Millet is not really one single plant, but rather a group of plants that produce small grains. The kind normally sold as food in the United States is proso, or common millet. Other millets sometimes used for food include foxtail millet, pearl millet, and finger millet. Millets are gluten-free grains. Although they are not very closely related to wheat, they have a similar protein content, about 11 percent by weight.
Like many other grains, millets are a good source of B vitamins, including niacin, B6, and folic acid, as well as the minerals calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and zinc.
In recent studies, a protein extract from a Korean foxtail millet appeared to effectively increase the amount of adiponectin, a protein hormone that modulates a number of metabolic processes, including glucose regulation and fatty acid catabolism.
Mice that were fed a millet extract had higher levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol, and lower levels of blood glucose than those that were not. While this research is very preliminary, and the millet extract was highly concentrated, it raises the possibility that millet may have a role to play in fighting insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.Nutritional Facts
One-half cup of cooked millet provides 143 calories, 28.4 g carbohydrate, 4.2 g protein, 1.2 g fat, 1.5 g dietary fiber, 1.6 mg niacin, 23 mcg folic acid, 74.5 mg potassium, 2.5 mg sodium, 120 mg phosphorus, 3.5 mg calcium, 0.75 mg iron, 53 mg magnesium, and 1.09 mg zinc.