Know the Difference Between Millets and Grains

Know the Difference Between Millets and Grains

Oct 09, 2023Radesh Boopathy

What are Millets?

Millets are small-seeded cereal crops that have been cultivated since ancient times. They have the resilience to grow in poor quality soil and even during drought. This made them a staple food among many communities, especially in the type of terrain and environmental conditions that would have been unsuitable for growing rice and wheat.

Types of Millets

There are several types of millets, but the most common ones are the following.

Bajra (Pearl Millet)

This variety of millet is grown across many parts of Africa and India. It is a nutrient-rich staple food.

Kangni (Foxtail Millet)

This millet is commonly cultivated in parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe. It is an excellent source of dietary fibre.

Ragi (Finger Millet)

Ragi is an important crop in certain regions of India and Africa. It has high nutritional value, and is especially rich in iron. This makes Ragi an essential part of people’s diet in the places where it is grown. The millet is now gaining widespread popularity.

Jowar (Sorghum Millet)

Jowar is a drought-resistant millet grown in India and Africa. It has been an essential part of culinary traditions since ancient times.

Health Benefits of Millets

Millets are an excellent source of every important nutrient, from carbohydrates to protein, vitamins, and minerals. This makes them an essential part of a balanced diet.

The complex carbohydrates in millets have a higher proportion of fibre, which promotes slow digestion. You feel full for longer, without cravings for snacks between meals. The carbohydrates steadily release energy, which helps prevent rapid spikes and dips in blood sugar levels. It makes you feel active throughout the day.

Due to their rich fibre content, millets have lower caloric density, which means you consume fewer calories even when you eat more. Fibre helps regulate your appetite while promoting better digestive health. Millets are also packed with protein, helping you incorporate a healthy proportion of the nutrient in your daily diet.

Millets are naturally gluten-free, making them an excellent choice for those who are allergic to gluten or suffer from celiac disease, a condition that requires them to strictly avoid gluten.

What are Grains?

Grains are edible seeds from cereal crops. They have been an essential food for thousands of years, across the world. They are rich in carbohydrates as well as protein, fibre, minerals, and vitamins, making them an important source of nutrition and energy.

Types of Grains


This grain is widely grown around the world. It is used in bread, pasta, cakes, chapatis, and more.


Rice is an important crop for a large percentage of the global population, especially Asians. There are many varieties of the grain, including brown, white, and wild rice.


Also known as maize, corn is a versatile crop used to prepare corn syrup, cornflakes, and even consumed by itself.


Oats are highly nutritious and fibre-rich grains used to make oatmeal, rolled oats, porridge, biscuits, and so on. They are an excellent source of energy.


Barley is used as a whole grain, besides being added to stews and soups.


Rye is a quintessential ingredient in traditionally baked bread, especially in Europe.


Quinoa is becoming popular among health-conscious people across the world, due to its rich protein content and nutritional benefits. It is increasingly used as a grain substitute in several dishes.


This grain is rich in protein. It is used in cooking and even added to flour for baking.

Grains are an important part of people’s daily diet. They can be eaten whole or in a processed form, but whole grains retain their nutrients and fibre, while refined grains may lack them to a great extent. Whole grains are increasingly being consumed across the world. Their versatility makes it possible to incorporate them in dishes ranging from bread and breakfast cereals to salad, rice, pasta, and more.

Health Benefits of Grains

Grains are rich in carbohydrates, which are an essential source of energy. They are also loaded with vital nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Whole grains like oats, brown rice, and whole wheat are especially rich in dietary fibre. They give a feeling of satiation, besides aiding in digestion, and helping regulate bowel movements. Consuming whole grains also helps regulate blood pressure, control blood sugar levels, and maintain good heart health.

What’s the Difference Between Millets and Grains?

  • Millets are nutritionally dense and have high protein content. Grains are also rich in nutrients, but the composition differs among the varieties
  • Millets can be substituted for rice and used in dishes like porridges and cereal. Today, even millet-based pasta, noodles, and convenience foods are available. Grains, on the other hand, are mostly used to prepare bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, chapatis, and rice dishes
  • Millets are naturally gluten-free while many varieties of grains, including wheat, rye, and barley contain gluten proteins. This makes millets the preferred choice of those with gluten intolerance

    Both millets and grains are staple foods with high nutritional importance in various forms of diets, but millets have complex carbohydrates and are gluten-free, which make them a better choice for those on a restricted diet.

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