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Millet

Millet seed have a strong taste, are tiny and round and come in a variety of colors from white to red. It comes from one of a variety of cereal grasses. It is a good source of nutrients with a high protein profile. Millet is an ancient, prehistoric food eaten before rice and it is known as a good substitute.

Millet
The thermal nature is cooling.
The flavour is .
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What it is

The name millet refers to several different cereal grasses that produce small edible seeds and grown in difficult production environments. The seeds are small and round in shape; they can be white, grey, red or yellow and are strong tasting.

The main varieties are foxtail, pearl, barnyard millet, finger millet and proso millet, also known as common millet, broomcorn or hog millet. The majority of the Millet grown in the US is foxtail millet. Proso millet is the main variety grown in Asia and Africa. Millet is an ancient grain that is known to have been used since the Stone Age.  It was millet rather than rice that was an important part of the prehistoric diet in Chinese and Korean societies.

Millet is a food staple in China, Russia and West Africa. In America, Australia, the United Kingdom and other western countries it is most often used to feed chickens and other birds and for hay to feed animals.

Millet is a good replacement for rice in countries like Australia, which lack the rainfall to be a good rice producer.


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What is in it

Millet is a good source of manganese, magnesium, tryptophan and phosphorus. It has a high amino acid (protein) profile and is rich in silicon.


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What it is good for

• Strengthens the kidneys
• Diuretic
• Benefits the stomach
• Benefits the spleen-pancreas
• Moistens dry conditions
• Balances acid conditions – alkalizing
• Freshens the breath  - slows bacterial growth in your mouth.
• Acts as an antifungal
• Helpful for diarrhea (roast before cooking)
• Reduces indigestion
• Useful in cases of diabetes.
• Helps protect the heart
• Helps prevent miscarriage and reduce morning sickness
• Helps cases of Candida albicans overgrowth

Sprouted millet 
• Reduces stagnant digestion caused by undigested starches
• Similar uses as sprouted brown rice


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When you get it

Millet is available in markets all year around.


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Which to select

Use only whole grain millet products as they still have the bran and germ intact. Use the most fresh products possible. Once the grains have been processed they will begin to degrade.

Millet grains can usually be bought packages or in bulk containers. For the freshest product buy grains that are stored well in sealed airtight containers in markets or shops with good turnover. Be sure that there is no evidence of moisture of mold. 

Buy only organic grains as poisons and toxins seem to concentrate in the grains of cereal grasses.

Millet, can usually be bought packaged or in bulk containers. For the freshest product buy grain that is stored well in sealed airtight containers in markets or shops with good turnover. Be sure that there is no evidence of moisture of mold. The grain should be whole. 


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Where to store

Store millet in a well-sealed container away from light and heat. If stored correctly they can keep well for up to 1 year. Once they have been cooked, store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator where they will keep for a few days keep for a few days.

Flour and other ground products should be produces as close as possible to the time it is needed. Once milled it should be stored in the refrigerator.

If stored well, the whole grains should keep for up to one year and the flour for several months.


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How to use

Millet cannot be made into leavened bread so it is most often made into flatbread, porridges or prepared and eaten in a similar way to rice.

The basic preparation consists in washing the millet and toasting it while moving until one notes a characteristic scent. Then five measures of boiling water for each two measures of millet are added. The mixture is cooked covered using a low flame for 30-35 minutes.


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How much you need

Eat a variety of whole grains everyday.


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Things to watch out for

The use of millet is not recommended if you have signs of weak digestion such as consistently watery stools.


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References

The Journal of Nutrition – The American Society for Nutrition, http://jn.nutrition.org, retrieved 05/2009.

Wikipedia,  , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millet, Retrieved 01/2009

Prepared by the editors at Harvard Health Publications in consultation with Meir J. Stampfer, M.D., Dr.P.H., Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Vitamins and Minerals: What you need to know,  Harvard School of Public Health, 2008.

Bratman, Steven, and David Kroll. Natural Health Bible. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1999.

Paul Pitchford. Healing with whole food, North Atlantic Books, 2002.

Goldman L, Ausiello D. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders, 2004.

Norton Greenberger M.D. and Roanne Weisman, 4 Weeks to Healthy Digestion, Harvard School of Public Health. (2008)


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