In today’s era, there are many people who are including different millets in their diet instead of wheat and rice. The seeds of fodder grass crops like jowar, bajra, corni, kodo, ragi are called millets.
Bangalore-based Chokkalingam and his family have also been adding millets to their diet for the past several years. They say that these millets, which have been grown since ancient times, are more nutritious and beneficial for health than wheat and rice. “Besides nutrition, there is another main reason behind people adopting millets and that is water. Millets can be grown in much less water as compared to wheat and rice crops. They can be a good crop even in drought-prone areas,” he said.
Perhaps this is the reason that now not only in India but also in other countries people are looking for alternatives in millets instead of rice. Water crisis, depleting nutrition among people, gluten allergy, increasing cases of diabetes are many such reasons, due to which we need to once again think about our diet.
Today we are telling you about one such millets, which is making its mark not only among Indians but also among foreigners. Its name is Kodo.
According to a research report published in the Journal of Grain Processing and Storage in 2015, Kodo, which has been grown in India for almost 3000 years, is also known by names like Kodo, Kodra, Haraka, Vargu, Arikelu. At the same time, its botanical name is Paspalum scrobiculatum. The Kodo plant looks like a paddy plant. The special thing is that its cultivation requires much less water than paddy. In India, Kodo is grown in Maharashtra, North Karnataka, parts of Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, parts of West Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. Apart from India, it is mainly grown in the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and South Africa.
Somewhere there is a famine crop and somewhere sugar free rice.
The history of Kodo is many years old and apart from India, it is also a part of people’s food in other countries. Kodo is a grain grown mainly in tropical Africa. It has been one of their main cereals for the tribals. It is also very easy to grow in places with less water. It is said that even on land where cultivation of other crops is not possible, you can cultivate Kodo. Kodo is grown as a perennial crop in the forests of West Africa and there it is known as a famine food.
In the olden times, whenever there was a famine and wheat and paddy could not be cultivated, in such a situation, these fodder grass crops became the support for the people. Therefore it will not be wrong if Kodo is also called ‘grain of famine’. Along with this, many people also call it ‘poor people’s rice’. Because it looks like small rice. In Asia and Africa, it is eaten by the common people in different ways. At the same time, in western countries it is used as food for animals and birds. However, looking at its nutrition, now many foreigners have started including it in their food as well.
The demand for Kodo in the international market has increased in the last few years. This is being known as ‘Sugar Free Rice’ and hence is now being served in food outlets and hotels as well. This folk song about Kodo is very popular in rural areas of India:
Take away the disease by eating the rice of Kodo Kutki.
This life is a beautiful shadow.
Hi Kodo Kutki Ke Bhat, Chakoda ki Bhaji / The amount in my mind is getting away.
Madhu Moh-Moh-Moh SP should not be patient…”
Why Kodo is a ‘Superfood’
According to Dr. Khadar Ali of Mysore, popularly known as the ‘Millet Man of India’, Kodo is included in the positive grains (Siridhanya). Dr. Khadar is not only working on millets in India for the past many years, leaving his substantial job from abroad, but is also making people aware. After doing his PhD on steroids from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, he also worked with a company in the US.
Their aim is to bring people back to their roots so that today’s generation is as healthy as our earlier generations lived. Today, those people who come to him with their diseases, he advises them to make changes in their eating habits. He asks them to include five grains in their diet, including Kodo.
According to him, these are positive grains, which have medicinal properties and can protect people from many diseases. According to him, any food that takes longer to break down glucose and fructose to be absorbed by the blood is healthy. Where ragi takes 2 hours, millets takes 6 hours, while rice does it in just 45 minutes, increasing the risk of diabetes.
If we talk about the nutrition available in Kodo, then Khyati Prajapati, Nutritionist from Ahmedabad tells that Kodo is gluten-free. It is high in protein and fiber and low in fat. Kodo is very easy to digest. It contains a good amount of lecithin and it is very beneficial for our nervous system. Kodo contains niacin, B6, folic acid as well as minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc. When menstruation stops in women, then Kodo is also said to be good for their health.
Kodo is also very good for diabetic patients. Also, if someone wants to lose weight, then they can also include Kodo in the diet. Khyati especially advises women to include Kodo in their diet. They say that it contains all the necessary micronutrients which are nutritious for women.
Demand is increasing in foreign countries as well
Where in India for some time, the government has started looking into the production of many coarse and small grain cereals like Kodo. At the same time, many startups and food outlets are also taking their products to the people. Shalini Santosh Kumar, who runs her own startup, Early Foods in Pune, says that after the birth of her son, she was looking for nutritious and chemical-free food options for him. But they were surprised to learn that there are very few healthy and safe options for children’s food and drink. Shalini was looking for something that uses grains as it is a superfood. Doctors also recommend that it must be included in the diet of the child. But there were only preservative-laden options in the name of baby food in the market.
In such a situation, she started her own startup by doing research herself, through which she is making nutritious food for children and mother. She said that she also uses Kodo in many of her products. Because Kodo provides many types of nutrition and it is effective in many diseases. She is making porridge and biscuits from Kodo. The demand for their products is increasing not only in India but also in other countries.
Shalini said that they launched their products in North America in April 2021 and they are getting good response continuously. Till now she has completed more than 3500 orders. She says that Miletus is in demand everywhere today. Not only in India but also in foreign countries, women want to feed such healthy things to their children, but there is no availability in the market. She is happy that she is able to provide food made from healthy grains like Kodo Millet for children since childhood.
You can visit https://earlyfoods.com/ to see their products.
Editing – G N Jha
Also read: ‘Makhana’ eaten during Navratri fast is a treasure of health, foreigners also considered super food
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