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Nutrition and Dietetics - Specific cereals and millets | 11th Nutrition and Dietetics : Chapter 2 : Cereals and Pulses

Chapter: 11th Nutrition and Dietetics : Chapter 2 : Cereals and Pulses

Specific cereals and millets

Common cereals and millets are

Specific cereals and millets

Common cereals and millets are


1. Rice

The major carbohydrate of rice is starch which is 72-75 percent. Protein content of rice is 7 percent.

Types of rice

The different types of rice are:

Long-Grain Rice: These grains of rice are about 4-5 times longer than they are wide, and don’t tend to clump together when cooked.

Medium-Grain Rice: About 2-3 times longer than their width, these types of rice can be chewy and tender, and often clump together.

Short-Grain Rice: Often mistaken for medium-grain rice, this variety is slightly longer than it is wide, and clumps together easily.

Parboiled Rice: This is a type of rice prepared in a unique way; rather than removing the outer hull to cook brown rice, the outer shell is left on while this rice is steamed and dried. Then the outer shell is taken off for a less clumpy and more nutrient-dense variety of rice.

Polished rice: Polished rice is rice that has been milled, which effectively strips away much of the protein and vitamin content. Traditional white rice is considered a polished rice, and therefore less nutrient-dense than other varieties.

Brown rice: Brown rice is rice in which the inner husk is not removed meaning that it hasn’t been milled and thus provides a much higher content of fiber and nutrients. It is unpolished whole grain which contains 100 percent bran, germ and endosperm constituents. Brown rice is nutritionally superior to hand pounded rice, under milled and polished rice because it has higher amounts of protein, dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Black rice: It has a very high concentration of anthocyanins, which gives it the black color. It is high in nutrients and relatively rare, this rice variety is slowly becoming popular in our Indian cuisine.

Basmati rice: Traditionally grown, found and used in India, for making biriyanis and pulaos, Basmati rice is a long-grain variety with a very delicate texture.

Sticky Rice: This is a rice variety primarily grown in Asia, also known as glutinous rice.

Red rice: Red rice is similar to black rice in that it is colored due to its unique anthocyanin content. This provides the red color to the husk, which can either be partially or fully removed before preparing this type of rice


Different rice products

Rice flour: Rice starch granules are quite small and are embedded in a protein matrix. It is used in puddings, ice creams and custard powder.

Rice bran: Bran includes several sublayers within the pericarp and the aleurone layer. Bran is a good source of antioxidants. Oil is taken from rice bran.

Broken rice: It is mainly used in making upma.

Parched rice products: This includes parched rice, puffed rice and flaked rice. They are easily digestible and hence good for children and old people. It adds variety in the diet. Rice flakes are a good source of iron.


2. Wheat

Wheat grains are ovoid in shape rounded in both ends. Wheat proteins are rich in glutamic acid and low in tryptophan. Whole wheat is a good source of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper and iron. Wheat is also a good source of fibre. Wheat is consumed mostly in the form of flour obtained by milling the grain while a small quantity is converted into breakfast foods such as wheat flakes and puffed wheat.

Wheat is milled to produce flour which is used to make a variety of products including bread across the world. Wheat contains a protein called gluten which is necessary for the basic structure in forming the dough system for bread, rolls and other

baked goods. Many of the foods we consume on a daily basis such as bread, cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, cereals, crackers, pasta, flour tortillas and noodles are all made from wheat flour.


Products of wheat

Whole wheat flour: It contains the finely ground bran, germ and endosperm of the whole kernel. It is used in making chapathis, puris, whole wheat bread, etc.

Wheat bran: Wheat Bran is a concentrated source of insoluble fibre and provides health benefits.

Wheat germ: It is a great source of vegetable protein, along with fiber and healthy fats. It is also a good source of vitamin E, magnesium, thiamine, folate, potassium and phosphorus.

Wheat rava: Broken wheat or wheat rava is used in the making of upma, bisi bela bath, pongal, etc.

Wheat flakes: They are used as breakfast cereals. They are packed with dietary fibre and most varieties are fortified with numerous essential vitamins and minerals.

Maida: It is also known as refined flour. The bran and germ are separated in making white flour or maida. Maida bakes uniformly into a loaf of greater volume and it is more bland in taste and more easily digested. The more the refinement, the lesser the nutritional quality.

Semolina: It is coarsely ground endosperm and its chemical composition is similar to that of white flour.

Macaroni products: These products are also called pasta. These products include macaroni, spaghetti, vermicelli and noodles


3. Oats

Oats are whole grains. Neither the bran nor germ is removed in different forms of oats and hence all forms like oat meal, oat flakes and oat bran are nutritious. In oats there are significant amounts of beta glucans, soluble fibre which reduces serum cholesterol.


4. Barley

Barley malt is used in bakery, processed foods and in vinegar and syrup making.


5. Millets

The major millet crops of India are:

Pearl Millet / Bajra /Kambu: India is the largest producer of Pearl millet. This millet is an excellent source of phosphorus which is essential for the structure of body cells. It has the same quantity of protein as wheat.

Finger Millet / Nachani / Kezhvaragu: It is also known as finger millet, ragi and red millet. It is well known in Southern India. This millet is rich in protein. The major proteins of ragi are prolamins and glutelins and they appear to be adequate in all essential amino acids. Ragi is rich in minerals especially calcium with good source of iron. The malted ragi flour can be used along with germinated green gram flour to formulate a high calorie-dense weaning food having excellent nutritional qualities. Ragi flour can be used with milk beverages.

Foxtail Millet /Kangni / Thinai: Foxtail millets are rich in iron and pest-free. Foxtail acts as anti pest agents which helps to store the delicate pulses like green gram.

Kodo millet/Kodra/Varagu: Kodo millet contains high amount of polyphenols which acts as an antioxidants. It is rich in fiber and low on fat.

Little Millet / Kutki / Saamai: The seeds are smaller in comparison to other millet such as foxtail millet. Little millet has high amount of iron content and fiber like Kodo.

Barnyard Millet / Jhangora / Kuthiravali: Barnyard millets are good source of fiber, phosphorous as well as calcium.

Sorghum /Jowar /Cholam: Sorghum is mostly cultivated due to its high fodder value. Sorghum is rich in nutrients with high amount of protein, unsaturated fats, fiber and minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, potassium and iron.


Health benefits of millets

The various health benefits of millets are:

Healthy heart: Millets are rich in magnesium which helps to lower the blood pressure and also decreases the chances of strokes, heart attacks and antherosclerosis.

Balance cholesterol level: The high amount of fiber found in Millet helps to lower the cholesterol.

Prevent diabetes: It helps to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes as it possesses an adequate amount of magnesium.

Assist digestion: Since millets are rich in fibre, it helps to enhance the gastrointestinal health and eradicate the ailments such as excess gas, constipation, cramping and bloating.

Prevent cancer: Research shows that fibre is the simplest way to prevent the outbreak of breast cancer in women. Since millets are rich in fiber, it can prevent occurance of breast cancer.

Detoxification: Millet contains antioxidants which help to neutralize the free radicals that can lead to cancer and also clears up the toxins from the liver and kidney.

Respiratory health: Research shows that Millet helps to improve the respiratory health and also prevent asthma.


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