Nutritional profile & health benefits of barnyard millet (Jhangora)

Nutritional profile & health benefits of barnyard millet (Jhangora) Hilans

Indian barnyard millet (Jhangora) is a wholesome diet package and is also rich in fibre and minerals. Its properties like Low carbohydrate, low glycemic Index and gluten-free grains add additional benefits to various health issues like obesity and diabetes. This article highlights the importance of Jhangora in terms of its Nutritional Values and Pharmacological Benefits.


Millets, in due course of time, have gained popularity among the mainstream population of Asia and the western world and its overall production have skyrocketed in yesteryears.

Barnyard millet is a minor millet crop, which also has hit the chart. Barnyard millet belongs to the genus Echinochloa, which comprises two major species, Echinochloa esculenta and Echinochloa frumentacea. Both the species are acceptable for human consumption and animal feed. Despite its nutritional and agronomic benefits, barnyard millet has remained an under-utilized crop.

A special feature of most millets, apart from rich sources of crude fibre, crude protein and antioxidants, is that they are less susceptible to biotic and abiotic stresses and therefore, need less care as a standing crop in the field. Apart from basic nutrients barnyard millet grain contains more micronutrients (iron and zinc) than other major cereals Echinochloa frumentacea is also known as Indian barnyard millet, Sawa millet, Japanese millet, billion-dollar grass or Jhangora (in Hills of Uttarakhand). Other common names to identify these seeds include "Oodalu" in Kannada, "Bhagar" in the state of Maharashtra and "KuthiraiVaali" in Tamil Nadu.

Jhangora has evolutionarily modified itself to adapt to both warm and temperate conditions and therefore possesses a rich gene pool for stress tolerance and other abiotic stresses. The understanding molecular mechanism behind this inherited capability to tolerate stresses could be a helpful tool in developing modified cultivars of Barnyard Millet or other agronomic crops by transfer of the interest of the genes. 



Nutritional Values and Pharmacological Benefits

  1. Low glycemic index: facilitates formation of resistant starch and therefore reccomneded for patients with CVS disease and diabetes mellitus.
  1. Gluten free food: therefore, healthy for people, with celiac disease, intolerant to gluten.
  1. High fibre content: prevents constipation, bloating and cramping.
  1. Rich in micronutrients: like Mg, thus lessens effects of migraine and cardiac attack. Phytic acid help in over castting cholesterol.
  1. Abundant source of phenolic acids and tannins, phenolics may be cogent in the interception of cancer tenderness and progression in vitro.
  1. Rich in Anti-oxidants, like Ferulic acid: which act as free radical scavenger and therefore possess anti inflammatory activity, and plays role in anti-aging and metabolic syndrome. 
  1. Seeds extracts contains proteins, that are anti-microbial and inhibit growth of Rhizoctonia solani, Macrophomina phaseolina, and Fusarium oxysporum.

Consumption Trend

During religious fasts and festivals in India, Jhangora seeds are cooked and consumed, therefore known as Vrat Ke Chawal, in Hindi (USDA, NRCS). The millet is small and spherical in size, and white in colour. Taste is accepted among all age groups and is highly economical. Traditionally the grains are given to the patients to medicate maladies like biliousness and constipation. As compared to other millets, Jhangora is the highest flavonoidconcentration in its seeds and its slow digestibility makes it a natural designer food. According to WHO, about 422 million people worldwide have diabetes, the majority living in low-and middle-income countries, and 1.6 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes each year, barnyard millet could become an ideal food. Seeds/ grains are gluten-free and therefore could be consumed by everyone.

In many states of India (like Kerala,Karnataka, Assam, Uttrakhand, Himanchal) many various dishes from the use of barnyard millets, are already popular like Idli, Dosa, paniyaram, Idiappam, Papad, Halwa, Roti, Puttu, Upma, Adai, Khakra, Kheer, Sweet Kolulattai, Adhirasam, Kesari, Sweet Adai, Vadai, Pakoda, Ribbon Pakoda, kolukattai, Merukku, Thattu Vadai, Vadagam etc

Hilans Millets are an excellent source of nutrients Protein, Calcium, Iron, and minerals.

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