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Millets reinstate super food status as they take centre stage on patients' plates
Thursday, 04 August, 2022, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
The Indian Institute of Millets Research (ICAR-IIMR), a premier research institute for sorghum and other millets is now popularising its super food millet consumption by patients at hospitals. This is in sync with the year 2023 being the International Year of Millets.

Dr B Dayakar Rao, CEO, Nutrihub, ICAR-IIMR, acknowledged Dr Sangita Reddy, joint managing director, Apollo Hospitals Group, for being the first hospital in India to proactively serve super food millet to patients, at its Apollo Health City, Jubilee Hills in Hyderabad.

Millets are rich in fibre, non-starchy polysaccharides, carbs, proteins, anti-oxidants, multiple vitamins and trace elements, highly alkaline and gluten-free. They are often prescribed by doctors and dieticians to their patients for quick recovery and staying healthy.

The F&B team at Apollo Hospitals, comprising of senior dieticians, nutritionists, specialist doctors did extensive research and formulated palatable millet recipes of the local traditional south and north Indian cuisines. Special care has been taken to make these millet cuisines easily digestible and healthy, as they form the diet for patients.

Apollo Hospitals has set up the first cloud kitchen of its kind for millet-based cuisine in India, at its premises in Jubilee Hills. The facility was recognised as the best cloud kitchen in India, by ICAR -IIMR. The hospital  is in the process of setting up a mechanism to source the millets directly from the farmers to  enhance farmers’ earnings with no middlemen and enable the hospital to have a dedicated source of grain supply.

Millet cultivation and consumption is a win-win proposition from both environmental and health perspective. "They are very healthy and a panacea for several lifestyle diseases the current generation suffer from. Apollo Hospitals will popularise super food millet diet among patients across all our hospitals," says Dr Sangita Reddy.   

"We have carried out clinical trials with National Institute of Nutrition, to find out the benefits to patients suffering from different ailments like diabetes and others. This data had to be generated for labelling. More studies will be on to assess the  benefits of millets on gut microbiome. Millets are  resistant to starch  and are known for prebiotic, probiotic and  anti-inflammatory factors. Their slow releasing ability to regulate hunger makes glycaemic index and glycaemic load to be low. We are also collaborating with NIN, medical colleges across the country, Indian Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, to work on non-alcoholic fatty liver. Besides this we are also working in the sports nutrition area," said Dr Rao from ICAR-IIMR.

The comprehensive range of super food millet cuisines being offered by Apollo Hospitals, includes millet based Idli, Dosa, Vada, Poori, Upma, Pongal, Masala Vada, Onion Rings, Punugulu, Bonda, Bajji. Millet-based Soup and Salad, non-veg items prepared with millets like Chicken Pakoda, Chicken Drumsticks, Chicken Nuggets, Chicken Popcorn, Millet Chicken 65, Millet Chicken Wrap etc. Millet based Egg Bonda and Egg Wrap; Chapatis and Phulkas prepared from millets.  Biryani range from millets comprises of Veg-Dum Biryani, Chicken Dum Biryani and Prawn Biryani, besides millet full Lunch combos, ragi mudda and so on. The hospital has introduced the concept of ‘Millet of the day’ by serving specially curated cuisines made of minor millets, to encourage variety of super food millets being made part of the diet.

Y Subramanyam, regional CEO, Apollo Hospitals, Telangana; Dr Ravi Sankar Erukulapati, Senior Endocrinologist, Apollo Hospitals; Dr Bharath Reddy, Cardiologist and Actor; and Haritha Shyam, Dietician and Nutritionist, Apollo Hospitals; highlighted the health benefits from millet-based diet especially for patients.
 
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