Little Millet: Nutrient-Packed Grain Offering Health Advantages
Image Credit: Little Millets | Image Credit: Nutty Yogi

The United Nations declared this year the ‘Year of Millets.’ The successful and magnificent G20 Summit that was held in India millet held the centre stage in the variety of Indian cuisine. Every coarse meal had a variation of different millets in different forms. Although there are a variety of millets, little millet, or ‘thoda bajra,’ is relatively common in the South. This millet is considered more resistant to pests and insects.   

In the quest for sustainable and nutritious food sources, little millet, also known as Panicum sumatrense, has emerged as a remarkable grain that holds immense promise. This unassuming but nutritionally potent cereal has been a staple in the diets of many communities in Asia and Africa for centuries. Over the past few years, little millet has garnered increasing attention on the global stage, owing to its outstanding nutritional profile, remarkable adaptability, and its potential to address some of the challenges facing modern agriculture and nutrition.   

The striking feature of little millet is that it is a nutritional powerhouse. Little millet is a rich source of dietary fibre, which aids in digestive health and weight management. It is also abundant in essential vitamins and minerals, particularly iron and calcium, making it a valuable addition to diets, especially for individuals with micronutrient deficiencies. Additionally, little millet is gluten-free, making it an ideal choice for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.   

Little millet is versatile and can be included in the dish in a variety of ways. You can include little millet in your everyday diet. Try out little millet upma, little millet lemon rice or little millet idli along with some sambar. They are not only nutrient-rich and beneficial if you’re on an weight loss journey but also taste delicious.  

Beyond being nutrient-loaded, thoda bajra is considered better than rice and wheat. There are several health benefits that little millet contributes. Take a look at some of them: 

  • Control Blood Sugar Levels  

Little millet is known for controlling blood sugar levels owing to its low glycemic index and high fibre content. The low glycemic index means that the carbohydrates in little millet are digested and absorbed slowly, resulting in a gradual and steady release of glucose into the bloodstream. Additionally, the high fibre content in little millet slows down the absorption of sugar, further contributing to stable blood sugar levels.   

  • May Prevent Cancer

Little millet offers potential benefits in reducing the risk of certain types of cancer. They are rich in dietary fibre, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, which collectively have been associated with cancer prevention. Dietary fibre can aid in maintaining a healthy digestive system by promoting regular bowel movements and reducing the exposure of the colon to potential carcinogens. Antioxidants and phytochemicals help protect cells from oxidative damage, which can contribute to the development of cancer. Besides, the presence of anti-nutrients like phenolic acids, tannins, and phytes decreases the risk of colon and breast cancer. 


  • Good For Heart Health 

This grain is naturally low in saturated fats and contains no cholesterol, making it heart-friendly. Its high fibre content is particularly beneficial as it helps reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood, which thereby lowers atherosclerosis and heart disease. Additionally, it is a source of essential minerals such as magnesium and potassium, which play a crucial role in regulating blood pressure and maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.   

  • Good For The Nervous System

This grain contains important B vitamins, including niacin (vitamin B3) and pyridoxine (vitamin B6), which are essential for maintaining a healthy nervous system. Niacin supports proper nerve function by facilitating the production of neurotransmitters, while vitamin B6 is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which regulate mood and cognitive functions.   

  • Antioxidant Rich  

Little millet is a remarkable grain renowned for its antioxidant-rich nature. Packed with a variety of antioxidants, including phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and carotenoids, little millet offers formidable protection against oxidative stress. Its antioxidant arsenal not only helps bolster the body's defense mechanisms but also contributes to overall health and well-being.  


  • Boosts Digestion   

This grain is rich in dietary fibre, a crucial component for maintaining a healthy digestive system. The fibre content in little millet aids in regular bowel movements, prevents constipation, and promotes overall digestive regularity. Moreover, the insoluble fibre present in little millet acts as a prebiotic, nourishing the beneficial bacteria in the gut, which contributes to a balanced and thriving gut microbiome.