Millet: gluten-free, native and healthy at the same time

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Overshadowed by quinoa and amaranth, millet is struggling to survive in Swiss dishes. But wrongly so, as the native superfood is packed with valuable nutrients.

3 superpowers

  • Ideal in a gluten-free diet
  • Prevents iron deficiency
  • Helps counter muscle tenseness

Where does millet come from?

Millet is one of our oldest grains – unleavened flat bread was baked from millet as long as 8,000 years ago. With the spreading popularity of the potato, millet declined in importance: in Europe, at least, as in Asia and Africa millet has been an important staple for thousands of years.

Effect

Meatless iron supplier

The particularly healthy aspect of millet is its high iron content, as iron is a vital trace element. It is needed for blood production and therefore for the body’s oxygen-delivery system.

Average figures for iron requirements show that women should consume 14 milligrams (mg) of iron per day, and men 10 mg of iron. A 100 gram portion of millet contains 7 mg iron. In comparison: 100 grams of beef contains 1.8 mg iron.

Magnesium for muscles

Magnesium – together with calcium – is responsible for maintaining normal muscle function. When the body is deficient in magnesium, an excess of calcium flows into the muscle cells, which can lead to cramps or muscle tension. This is why athletes often take magnesium supplements when experiencing cramps. But a varied diet also covers a person’s magnesium requirement.

Even if millet can’t quite match buckwheat, quinoa, oats and amaranth in terms of magnesium content, at 120 mg magnesium per 100 grams it boasts a respectable level and a 100 g portion is enough to cover around a third of a person’s daily requirement.

Nutritional value

Nutrients per 100 g Per portion (75 g)
Energy 360 kcal 70 kcal
Protein 10.6 g 7.95 g
Fat 3.9 g 2.9 g
Carbohydrates 68.8 g 51.6 g
Fibre 3.8 g 2.85 g
Magnesium 120 mg 90 mg
Calcium 9.5 mg 7.1 mg
Potassium 170 mg 127.5 mg
Vitamin C 0 mg 0 mg
Vitamin E 0.41 mg 0.3 mg

Millet is gluten-free

Millet contains almost as much protein as wheat but has one advantage: millet is gluten-free. Gluten is harmful to sufferers of coeliac disease as it damages the small intestine mucous membrane which can lead to long-term deficiency symptoms such as calcium deficiency.

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How it works

Versatile all-rounder

OWhether eaten as a whole grain, in flakes or ground, millet can be used in many dishes and is easily digestible. If you’re looking to increase your fibre intake, the answer's here: eat millet with vegetables and fruits!

Because it lacks gluten-forming proteins, millet cannot be used for baking on its own: to bake bread, millet is mixed with other grains.

During preparation, it is important to ensure that millet is never eaten raw, as it contains certain protein-damaging enzymes. And when cooked, the recipe options are endless: as porridge, a basis for salads, soup or risotto – the mild, nutty aroma lends itself to a wide array of dishes.

Recipe: Millet risotto

Millet risotto can be served as a side or mixed with vegetables for a main meal and is a good alternative to classic risotto.

Ingredients (for four persons)
  • 2 tbsp. rapeseed oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 300 g millet
  • 200 ml white wine
  • 900 ml stock
Method
  1. Fry the onions in the oil.
  2. Add the millet and briefly fry together.
  3. Deglaze with the white wine.
  4. Add the stock.
  5. Simmer the millet for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Tip
: Stir in grated cheese before serving. Garnish with fresh herbs.


Sources:

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