Bajra (pearl millet) is one of the oldest cultivated crops in the world and India is the
largest producer of this grain. It is used in a multitude of ways in Indian cuisine and is
a common staple in states such as Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, etc.
Bajra is a popular recommendation as a component of healthy diets owing to its iron
and dietary fiber content. Fiber absorbs water in the stomach forming a gelatinous
medium. This makes it difficult to release sugars from the food and also speeds up the
time taken to reach the large intestine. The slow release of sugar (low glycemic index)
make bajra suitable for diabetics. The fiber keeps the stomach full for longer thus aiding
weight loss. A trial conducted between oats and bajra porridge in 2019, demonstrated
that its comparable effect in reducing blood glycemic levels and appetite responses.
Multiple components of bajra are cardio-protective in nature and help to keep the heart
healthy. The lignin and other fibers helps to keep cholesterol in control while
magnesium maintains blood pressure. Magnesium is also helpful in maintaining
respiratory health and preventing migraines. A 2020 study conducted with an animal
model provided the most recent evidence of pearl millet’s hypoglycemic and hypo
Bajra has a healthy composition of phytonutrients, lignin, omega-3 fatty acids and
phosphorous among others. The antioxidant activity of phytonutrients contribute to its
potent cancer protective and tumor inhibiting action. Phosphorous, an essential
mineral for bone growth and development, is present in substantial amounts in bajra.
An incredibly large benefit of bajra lies in its alkaline nature which helps combat
hyperacidity and stomach ulcers. It is hypo allergic and gluten free, safe for infants.
The traditional utility of bajra is often in the form of rotla/ bhakri in India. However,
this grain can be successfully multi-purposed in cooking in the forms of puffs, chips,
cookies, in cakes, etc. This affordable, healthy millet should soon find its way into your
plates and your heart.