RICE vs MILLETS
Traditional rice varieties of the country are slowly making a comeback in our diets. They offer a huge array of health benefits like they prevent unnecessary oxidation, are good anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and are, in most cases, beneficial for the farmers to grow. Millets are also a store house of various nutrients and minerals that are good for variety of things like preventing cancer, improving digestion and help fight diabetes.
About Traditional Rice: Traditional varieties of rice are indigenous to various places and are mostly found in and around those places. Kashmir, alone, is home to 32 varieties of traditional rice which cannot be grown anywhere else. Growing these rice varieties in a specific type of soil, temperature and altitudes gives them unique flavor, aroma and medicinal properties. Yes, these rice varieties have a lot of medicinal properties, more than any other food product. Traditional rice is mostly pigmented and can have colors like black, red, purple etc. Now, these pigments are actually what enhances the qualities and separates traditional rice varieties from white and, even, brown rice. Chemicals responsible for pigmentation are called anthocyanins and they are rich in antioxidants and anticarcinogens. They contain 2-3 times the amount of Zinc and Iron than the white rice variety and that’s why they energize, strengthen and regenerate the body.
Which one is better?
Both the grains have benefits that make our body better and strengthen our digestive tract and immunity. For instance, Millets and Rice are gluten free, so are perfect for people suffering from celiac disease. They are good for soil as neither requires pesticides or insecticides to grow. However, there are some factors where the two differ from each other and that’s what makes one of them slightly better than the other.
Factor 1: Medicinal Properties
Pigmented traditional varieties of rice have so many benefits ranging from improving eyesight & vocal clarity, restoring humors in the body, curing boils, giving a cooling sensation to the body. Extracts from these varieties can be used as energy drinks or in treating chronic gastric problems, jaundice etc. They are especially beneficial to pregnant women/new mothers and children as they improve their nutrition. They also have a chemical called oryzenol that controls cholesterol level in our body. Low sugar content also makes them ideal for diabetics. Free radical scavenging helps keep the amount of oxidative free radicals low in the blood, which gives another boost to the body’s overall health.
Winner: Traditional Rice
Factor 2: Nutritional Content
Traditional rice do have higher energy, carbohydrates, Zinc and Iron in them. Rich source of thiamine, riboflavin and 8 out of 9 essential amino acids.
Factor 3: Taste
This is one the most important parameters of all as people tend to bank more towards the food items that tend to be tastier. Traditional rice, no doubt, are full of aroma and flavor owing to the vast variety of flavonoids present in them. Millets, on the other hand, tend to be a little bland and lack much flavor and aroma which is one of the biggest reasons for reluctance in masses to include them in their diet. After all, the food we eat has to satisfy our taste buds as much as it has to satisfy the nutritional needs of the body.
Winner: Traditional Rice