What is Millet Flour?
Millet flour, like many alternatives to wheat-based flour, has grown in popularity in the past few years. With so many of us trying to eat more whole foods, exploration of less conventional grains has boomed.
Millet is considered an ancient grain which means it has remained unchanged for centuries and is still packed full of nutrients and vitamins, unlike the overly refined grains of the modern world. The high levels of both macro and micronutrients in the flour made from millet grains make it a popular choice for those wanting to live a healthier life.
With all of these qualities, you may already want to head over to our flour section and browse the millet flours we have on offer. If we’ve not convinced you yet, read on and find out what exactly millet flour is and how it can benefit you and your family.
What is millet flour?
So, you’ve read that this flour has many nutritional benefits and is an ancient grain, but what is millet flour made from? Millet flour is the ground grains of the millet crop. Millet comes from the grass family and is quite similar to wheat in both texture and in appearance. Millet flour has a nuttier and sweeter flavour than wheat-based flour, flavours that add to the baked goods it is used in.
Millet flour is light in texture and can be used in many products, including pancakes, bread, muffins, and cakes. It is a versatile ingredient, though is generally paired with other flours in recipes. Millet flour is packed full of nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants and contains lots of fibre and protein.
Millet flour health benefits
Now you know what millet flour actually is, we’ve rounded up a few of the amazing health benefits that come with consuming this fantastic wholegrain. Read on to find out more.
Good source of antioxidants
Millet flour is a fantastic source of compounds with antioxidant properties, such as catechins and ferulic acid. These compounds protect the body from oxidative stress which has been linked to cancer and other chronic illnesses.
Ferulic acid works to protect the skin, heal wounds and has anti-inflammatory properties, whereas catechins can protect the body from heavy metals.
Darker millet varieties tend to contain more antioxidants. These varieties include finger and foxtail millet. You can find these varieties in flour form, as both mixed and single grain flours like finger millet flour. Australia is home to a booming millet flour industry and so finding these varieties shouldn’t be too difficult.
Could reduce cholesterol levels
Millet has high levels of soluble fibre which produces a substance in the gut that can trap fat and cholesterol. Along with this, millet protein may help to contribute to lower cholesterol levels and, by extension, good heart health.
Could help regulate blood sugar levels
Being rich in fibre and non-starchy polysaccharides, both indigestible carbs, means millet can control blood sugar levels. This is particularly good for people who have type 2 diabetes as the grain can help them to regulate their blood sugar.
The grain also has a low glycaemic index and can help to reduce insulin resistance, which can be a marker of type 2 diabetes.
Improves digestive health
As mentioned, millet contains high levels of fibre which can contribute to good digestive function. Containing both soluble and insoluble fibre means there are a number of ways millet flour can support the digestive system.
The insoluble fibre in millet is ‘prebiotic’ meaning it contributes to good gut health by supporting bacteria in the digestive system. The soluble fibre in the grain aids in trapping and removing cholesterol from the body.
Millet flour uses
Millet flour has a variety of uses in baked goods and is favoured for its light texture and nutty flavour. Take a look at some of the uses and find answers to questions like is millet flour gluten-free? And what can I bake with millet flour?
Is millet flour gluten-free?
Millet is a completely gluten-free grain, making it a safe choice for those who suffer from coeliac disease, or with gluten intolerances. Millet flour is used, in combination with other gluten-free flour, in lots of gluten-free baked goods and products.
Though the grain itself is gluten-free, it is always best to check the label and ensure that the millet product you choose is labelled as such. This is because many grains can suffer cross-contamination with gluten-containing grains, making them unsuitable for consumption for those with sensitivities to gluten.
Baking with millet flour
Millet flour can be used in a variety of flour containing recipes. Millet flour has a similar protein structure to flour containing gluten which makes it a good substitution, however, it is recommended that millet flour is used in combination with other flours when substituting wheat flour.
Millet flour adds more flavour to the recipes it is used in and is favoured for adding corn-like, nutty flavours to bread, pancakes, and muffins.
Other millet uses
Millet is an incredibly versatile grain and when not flour, it can be used in a variety of other ways. Millet can be used to make beer, particularly for those sensitive to gluten. It can also be used in cereals and porridges, and as a crunchy, wholegrain snack.
Potential negative effects
Millet flour has been used in recipes for centuries and can have some really great health benefits, but as with most foods, there are some potential downsides.
There has been research that shows millet contains ‘antinutrients’ which can interfere with the uptake of some vital minerals. Though a person with a balanced diet is likely not to feel these adverse effects, it is always best to eat the grain in moderation.
The grain also contains polyphenols which can impair thyroid function. These effects are mostly associated with excessive polyphenol intake and the antinutrient properties of millet can be reduced by soaking it and by buying the sprouted kind of millet grain.
Millet flour is a fantastic alternative to wheat-based flour and can be used in place of gluten-containing flours in baked goods. It contains high levels of antioxidants, fibre, and protein, as well as some vital nutrients.
Millet flour can help to reduce cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar. It can also contribute to good heart health. Millet flour should be consumed in moderation as part of a healthy and balanced diet.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is millet flour made out of?
Millet flour is made from the dried and powdered grains of the millet crop. Millet comes from the grass family and is similar in appearance and texture to wheat. It is light and has a nuttier, corn-like flavour, sweeter than that of wheat flour.
What is millet flour good for?
Millet flour is a good substitution for gluten-containing flours. This means it can be used in recipes to create a gluten-free alternative for those who are sensitive to gluten.
Where does millet flour come from?
Millet flour comes from the millet grain. Millet is considered an ancient grain, meaning it hasn’t changed in centuries. The millet grain is similar in look and texture to the wheat grain and it comes from the grass family. Millet flour is the ground form of millet grains.
Is millet a wheat?
Millet is a grain from the grass family. Though similar to wheat it is not the same as the wheat grain. It is a gluten-free grain and comes in many varieties including finger and foxtail millet.