron content is 2.9mg%.
(v) Its Carbohydrate: fibre ratio is 6.5.
Its Hindi name is “Samak ke Chawal”. It is eaten during Navaratri days as it gives strength to the body. Many sweet and delicious dishes can be prepared from it. In Nepal and Uttarakhand, it is given to women after delivery as it keeps the body warm and prevents conditions like anaemia. Many tasty dishes can be prepared by it like roti, idli, dosa, baked items viz cookies, cake etc. Thus, we can improve our immunity too by eating different preparations.
It is the most important of the 5 positive millets, as it works on liver which is the storehouse of energy and many vitamins and minerals. Various metabolic activities of our body are carried out by the liver, which makes it the most critical organ. In this way, it is useful in many liver diseases like Jaundice, liver cirrhosis, and Hepatitis (liver infections by Hepatitis A, B, C viruses). Excessive consumption of protein and mineral oils as found in modern industrial food promotes Gall bladder and kidney stones as well as deposition of sludge in the gallbladder, which is a root cause of many liver diseases.
Due to its high fibre content (10%), various soft organs of our body like the spleen, urinary bladder, pancreas, and kidneys are cleaned completely and regularly by fermented porridge of Barnyard. The spleen works as a quality control system of blood, pancreas in digestive processes and Urinary tract for removing the toxins from our body. It is useful in Gall Bladder stones and other problems as well as urinary stones also. In children, barnyard millet helps in creating appetite and helps in their proper nutrition. It contributes to glucose balance in diabetes.
Major fatty acids found in this millet are linoleic acid, palmitic and oleic acids, which reverse the amylase enzymes and make complex starch. The absorption of complex starch is slow and helps in cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
Barnyard millet is an appropriate food for those who have celiac disease with gluten intolerance.
It is nature’s gift for those having a sedentary lifestyle and don’t do any physical work or who have to work for long hours sitting in one place, as it prevents overeating.
In addition to all the above attributes, the fibre of these grains is laden with lignans which act as antioxidants and can eliminate cancer-causing conditions in the human body. Different grains have different lignans. The beneficial gut microbiome act on the lignans, make them bioavailable and help us derive the health benefits. This is why to consume each of the 5 positive millet in the form of porridge.
Rekha Raheja is a food choreographer and culinary medicine consultant. She provides food and lifestyle-related advice based on Ayurveda and Siridhanya principles. For the last four years, she has been practicing millet therapy and has refined and curated a lot of dishes from millets to make them more popular. She has been felicitated by FDA for her valuable contribution to the Eat Right India movement, organised by FSSAI. Views expressed are the author’s own.