Writing in Food Chemistry , researchers from India’s Dr Y S Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry said they sought to phytochemically investigate kodo millet for its nutritional and antioxidant potential for use in functional foods and nutraceuticals.
“[Kodo millet] is an extremely hardy and drought-tolerant crop that can survive on marginal soils where other crops may not survive, and can supply 450–900 kg of grains per hectare,” states the study.
“By virtue of their importance, millets have a great potential for being utilised in different food systems by virtue of their nutritional quality and economic importance…as the bulk of the production is consumed at the farm/village level, so far the real value of these crops has not been appreciated,” it adds.
The study found that kodo millet was rich in proteins, carbohydrates and crude fibres, while Its fat content was less than other millets, making it suitable for dieting patients.
It adds that kodo millet showed a high total of phenolics and flavonoids, and a high radical scavenging activity. The polyphenols extracted also showed very good antibacterial activity.
Researchers also identified a number of functional benefits the millet could provide.
They wrote: “Kodo millet grains were found to be rich in minerals Mg, P, K, Ca and Na. Similar to our results, it has been cited in the literature that millets are rich in fibre content which can be helpful in reducing chronic vascular complications.
“Also, the nutritional potential of kodo millet in terms of proteins, carbohydrates and energy values was found to be a lot richer than popular cereals like rice, wheat, barley, indicating the kodo millet has higher percentage of nutrients than cereals which we are regularly taking in our diet.”
The non-starchy polysaccharides of the millet form the bulk of its dietaryfibre constituents, potentailly offering several health benefits including delayed nutrients absorption, increased faecal bulk and lowering blood lipids, claim the researchers.
The millet is also gluten-free, making it suitable for celiacs.
The study concluded that kodo millet had considerable food and nutraceutical potential, subject to further studies.
“Due to the presence of various bioactive compounds, it could be used in formulation of nutraceuticals and functional foods, which can be consumed safely without posing any of health risks…but further studies have to be done on the nutritional value of food products once kodo millet is incorporated into food items or products,” states the study.
Source: Food Chemistry
214 (2017) 162–168
“Evaluation of health potential of nutritionally enriched Kodo millet (Eleusine coracana) grown in Himachal Pradesh, India”
Authors: S. Sharma, et al