Living with blood sugar problems or gluten-intolerances can make life difficult — especially when it comes to the food you’re able to eat. Luckily, there’s a delicious ingredient you can stock up on to help ease both of those issues while chowing down.
Millet is an ancient grain that’s been around for thousands of years, but you still might not be aware of just how beneficial adding it to your diet can be. First off, it’s completely gluten-free, so those with intolerances can use it as a yummy replacement for other gluten-heavy ingredients. According to the USDA, it’s also a great source for plenty of fiber, protein, and minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, folate, and iron.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the perks packed inside this nutty-tasting grain. For those with blood sugar issues like type 2 diabetes, one study showed that eating 1/3 cup of millet each day can help lower post-meal blood sugar levels and decrease insulin resistance. Another study claimed that participants who added millet to their diets for 90 days were found to have lowered blood glucose levels and insulin concentrations, plus the added benefit of lower total cholesterol and triglycerides.
Millet is also rich in phenolic compounds, antioxidants that help ward off oxidative stress and promote healthy skin protection, speed healing, and anti-inflammatory properties. There are several types of millet, but they’ll all give you a hefty antioxidant boost.
Alright, now you’re probably wondering how you can actually prepare millet and include it in your daily meals. The whole grains can be used just like you would any other similar product, like quinoa or rice, for things like stir-fries or side dishes. You can find millet at your local grocery store or online ($15.58 for pack of 4, Walmart) and follow the instructions included on the bag.
Depending on how much water you use, it can be a pillowy base for grain bowls or a creamier, porridge-like consistency. The Kitchn recommends toasting the grains before you add the water to enhance the nutty flavor for an even more palate-pleasing bite. There are also millet flours available ($4.86, Walmart), which you can use as you would any other flour to add an extra nutritional punch to your baked goods.
Eat up and enjoy!
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This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.