Millet vs rice? Millet and rice belong to the whole grains food group, a staple plant-based diet that many people worldwide prefer. Grains are an affordable source of carbohydrates and many essential minerals and vitamins that are usually difficult to get on a plant-based diet. They also offer a small number of healthy fats and protein.
The debate of millet vs. rice has been going on since ancient times. Some people love millet, while others prefer rice. Both have their specific benefits. This article compares millet and rice and explores their differences.
Millet is an ancient grain grown mainly in Europe, Asia, and many parts of the world. It has a nutty and mild taste and can be used in several ways. Did I mention that millet can be used for human and animal food? You can cook and eat it as a side dish, use it in millet salad, add it to stews and soups, and more. In recent years, the popularity of millets has been increasing. Various types of millets are available, and foxtail millet is my favorite. You can also use foxtail millet or millet flour to replace other grains in specific recipes and food items. It is commonly used in traditional Asian dishes.
The following are the key benefits of millet consumption:
- Millet contains many essential amino acids that act as the building blocks of protein.
- Its low glycemic index makes it suitable for diabetic patients. Millet can also regulate the sugar level of blood with its high fiber content and non-starchy polysaccharides.
- With its phenolic compounds, e.g., ferulic acid and catechins, millet helps fight damaging oxidative stress.
- Cooked finger millet offers a good amount of daily needed calcium, which helps maintain bone health and muscle contractions.
- People who are gluten-free or have celiac disease can consume millet without worries as it has no gluten.
Rice is one of the ancient cereal grains that is grown in many countries around the world. It is a staple food with many types available, but regular white rice and brown rice are the primary varieties. Rice has a gentle, flowery taste and is often used as a side dish in stews, soups, and everyday meals. It is also considered a functional food. It has many health benefits when consumed regularly as a balanced diet.
The following are the key benefits of consuming rice:
- The manganese content of rice helps properly develop human metabolism and body.
- Rice has a lot of minerals and vitamins.
- It has ample plant compounds that lead to good health. Its lignans act as antioxidants and are effective against osteoporosis, breast cancer, and heart diseases.
- Ferulic acid is another powerful antioxidant in rice that can be effective for cancer and diabetes.
Millet vs rice: the Comparison
Now that you know about millet and rice's flavor, usage, and benefits, let’s move to the most exciting part – the comparison. Following are the key aspects that highlight the differences between millet and rice:
Carbohydrates are the primary source of calories in grains. When comparing millet vs. rice for weight loss, Kodo millet is slightly higher in calories, with 378 calories per 100 grams, compared to 360 calories per 100 grams of rice. However, rice and millet can and should be part of your diet. Depending on what type of millet you eat, always check the calorie amount if you are on a calorie-restricted diet or trying to maintain a healthy weight.
When it comes to carbohydrates, rice has a relatively higher content. It has 79.3 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams which is 8% higher than millet, which contains 72.8 grams per 100 grams. Rice also contains more sugar. Lastly, the dietary fibre content also varies for both grains. Millet is a better source of fiber, with 8.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams, which is excellent for the digestive system. Rice only offers 3.3 grams per 100 grams portion.
Rice, millet, and other grains and grain products are essential plant-based protein sources. As compared to rice, millet offers about 40% more protein. Per 100 grams, millet contains 11 grams of protein. Rice, on the other hand, has 6.6 grams of protein per 100 grams. Millet provides high proteins.
Like most other grains, rice and millet are low in fat. The fats in them are primarily unsaturated, healthy good fats. They are naturally trans-fat-free and cholesterol-free. Total fat in rice and millet are as follows:
- Rice: 0.6 grams per 100 grams
- Millet: 4.2 grams per 100 grams
Regarding saturated fats, millet contains 71% higher saturated fats. Millet contains 0.7 grams, while rice contains 0.2 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams.
Minerals play a crucial role in helping our body to function correctly. Minerals are called micronutrients because we only need a small amount of them. Millet is a better source of selenium and calcium as compared to rice. Conversely, rice contains more zinc, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, iron, and copper. Rice and barnyard millet both have the same amount of fluoride.
Like minerals, vitamins are called micronutrients because we only need a small amount, but they are valuable for several body processes. When comparing vitamin content in proso millet and rice, both grains offer higher amounts of different types. Millet contains a higher amount of vitamins E, B5, and A. Rice, on the other hand, has a higher amount of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and K. Both rice and millet contain the same amount of vitamins C, D, and B12.
The Bottom Line
Millet and rice are often pitted against each other. Both are prevalent types of grains and offer unique nutritional value. Some prefer millet, while others love rice. No one option is better than the other. A carefully-planned diet of millet and rice is the key to staying fit and having a healthy lifestyle. While rice and millet have certain advantages, removing one option from your diet is not recommended. You can certainly use the option you like more, but having both grains in their proper amounts is much better for a healthy mind and body.