Millet vs Quinoa -Which is the best?

 Millet vs Quinoa -Which is the best?

A new wave of alternative food and beverages are redefining “Healthy Diet”. Variety of Whole grains are at the forefront in this trend. Besides Brown rice and Wheat Whole grains like Millets and Quinoa have gained popularity in recent times. Along with hearty tastes and textures, they are immensely nutritious. Research shows, The global whole grain foods market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.7% between 2017 and 2021. Despite increased interest Studies shows that consumers are confused about how much of these grains should be consumed, which one to use and how to use. Big food companies are encashing this trend by incorporating Millets and Quinoa in their products.

Millet vs quinoa-are they same?

Millet vs. Quinoa :The similarities

1) Let us compare the nutritional profile of Quinoa and Millets.

Table 1: Comparison of macronutrient content of millet and quinoa

WHOLE GRAIN

 

(100grams of edible portion)

MOISTURE

 

( grams)

PROTEIN

 

(grams)

TOTAL FAT

 

(grams)

TOTAL DIETARY FIBRE (grams)CARBOHYDRATE

 

(grams)

ENERGY

 

(KJ)

QUINOA

10.43

13.11

5.50

14.66

53.65

1374

BAJRA MILLET

8.97

11.6

5.0

11.49

61.78

1456

JOWAR MILLET

9.01

9.97

1.73

10.22

67.68

1398

RAGI MILLET

10.89

7.16

1.92

11.18

66.82

1342

LITTLE MILLET

11.36

10.13

3.89

7.72

65.55

1388

Table 2: Comparison of mineral content of millet and quinoa

WHOLE GRAIN (100 grams of edibles portion)CALCIUM

 

(mg)

IRON

 

(mg)

MAGNESIUM (mg)PHOSPHOROUS (mg)POTASSIUM

 

(mg)

ZINC

 

(mg)

QUINOA

198

7.51

119

212

474

3.31

BAJRA MILLET

27.35

6.42

124

289

413

2.76

JOWAR MILLET

8.91

2.49

133

274

328

1.96

RAGI MILLET

364

4.62

146

210

443

2.53

LITTLE MILLET

16.06

1.26

91.41

130

105

1.82

Millet vs quinoa - are they different?

Table 3: Comparison of vitamin content of millet and quinoa

WHOLE GRAINS

 

(100 GRAMS OF EDIBLE PORTION)

THIAMINE

 

(B1)

(mg)

RIBOFLAVIN

 

(B2)

(mg)

NIACIN

 

(B3)

(mg)

ALPHA TOCOPHEROL EQUIVALENT

 

(mg)

PHYLLOQUINONES

 

(K1)

(mg)

QUINOA

0.83

0.22

1.70

2.08

2.00

BAJRA MILLET

0.25

0.20

0.86

0.24

2.85

JOWAR MILLET

0.35

0.20

0.86

0.06

43.82

RAGI MILLET

0.37

0.17

1.34

0.16

3.00

LITTLE MILLET

0.26

0.05

1.29

0.55

4.47

Reference – INDIAN FOOD COMPOSITION,National Institute Of Nutrition (ICMR -2017) BY T. Longvah, R.Ananthan, K.Bhaskarachary, K.Venkaiah.

As seen above both Quinoa and Millets are good sources of proteins, minerals like Calcium and Magnesium, Vitamins especially Vitamin B complex and Fiber.

2) Both Quinoa and Millets are Gluten-free grain. Gluten is a protein present in grains like Wheat, Barley, and Oats. People suffering from celiac disease must eliminate gluten foods from their diet. Certain individuals are gluten sensitive by nature for whom a small amount of gluten can upset their health. Also, few people follow an elimination diet for detox. Quinoa and Millets can be the best alternative for people who are looking for gluten free grains. (1) (2) (3) (4)

3) Quinoa and Millets are both good sources of antioxidants. The anti oxidants helps in removal of free radicals and protects heart health and over all health.

4) Both Quinoa and Millet have low Glycemic Index. Quinoa GI=53 ; Millets GI ranges from 48 to 70 for different millets. Due to good fiber and magnesium, they are good options for diabetic patients. (5) (6) (7) (8)

5) Both Quinoa and Millets can be grown in extreme climates with minimum water. Quinoa is native of South American countries, Canada and European Countries whereas Millets are widely grown in many states of India and Africa. (9) (10)

6) Both Quinoa and Millets can be cooked in the same way. Soak the grains in advance and wash it thoroughly before cooking. Malting and Sprouting these grains have proven to be beneficial. (11)

Millet vs quinoa- which is the best

Millets vs. Quinoa :The differences

Inspite of so many similarities Quinoa and Millets are different from each other. Let’s find out how?

1) Quinoa is tiny seeds of a tall herb called Chenopodium quinoa. It belongs to the Amaranthaceae family and related to spinach and beet whereas Millets are small-grained, annual, warm-weather cereals belonging to the Poaceae grass family.

2) Millets have a slightly nutty flavor that gets enhanced after roasting while Quinoa tastes more like cooked brown rice or oats. It’s very creamy in texture. If the saponin layer is not washed out properly it may taste bitter too.

3) Quinoa is round in shape it comes in white, black, and red color. Millets are slightly smaller than Quinoa and round in shape, they come in white, green, yellow, red and brown color.

4) One of the major difference is Price!! Yes, millets are more reasonable in price compared to Quinoa. For example, 1 kg millet is around rupees 70/- in India whereas 1 kg Quinoa is rupees 350/- approximately in India.

5) Millets have a goitrogenic property which makes it unsafe for consumption for people having hypothyroid or hyperthyroid or other thyroid related issues. Quinoa is completely safe for thyroid patients as it does not have goitrogens. Infact due to good protein content it is recommended for thyroid patients.

6) Nutritionally the major differences between Quinoa and Millet are their amino acid profiles. Quinoa is a complete protein whereas Millet is not. Quinoa provides all the 9 essential amino acids which our body cannot produce. Lysine is one of the essential amino acid which lacks in millets. Thus Quinoa is one of the best vegetarian protein sources which provides complete protein.

7) Quinoa is high in calcium and oxalates (in its outer covering) which may become responsible for kidney stone formation. So patients with kidney stones should avoid Quinoa whereas millets can be consumed safely. All millets except ragi can be consumed by patients suffering from kidney stones. It is always advisable to consult your physician or dietician before including new grains in your diet.

How much millet or quinoa is safe to consume?

Do not shift completely to one grain for a whole lifetime.Include a variety of grains, vegetables, and fruits to have a balance in the diet. You can include Quinoa or Millets 4-5 times in a week in one meal. Moderation is the key for any food. Millets are the best breakfast option. Soak millets overnight and consume it in the morning as breakfast like ragi balls, foxtail millet dosa, little millet idly, Jowar roti or it can be taken as beverage like ragi malt or bajra kheer. Quinoa can be conveniently taken with vegetables and salads.

Millet or Quinoa : Points to remember

  • Do not mix two or three millets for a cuisine.
  • When introducing for the first time take it slow. Start with small quantity like 1 tablespoon and increase gradually as your gut gets adjusted to it.
  • Always prefer unpolished and unadulterated grains over a fully polished one.
  • Keep yourself well hydrated while having millets or quinoa as both of them are high in fiber and can cause bloating and constipation or diarrhea.
  • Soak in prior and wash thoroughly before cooking Quinoa and Millets.

Bottom line

Quinoa and Millets are a great gluten-free option to include in our meal. Apart from being tasty, they are immensely nutritious with good Protein, Fiber, and minerals. Both of them come with their share of health benefits and side effects. Depending on your health goals, taste preferences and daily dietary requirements you can select any of them or both in your diet. Do not forget to keep alignment between your diet and nature around you. Prefer locally grown grains over imported ones. This not only helps you to build good immunity against local infections but it will help our farmers and boom country’s economy. Always consult your dietitian or Physician before including Quinoa or Millet if you have any persistent health issue.

Akhila Y

Akhila holds a Post graduate diploma in clinical nutrition and dietetics from Apollo health education and research foundation. She is into this field since a year.She worked as an intern at Apollo hospitals, Hyderabad. She is trained in both inpatient and outpatient dietetics department. She did nutritional assessment, diet planning and clinical counselling for individuals with Hypothy-roid, Diabetic mellitus, Hypertension and kidney dysfunctions at outpatient department in Apollo. Akhila was into agricultural biotechnology but destiny had different plans and her strong passion towards nutrition and food sciences got her into clinical nutrition field. Having a strong background in biochemistry and human genetics she acquired a deep knowledge in the statistics specific to whole body macronutrient and micronutrient metabolism and its relation to metabolic diseas-es.Coming from agricultural background she did research on how organic foods are beneficial than conventionally grown counterparts in terms of nutrients such as antioxidants.She always motivates to encourage locally grown food for better health. She doesn’t encourage usage of supplements and crash diets. She believes the blend of traditional food wisdom and modern nutritional science is necessary for healthy body and mind. She em-phasises more on health gain than just loosing weight.This can only be possible by Sustainable diets.She is all happy in to help her clients who are ready to lead healthy, happy and nourishing life through Wellness munch!

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8 Comments

  • Very good and informative article

    • Thanks. Keep reading and start practicing. Wish you a happily healthy life.

  • About “Do not mix two or three millets”
    These day we get multi millets mix, is this a safe to consume.

    • Various types of millet generally have similar nutritional profile but they are different in nature. Therefore it’s not advisable to consume multi millet mix on a regular basis.

  • Very informative article!!

  • Dr. Khadar Vali (the millet man) often says that millets can cure various chronic diseases like cancer, diabetics, both types of thyroid, BP etc.
    But in your article you are telling to avoid millets in both thyroid patients. Who and what is right to a common man?

    • Thanks Supriyo for reading the article.

      One grain or one vegetable or one fruit cannot fix any kind of hormonal imbalances or ailment. Millets are definitely good grain but so is our brown rice, single hand pound rice, wheat, buckwheat etc. You can include millets in moderation. Eating a Ragi idly , Jowar idly or Bajra roti once in a while won’t do much harm to thyroid. But if you eat them as breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner it will definitely give some trouble. Millets are high in fibre and certain millets show goitrogenic property. So don’t over do them. Include more local and seasonal vegetables and fruits in diet for balanced life.

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