A neglected cereals and called as the poor man’s grain with marvelous health benefits
Kambu- Pearl millet is one of the primary food grain produce in Tamilnadu, now neglected by the elite and called as the poor man’s grain is high in iron and zinc.
Millets, currently consumed in the rural and tribal areas of india, need to be popularized. Pearl millets rotis are recommended by many Health professionals, Dietitian and Nutritionist.They are trying to promote this grain and have started advising their patients to include pearl millet in their diets on alternate days.
Pearl millets are small in size, greenish brown in colour and has a sweet nutty flavor. It was the staple food for most of our ancestors. The earliest archaeological evidences show that pearl millet was cultivated in India around 2000 BC. But it is popular as birdseed and livestock fodder in Western Europe and North America and considered as grown in the poorest countries and consumed by the poorest people
India is supposed to be the largest producer of Pearl millet. It can withstand climate change risks. Also called as Kambu or Bajra adapted to production by low rainfall , low soil fertility, and high temperature, and can be grown in areas where other cereal crops, such as wheat, maize or rice, would not survive. In its traditional growing areas, pearl millet is the basic staple for households. It is also one of the most drought resistant crops among cereals and millets.
Studies say severe anemia in women and school children in India is because they mostly eat wheat and rice based foods which are very deficient in iron. Women aged between 18-45 will need more iron. 160 grams of iron-rich pearl millet flour is enough to provide 70 percent of their iron needs in daily diet. Significant quantities of Iron and Zinc are present in animal based food sources. Bajra will help women depended on plant based food sources in improving nutritional anemia.
Carbohydrate content in kambu is lower than wheat and rice.It helps to reduce the bad cholesterol level in our body. Its a great body coolant. Its consumed as porridge during summer in tamilnadu.
It is consumed in variety of dishes in Tamilnadu Kerala, Andhra Maharashtara, Gujarat, Bengal, Orrisa, Punjab.
Pearl millet serves as a major staple food for many populations around the globe, however, it is still considered poor man’s food and does not find place in the food purchase lists of the elite