Paspalum scrobiculatum, commonly called Kodo millet or Koda millet or Kodari is an annual grain that is grown primarily in Nepal and also in India, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and in West Africa from where it originated. It is grown as a minor crop in most of these areas, with the exception of the Deccan plateau in India where it is grown as a major food source. It is a very hardy crop that is drought tolerant and can survive on marginal soils where other crops may not survive, and can supply 450–900 kg of grain per hectare.Kodo millet has large potential to provide nourishing food to subsistence farmers in Africa and elsewhere.
The kodo millet, also known as cow grass, rice grass, ditch millet, Native Paspalum, or Indian Crown Grass originates in tropical Africa, and it is estimated to have been domesticated in India 3000 years ago. The domestication process is still ongoing. In southern India, it is called varaku or kovaraku.
Ragi and Kodo though millets are not the same. However, these both varieties are gluten free, rich in fibre, they belong to different species. While it is easy to cook ragi and Kodo needs to be soaked for couple of hours for better digestion.
Being naturally rich in fiber, millets also help to reduce problems like constipation, flatulence, bloating and stomach cramping. Kodo millets are rich in B vitamins, especially niacin, B6 and folic acid, as well as the minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc. The phosphorus content in kodo millet is lower than any other millet and its antioxidant potential is much higher than any other millet and major cereals.
For those who are health conscious and are wary about what they eat, experts suggest that millets should be a part of their daily regular diet. Millets are nutritious, non-glutinous (non-sticky) and are not acid-forming foods, thus making them very easy to digest.
Kodo millet is an indigenous cereal of India and is grown today in Uttar Pradesh in the North india and Kerala and Tamil nadu in the South india.
It is a traditional food which closely resembles rice and helps in weight loss.It is easily digestible and is rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants which help in preventing different lifestyle diseases.
Kodo millet is also called as:
Kodon in hindi
Kodara in Sanskrit
Harka in kannada
Varagu in tamil and malayalam
Article or arika in telugu
Kodra in Marathi, Gujarati and Punjabi,Kodri in Gujarati
Kodo in Bengali.
Kodo millet is a nutritious grain and a good substitute to rice or wheat. The grain is composed of 11% of protein, providing 9 grams/100 gm consumed. It is an excellent source of fibre at 10 grams (37-38%), as opposed to rice, which provides 0.2 gm fiber/100 gm, and wheat, which provides 1.2gm fibre/100 gm. An adequate fibre source helps combat the feeling of hunger. Kodo millet contains 66.6 gm of carbohydrates and 353 kcal per 100 gm of grain, comparable to other millets. It also contains 3.6 gm of fat per 100 gm. It provides minimal amounts of iron, and minimal amounts of calcium.
A cup of millet has about: 6.11 grams of protein. 2.26 grams of fiber. 76.6 milligrams of magnesium. Kodo millets also contain high amounts of polyphenols, an antioxidant compound.
Kodo millet is a highly nutritious grain and an excellent substitute to rice and wheat.
It is very easy to digest
It contains a high amount of lecithin and is excellent for strengthening the nervous system.
Kodo millets are rich in B vitamins, especially niacin, B6 and folic acid, as well as the minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc.
Iron: 1.7 mg
Vitamin B-6: 0.15 mg
Calcium: 35 mg
Vitamin B-2: 0.09 mg
Vitamin B-3: 2 mg
The phosphorus content in kodo millet is lower than any other millet and its antioxidant potential is much higher than any other millet and major cereals.
Kodo millets contain no gluten and is good for people who are gluten intolerant.
Health benefits of Kodo millets:
(1) Regular consumption of kodo millet is very beneficial for postmenopausal women suffering from signs of cardiovascular disease, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.All Millets, including kodo millet, are low on calories and fat. 100 grams of kodo millet has just 3.6 grams of fat.
Also, research says that eating millets may help reduce the total blood cholesterol levels and promote healthy gut bacteria.
(2) Weight management : Millets makes a person feel fuller faster, thus preventing overeating and eventually helps in healthy weight management.Kodo millet can be an excellent choice for those who want to lose weight.The abundance of protein in kodo millet may help you build muscles.
Moreover, a study has found that people who had meal replacement with kodo millet showed a significant reduction in body weight and fat .
Therefore, including kodo millet in your regular diet might assist in weight loss.
Kodo millet can be an excellent choice for those who want to lose weight. The abundance of protein in kodo millet may help you build muscles.
Therefore, including kodo millet in your regular diet might assist in weight loss.
(3) Being naturally rich in fiber, millets also help to reduce problems like constipation, flatulence, bloating and stomach cramping.
(4) Kodo millet is good for diabetics.Millet is a good choice for diabetes due to its high fiber content. Fiber helps slow digestion. As a result, sugar enters the bloodstream slowly, lessening the risk of a blood sugar spike.
Kodo millets increase insulin sensitivity for people suffering with diabetes and also help to control the sugar levels for non-diabetics. With a plethora of health benefits to offer like minimized risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, it is certainly food for diabetics.
Millet is lower on the glycemic index (GI) than many other grains.That means it raises your blood sugar slowly and gradually instead of in quick spikes. High-fiber, low-GI foods keep blood sugar steady, lower cholesterol, and help you lose weight. All of these things are helpful for people with diabetes.
Kodo Millet is Gluten-Free which is great for people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. It has a low Glycemic Index, thus helping in Sugar Control.
Since rice is not advisable for diabetics, kodri is a better option. Full of fibre and iron, it tastes equally good. In fact, you could try replacing rice with kodri in your regular diet to keep a check on blood sugar levels. Consuming millets helps in controlling the blood glucose level and also helps in dermal wound healing process with the help of antioxidants.
(5) Millets are a good source of magnesium which is known to be promoting heart health. It helps to reduce blood pressure.
Reducing your blood pressure and optimizing your circulatory system is one of the best ways to protect your cardiovascular health.
(6) Improves Digestion:
Kodo millets are incredibly high in dietary fiber and gluten-free.Hence, they can improve your digestion and prevent constipation.
Besides, research reveals that eating high-fiber foods may help relieve the symptoms of piles . Furthermore, the plant lignans of millets are prebiotic fiber. They are fermented in our intestinal gut by bacteria and converted to animal lignans. These animal lignans have been shown to protect against certain chronic diseases.
(7) Millets are rich in phenolic acids, phytates and tannins which are the anti-nutrients and help in reducing the risk of colon and breast cancer.Millets also have linoleic acid which contains anti-tumor activity.
The antioxidants found in millet have beneficial impact on neutralizing the free radicals, which can cause cancer and clean up other toxins from body such as those in kidney and liver.
It also helps in reducing joints and knee pain and helps in regularizing the menstruation cycle in woman.
(8) Rich In Antioxidants
A high-fat diet increases oxidative stress in the brain. It damages our brain cells, which may lead to dementia.
This disease develops a lot of symptoms, including memory loss, depression, and sleep disorders.
Interestingly, kodo millet has an impressive amount of antioxidants, such as polyphenols.
Research reveals that these antioxidants protect our body from oxidative stress, which may help prevent dementia .
Side effects of Kodo Millet:
Millets are advised in moderate amounts because excessive consumption can lead to adverse effects as the cereals contain substances that interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland. Millets can cause delayed digestion due to their slow digestibility as they are high in fibre.
Kodo millet can be poisonous if they get infected by fungus like Aspergillus flavus . These fungi produce toxins that may cause Kodua poisoning .
Therefore, consuming these infected Kodo millets can cause nausea, depression, vomiting, and unconsciousness .
How to use:
Avoid consuming Kodo millets if you are having constipation as it may aggravate the problem. Make sure to clean it thoroughly to do away with pollutants, if any. Always soak Kodo millets for a minimum of 2 to 3 hours, before cooking for better absorption of nutrients and digestion.
Thoroughly wash and soak Kodo millet for 6-8 hours. Once soaked, steam it and allow it to cool.
Soak Kodo millets for 6 hours at least.
Soaking Kodo millets overnight ensures that you break down the phytic acid in them. Phytic acid impairs the absorption of the good guys -- minerals like iron, zinc and calcium and makes the digesting millets much easier on your tummy. So don't forget to soak millets overnight.
Kodo millets can be used for traditional as well as novel foods. Unprocessed or processed grain can be cooked whole or ground to flour. It can be cooked as rice and also a variety of dishes like idli, dosa, pongal, khichdi, snacks, porridge, cookies, noodles etc. Due to its similarity to rice in terms of taste and texture, it can easily replace rice in a wide variety of recipes.Kodri khichdi is famous in Gujarat.
Lot many different recipes can be prepared from Kodri.
Information compiled by:
Dr. Bhairavsinh Raol