are a group of small-seeded species of cereal crops or grains of several genera in the grass family Poaceae. They are widely grown around the world for food and fodder. Millets are major food sources in arid and semi-arid regions of the world, and used in traditional cuisines.
The most widely-cultivated species are Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum
); Foxtail millet (Setaria italica
); Proso millet (Panicum miliaceum
)which also known as Common millet, broom corn millet, hog millet or white millet; and Finger millet (Eleusine coracana
Millets are important grains used in brewing millet beer, fermented drinks, distilled liquor and indigenous alcoholic drink in some cultures. Millets are also used as bird and animal feed. Millets, along with birdseed, is commonly used as fillings for juggling beanbags.
Millets are rich in B vitamins, expecially niacin, B6 and folic acid, iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, and magnesium, and about 11% protein by weight. Millets are suitable for making flat bread but not for raised bread, as they contain no gluten. When combined with wheat, they can be used for raised bread. Those with thyroid disease should not consumed millets in large quantities, as they contain a mild thyroid peroxidase inhibitor.
Pearl millet plants
Ripe heads of Proso millet (Panicum miliaceum)
Finger millet (Eleusine coracana)