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Like all Body Ecology grain-like seeds, millet was first cultivated several thousand years ago. It is a hearty plant that can thrive in a variety of environments—from poor, dry land to fertile, moisture-rich soil.
Unlike other Body Ecology grain-like seeds, millet is a “true grass.”
This means that millet seed comes from a cereal grass—similar to wheat, rye, and barley.
According to some sources, millet competes with wheat, corn, and rice as one of the most valued grains grown worldwide. (1) India, Africa, and Asia are the largest producers of millet. But in spite of its long history and popularity, millet is not common in the United States. You will most likely only find millet seed and flour at your local health food store.
Millet is recommended on the Body Ecology Diet because:
According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, 3 million Americans have celiac disease. And as many as 18 million Americans suffer from non-celiac gluten sensitivity. (3) Although celiac and non-celiac patients only respond to wheat-free dietary therapy, even this can be tough to manage.
When it comes to gluten sensitivity, gluten is often just the tip of the iceberg.
As it turns out, the immune system sometimes gets mixed up and recognizes non-gluten foods as containing gluten. This has to do with the structure of molecules. It’s called a cross-reaction. Many everyday foods are susceptible to cross-reaction—examples include the proteins in milk, corn (found in most processed foods in one form or another), and coffee.
According to some scientists, the presence of cross-reactive substances may lead to multiple autoimmune disorders. (4)
Millet is one grain that you may not have to worry about.
A study published in 2011 found that millet—along with teff, quinoa, and amaranth—does not cross-react with the proteins in wheat. (5) Researchers concluded that these grains and grain-like seeds are safe for those with gluten sensitivity.
Millet boasts a dense nutrient profile. It is rich in iron, zinc, and folic acid. (6)(7) This means that it may protect the body against certain forms of anemia, like iron deficiency anemia and megaloblastic anemia.
And while anti-nutrients (like phytic acid) may decrease the availability of minerals like iron or zinc, research shows that soaking and sprouting millet shuts down anti-nutrients and unlocks minerals. (8) When preparing millet, using a probiotic starter may be even more effective than simply soaking. (9)
Millet may help control symptoms of high blood sugar and diabetes.
Studies have found that millet has a low glycemic index—which means that it does not drastically raise blood sugar levels. (10) One study compared wheat, rice, and millet. Researchers found that a breakfast of millet significantly reduced blood sugars levels. They concluded that the high fiber content in millet might be responsible. (11)
Millet also contains compounds that act as natural antioxidants in the body!
In 2011, the Journal of Functional Foods published a study on millet and its antioxidant value. (12) Researchers found that compounds in millet could inhibit rogue cell growth. They concluded that millet might help prevent or regulate the growth of cancer.
In order to enjoy all the benefits of millet and easy digestion, be sure and follow the Principle of 80/20. You digest best when 80% of your plate is made up of non-starchy vegetables and ocean vegetables—while the remaining 20% can include a Body Ecology grain-like seed or animal protein.
For you, this may mean a side of millet with a fresh salad, slow-roasted cruciferous vegetables, and a couple tablespoons of cultured veggies topped with dulse. The combinations are endless! If you are looking for a little inspiration, you can sign up for our Body Ecology Meal Plans.
The #1 key to perfect millet: Always soak millet for 8–24 hours before cooking, rinsing at 8 hour intervals.
Like all cereal grains, millet naturally contains anti-nutrients that interfere with both mineral absorption and digestion. Soaking millet for at least 8 hours and as long as 24 hours ensures that these anti-nutrients don’t get in the way.
We strongly suggest that in addition to water, you add a tablespoon of InnergyBiotic when soaking your grain-like seeds. This will help “soften” the grains, making them easier to digest.
A few more tips when preparing millet:
Millet is a grain that comes from cereal grass, like wheat, rye, and barley. Millet is a top choice on the Body Ecology Diet because it is naturally gluten-free, antifungal, and alkalizing in the body. Millet also isn't cross-reactive, so the immune system won't confuse it for gluten to cause an inflammatory response.
Some of the major health benefits of millet include:
Millet can be enjoyed at home by soaking for 8-24 hours and rinsing at 8 hour intervals before cooking. For the best results, combine a tablespoon of InnergyBiotic with millet while soaking to make it easier to digest. If you're looking for menu guidance and inspiration, check out the Body Ecology Meal Plans to learn more about the Principle of 80/20 today!
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