Climate Smart Foods: Nutritional Composition and Health Benefits of Millets

Rashmi Singh

KVK Sonbhadra, Acharya Narendra Deva University of Agriculture and Technology, Ayodhya-224229, India.

Ritu Singh

Jagrani Hospital, Kalyanpur, Lucknow-226022, India.

Prabhat Kumar Singh

KVK Sonbhadra, Acharya Narendra Deva University of Agriculture and Technology, Ayodhya-224229, India.

Shivangi *

KVK Bijnor, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University of Agriculture and Technology, Meerut-250110, India.

Omkar Singh *

Department of Soil Science, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University of Agriculture and Technology, Meerut-250110, India.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Millets are a diverse group of small-seeded grasses that have served as staple cereal crops in many parts of Asia and Africa for thousands of years. The major millets include finger millet, foxtail millet, pearl millet, proso millet, barnyard millet, little millet, and kodo millet. Millets are highly resilient crops that can thrive in arid zones and marginal farming conditions where rainfall is limited. As climate change increases drought pressures globally, millets are gaining renewed interest for their adaptability. Millets also possess highly favorable nutritional attributes. The grains are rich in protein with balanced amino acids, dietary fiber, polyphenols, vitamins, and essential minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium. The majority of millets have a low glycemic index, which helps regulate blood glucose levels. These properties give millets functional advantages over more commonly consumed cereals such as wheat and rice. This review provides a detailed analysis of the proximate composition, nutritional profile, and potential health benefits of major millets. Evidence from animal studies and clinical trials regarding the role of millets in diabetes management, cardiovascular health, cancer prevention, gut health, anemia reduction, and bone health are examined. Millets appear beneficial for weight management and obesity control Research also indicates promising avenues for millets in gluten-free diets, enhancing nutrition security for the poor, and addressing malnutrition concerns globally. However, more human studies on bioavailability, optimal dosages, food product development, and farming practices are warranted to further realize the immense potential of these “Smart Foods”. In conclusion, millets are climate-smart, nutrient-dense grains that can play a pivotal role in holistic approaches to tackle food insecurity, malnutrition, and the escalating rates of chronic diseases worldwide. Their diverse nutritional and therapeutic properties warrant the resurrection of millets as invaluable crops for the present and future.

Keywords: Climate change, glycemic index, malnutrition, millets, nutrition security

How to Cite

Singh, R., Singh , R., Singh , P. K., Shivangi, & Singh , O. (2023). Climate Smart Foods: Nutritional Composition and Health Benefits of Millets. International Journal of Environment and Climate Change, 13(11), 1112–1122.


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