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5 Health Benefits of Eating Kodo Millets

Want to lose weight, control bloating or reduce high cholesterol? Add Kodo millet to your diet. Know more about the benefits of Kodo millets if consumed regularly.

By Sadhana Kumari
26 Jul 2022

Millets are considered ancient grains, domesticated thousands of years ago at the beginning of human civilization. One such ancient grain is Kodo millet, indigenous to West Africa. Some evidence suggests the cultivation of millets dates back to about 4000 years ago, according to a 2015 review article issued in the Journal of Grain Processing And Storage. The Kodo millet (Paspalum scrobiculate), is also known as cow grass, rice grass, ditch millet, Native Paspalum, or Indian Crown Grass. Kodo millet is the most drought-resistant crop, widely grown in Africa, Indian Peninsula, and other Asian countries. Today it is being used as nutraceuticals as they are rich in antioxidants. Besides, there are exceptional benefits of Kodo millet like weight loss, maintaining blood pressure, high cholesterol, constipation, bloating, dermal healing, and many more.


Kodo millet is mainly grown in Uttar Pradesh in the Northern plain and Deccan plateau in southern India. Kodo Millet is an annual or perennial grass that grows up to 150 cm tall. The plant can survive in drought conditions as well as in different soil types like sandy, clay, chalky or loamy. Kodo millet goes by many names in India like kondon in Hindi, harka in Kannada, varagu in Tamil, kodra in Marathi, Gujarati and Punjabi.


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Kodo Millet Nutritional Value

As per a 2015 study published in the Journal of Grain Processing And Storage, Kodo millet is a great source of proteins, dietary fibre, vitamins like niacin and riboflavin, and minerals like copper, manganese, and phosphorus.


100g of Kodo millet provides:


Protein - 9.8g

Iron - 1.7mg

Fibre - 5.2g

Calcium - 35mg

Carbohydrate - 66.6g

Vitamin B2 - 0.09mg

Calories - 353kcal

Vitamin B3 - 2mg

Fats - 3.6g

Vitamin B6 - 0.15mg


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Benefits of Kodo millets:


1. It helps in weight management

Kodo millet can be an excellent diet choice for those wishing to lose weight. According to a 2014 study published in Indian Journal of Research in Food Science And Research, regular consumption of Kodo millet was found effective in weight reduction in obese people.


2. Suppresses high blood sugar

Kodo millet or arikelu benefits diabetics by keeping blood sugar levels in check. A 2013 research issued in the IOSR Journal of Pharmacy indicated that foods made from Kodo millet like idlis or sevai upma decreased the level of glucose in the body by 42 per cent. This millet is high in dietary fibre and protein that slows the digestion process and releases sugar into the bloodstream effectively.


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3. Regulates high cholesterol

A 2019 paper Journal of Functional Foods states that Kodo millets are low on calories and fats (100g of Kodo millets has 3.6g of fats). Consuming Kodo millets decreased lipid accumulation, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Millet supplementation dramatically decreased total cholesterol levels and altered lipid profiles as per the paper.


4. May help prevent dementia

Kodo millet or varagu rice help in improving dementia symptoms including memory loss, depression, and sleep disorders. A high-fat diet increases oxidative stress and damages the brain cells, which may lead to dementia. Fortunately, Kodo millet has an ample amount of polyphenol, an antioxidant that lends neural protective effects on brain cells, reveals a 2020 study published in Plant Foods For Human Nutrition.


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5. Soothes irritated bowel system

Being high in dietary fibre and gluten-free, Kodo millets help in digestion and prevent constipation. Kodo millets are loaded with prebiotic fibre that is fermented by intestinal gut bacteria. This reduces digestive issues such as constipation, bloating and inflammation in the intestine, says a 2006 review and meta-analysis in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. The study also shows that these millet fibres may help reduce the risk of bleeding due to piles by 50 per cent.


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Traditional Uses of Kodo Millets

According to a 2021 review issued in The Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology, Kodo millets have been used for a long time to attain some additional health benefits . Here are some more benefits and traditional uses of Kodo millets.


  • Daily intake of Kodo millet benefits post-menopausal women having cardiovascular conditions like high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Relieves constipation by keeping the colon hydrated.
  • This is an ideal replacement for white rice for diabetics.
  • It can be used in the form of flour to make rotis, cheela, idli, dosa, papad, puddings and chakli.
  • Kodo millet is excellent for those who are gluten-intolerant.
  • Contains photochemical—phytates, that help reduce cancer risk.


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Side Effects of Kodo Millets

Kodo millet can turn harmful if it is exposed to a toxic fungus Aspergillus flavus which is known as ‘kodua poisoning’. When moisture seeps into crops or millets, certain moulds or fungi develop and produce mycotoxins, a naturally occurring toxin. These moulds appear as whitish spots in the group of grains. The fungal contamination produces cyclopiazonic acid, a toxic fungal secondary metabolite causing bronchial irritation, nausea, and vomiting, reveals a 2021 study in Toxicology Reports.


It is advisable to consult a physician immediately when you experience any such symptoms. The many benefits of Kodo millet make it a popular food used during fasting or upvas in India.






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