Eating millets can curb heart disease

Nutrient-rich millets can help meet the country’s burgeoning cardiovascular disease challenges, scientists have said.

“Millet consumption can reduce total cholesterol, triacylglycerols (commonly called triglycerides) and BMI,” the scientists concluded after analyzing data from 19 studies, with nearly 900 people.

The study was undertaken by five organizations led by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).

Results published in Frontiers in Nutrition showed that consuming millet reduced total cholesterol by 8%, bringing it from high to normal levels in the people studied. There was an almost 10% decrease in low and very low density lipoprotein cholesterol (commonly referred to as “bad cholesterol”) and blood triacylglycerol levels. Thanks to these reductions, the levels went from above normal to normal. In addition, millet consumption lowered blood pressure, with diastolic blood pressure decreasing by 5%, according to the study.

Dr S Anitha, lead author of the study and senior nutritionist at ICRISAT, explained: “We were very surprised at the number of human studies that had already been undertaken on the impact of millet on elements that affect cardiovascular disease, and this is the first time anyone has put all of these studies together and analyzed their data to test the significance of the impact.

“We used a meta-analysis, and the results came out very strongly to show a significant positive impact on cardiovascular disease risk factors.”

The study also showed that consuming millet reduced BMI by 7% in overweight and obese people.

All results are based on consumption of 50 to 200 g of millet per day for a period ranging from 21 days to three months.

These results are influenced by comparisons that show millets to be significantly higher in unsaturated fatty acids, with levels 2 to 10 times higher than refined wheat and milled rice, as well as significantly higher than whole grain wheat. .

“This latest study puts more emphasis on the potential of millet as a staple crop that has many health benefits. It also reinforces the evidence that consuming millet can contribute to better cardiovascular health by reducing unhealthy cholesterol levels and increasing levels of whole grains and unsaturated fats in the diet,” said Professor Ian Givens, co – author of the study and director of the university. from Reading’s Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health (IFNH) in the UK.

“Obesity and overweight are increasing globally in both rich and poor countries. The need for solutions based on healthier diets is therefore essential.

The study on the health benefits of millet further confirms the need for more investment in grain, including its entire value chain, from the best varieties for farmers to developments in agribusiness” , said Dr. Jacqueline Hughes, Director General of ICRISAT.

The study identifies a number of future priority research areas, including the need to study all the different types of millet, to understand the differences in variety as well as the different types of cooking and processing of millet and their impact on the cardiovascular health.