What is millet?

20 Apr 2021 • 1 min read


Searching for a grain that’s full of goodness, cheap and easy to sneak into various dishes? Consider adding millet to your next shopping list...

First things first, what is millet?

Millet is a cereal that belongs to the grass family. It’s grown all around the world, but especially in Asia and Africa. In fact, it’s actually one of the oldest cereals to be cultivated!1

While it’s classified as a type of seed, millet can be used in place of whole grains such as quinoa and brown rice in cooking. Pearl millet is the most popular and has brilliant nutritional value, but various types are available.

Millet is small and round in shape. When cooked, it goes soft and fluffy. Wondering what it tastes like? Many people compare it to corn yet with a slightly nuttier flavour. It’s also great at absorbing the flavours of sauces and dressings.2

Millet nutrition profile

Millet is a starchy grain and a great source of energy thank to its high carbohydrate profile. When it comes to nutrition, millet is also:3

  • A good source of fibre and protein
  • Contains numerous vitamins and minerals, including phosphorus, iron, folate, and magnesium
  • Finger millet is one of the best cereal sources of calcium, which is needed to maintain normal bones and muscle function.

Millet also contains antioxidants. These are types of compounds which can help protect your body’s cells against harmful free radicals.4

Who is millet suitable for?

Millet is an excellent cereal for anyone to incorporate into a healthy diet. What’s more, it’s entirely gluten-free, making it suitable for celiacs.5

Millet is thought to contain small numbers of antinutrients. These are types of compounds which can inhibit your body’s absorption of certain nutrients when consumed in high amounts.6 However, as part of a balanced diet it is unlikely to experience adverse effects.

How to include more millet in your diet

Like the sound of supporting your fibre, protein, and carbohydrate intake in a healthy and gluten-free way? Mix up your whole grains by cooking up some millet and:7

  • Adding it to your porridge oats with some fresh or frozen berries
  • Using it to replace rice or noodles to accompany a veggie stir fry or curry
  • Bulking out soups or stews
  • Swapping it into salads in place of things like quinoa or couscous

You can also buy millet in flour form and use it in cookies, muffins, or bread recipes. Remember, if you’re cooking whole millet grains, the rough ratio should be one cup of millet to two cups of water. It’s also a good idea to soak it in water overnight to help reduce its levels of antinutrients.8

Shop for magnificent millet in our rice, pulses, and grains range.

Last updated: 5 April 2021



Author: Andrea DobronszkiSenior Regulatory Affairs Associate

Joined Holland & Barrett: Aug 2020

Master’s Degree in Food Science and Technology Engineering and BSc in Dietetics

Andrea started her career as a clinical dietitian and lecturer at a university hospital, managing the dietetic treatment of patients with various diseases, and giving lectures in nutrition for medical students.

Later she worked as a Product Developer at a sport nutrition company where she developed food supplements and fortified foods, and ensured that the products complied with the relevant regulations.

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