Benefits of Bajra / Pearl Millet
Bajra also is also known as pearl millet is the most widely grown variety of millet. Bajra is a storehouse of many nutrients and fiber; it is gluten-free, alkaline, and is commonly used as a wheat replacement. Nutritionists around the world are promoting the consumption of this particular grain because of the variety of benefits this millet provides. Bajra is popular in North India, is consumed especially in winter season. It is a staple food in rural north India, because it is easy to grow and packed with multiple nutrients. Bajra is a good source of essential amino acids, vitamin B – 6, thiamine, niacin, protein, iron, sodium, magnesium and phosphorous. It is one of the oldest cultivated grains; one flatbread (roti) of bajra will provide you about 111 calories of energy and 22 grams of carbohydrates. The complex carbohydrate present is bajra is starch; it is digested slowly in the body and gives you the feeling of fullness for a longer duration.
Following are the Health Benefits of Bajra
Helps in Weight loss
Bajra has high fiber content, owing to this it takes more time for the food to move from stomach to the intestine. This way, bajra helps in maintain the satiating the hunger for a longer time.
Similarly, Vitamin B-6 present in bajra helps in regulating your appetite, sleep, and mood. It produces a neurotransmitter called serotonin (regulates mood), norepinephrine (help in coping with stress), melatonin (regulate biological clock of sleep). Our body uses vitamin B in converting food into energy.
More specifically, it plays a vital role development of the brain and in the proper functioning of your nervous system. Keeping balance in the above-mentioned neurotransmitters help in maintaining weight.
Bajra also helps in preventing gallstones, the high fiber content in bajra helps in reducing the production of excess bile in your body. Excessive bile in our bile is responsible for aggravating formation of gallstone.
Rich in Iron
It is also involved in the production of hemoglobin in the body. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition, suggest that iron present in bajra helps in significant improvement in cognitive performance. Iron deficiency may limit brain development causing a decrease in learning capacity. Iron deficiency can also lead to anemia. Bajra is high on iron content (8 mg/100 mg).
Bone and Heart Health
Bajra is a great source of Magnesium. Magnesium is crucial for more almost 300 biochemical reactions in your body. Likewise, magnesium is required for healthy bones, it is also vital for normal nerve and muscle function. Magnesium also helps in strengthening the immune system, maintains blood glucose levels. It is also seen in several studies that magnesium helps in enhancing exercise performance. It also plays a critical role in fighting depression, decreasing inflammation in the body, prevents migraines and reducing insulin resistance. Magnesium also plays a vital role in maintain blood pressure of the body.
Bajra is also loaded with good amount of potassium, which is a natural vasodilator, this helps in reducing blood pressure. Bajra also contains lignans, it is known for preventing blood vascular diseases. Likewise, high dietary fiber in bajra, contributes in lowering your blood cholesterol.
Good in Dabetes
Bajra helps in dealing with diabetes; it has a low Glycemic index. Glycemic index is a rating system of foods which contains carbohydrates. Food which raises the blood sugar level slowly have a low Glycemic index. Bajra helps in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels; it is digested at a slower rate helping in a slower release of glucose in the blood.
Bajra is gluten-free; this makes it ideal for patients with celiac diseases like allergy from gluten. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder; in this disease gluten is not digested, causing damage to the villi (small finger like projections) of the intestine. It is estimated that 1 in every 100 people are exposed to celiac disease, because of genetic predisposition. Damage of villi causes interference in absorption of nutrients leading various deficiencies in body.
Bajra is a good source of lactic acid bacteria, this helps in probiotic treatment.
Bajra is high in dietary fiber (1.2 gram/100 gram), this helps in fighting constipation. This fiber helps in regular bowel movements by increasing the bulk of the stool. It also prevents bloating, gas and cramping and stomach pain.
Bajra is alkaline in nature; it regulates excess acidity in the stomach. It is recommended for treating stomach ulcers as it helps in preventing excessive acidity in the stomach.
On a general note, bajra is good for most of us, but you can always start with lesser quantity before adding this to your diet.
Dr Reena Prajapat is a dentist, she post graduated in hospital management from Apollo Institute of hospital Administration, Hyderabad. Her strong belief in natural and home remedies lead her to Pursue bachelor in naturopathy.