Bajra/Pearl millet: Nutrition, Benefits, Uses, and Recipes

  • 8th June 2024

In semi-arid parts of India and Africa, pearl millet has been grown for more than four thousand years and is a mainstay crop for millions of people. Pearl millet is able to thrive in areas where other crops fail, making it one of the most drought-resistant grains. The remarkable nutrient profile of this food is making it increasingly popular as a health food in some parts of the world, while it is already widely consumed in many regions, particularly those with difficult growing conditions. With a wealth of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, it's the perfect complement to any diet plan.

What is Pearl Millet

Pearl millet, which is rich in iron and zinc, offers a cheap way to address micronutrient deficiencies in areas where millet is consumed and could be used to make nutritious meals.

But because of their interactions with inhibitory factors, these minerals have low bioaccessibility. 

There are numerous varieties of millet, including Bajra pearl millet. Besides fonio and kodo millet, other common varieties include finger millet (ragi), Job's tears, foxtail, and millet.

Bajra, like most millets, has healthy, impressive nutritional profiles. Nutritional facts of cooked Pearl millet per cup (170 grams):




6 grams


1.7 grams


40 grams


2 grams


286 mg

Vitamin B9 (Folate)

8% of daily requirement


6% of daily requirement


18% of daily requirement

Vitamin B1

15% of daily requirement

Vitamin B3

14% of daily requirement


14% of daily requirement


14% of daily requirement

Vitamin B2

11% of daily requirement

Vitamin B6

11% of daily requirement

Health benefits of Pearl millet:

Because it is a whole grain, bajra has the same positive associations with health as other grains.

A diet rich in whole grains, such as bajra, may reduce the risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some malignancies. Eating bajra, however, may have additional, more targeted health advantages.

Potentially beneficial for diabetics

As a whole, millet is generally thought of as a healthy grain option for diabetics.

According to various researches,  eating high-fiber foods, such as cereals like bajra, can help with the management of chronic diseases and type 2 diabetes.

The glycemic index (GI) of millet is lower than that of white bread and rice, two examples of refined grains. Millet proteins may help regulate blood sugar levels, both in animals and humans.

The GI range for millet is typically between 43 and 68. Most sources agree that foods with a GI of 55 or lower are low in calories and other unhealthy fats.

One way to quantify the impact of food on blood sugar levels is the glycemic index (GI). People with diabetes should generally choose foods that are lower on the glycemic index.

A food's glycemic load (GL) might be a more accurate indicator of its impact on blood sugar levels in certain circumstances. The average serving size is another factor that GL takes into account, setting it apart from GI. If the GL is 10 or less, it is low, and if it is 20 or higher, it is high.

Millet flakes have a low GL, as one study found, with a value of 9.2.


The use of both GI and GL in the management of diabetes is controversial, and some of the studies that back these claims didn't use bajra specifically. Thus, additional studies are required to determine the precise mechanism by which millet influences blood sugar levels.


Potentially helpful for those trying to lose weight


A diet that includes bajra and other low-calorie whole grain foods may help those who are attempting to shed extra pounds.


Foods are ranked by their calorie density, which is a measure of calorie content per unit of weight (in grams) or volume (in milliliters).


A calorie density of 1 would be assigned to a 100-gram (3.5-ounce) serving of a certain food. The calorie density of a 100-gram serving of a 400-calorie food item would be 4.


Choose low-calorie density foods to satisfy your hunger without adding extra calories to your diet. Calorie dense foods are those with a value higher than 2.3.


The calorie density of bajra is 1.2. Therefore, low-calorie foods, such as bajra, may help with weight loss.


May help maintain healthy hair, nails, and skin due to the nutrients it contains


There has been no research on millet specifically as a hair treatment, although you might have heard that bajra is beneficial.


Nevertheless, bajra contains numerous nutrients that are known to promote healthy hair, skin, and nails, such as:


  • Vitamin B6
  • Iron
  • Zinc 
  • Vitamin B3, and 
  • Vitamin B9

Incorporating bajra into your diet on a regular basis may help keep these nutrients from becoming deficient.


However, at this time, there is insufficient evidence to conclude that bajra and other millets directly improve the health of hair, skin, or nails.


Methods to incorporate Pearl Millet in your diet:


Soaking pearl millet before cooking makes it easier to digest and shortens cooking time. Rinse the millet and soak for four to eight hours, or even overnight. Mineral absorption increases by soaking, as it reduces anti-nutrients.


You can also boil pearl millet. First of all, thoroughly rinse the millet that has been soaked. In a saucepan, combine one part millet with 2.5 parts water. Once the water boils, lower the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the millet is soft and absorbed.


Recipes and Cooking Ideas


Boil the millet, you can also use milk instead of water. After it's cooked, you can top it with fresh fruits and nuts and add sweeteners.


For making “Pearl Millet Salad”, cook pearl millet, chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, mint, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.


The millet should be mixed with chopped vegetables and herbs after it has cooled from cooking. Add salt and pepper before dressing with lemon juice and olive oil.


To add a healthy twist to your favorite recipes, try substituting cooked millet for rice. Just follow the recipe as usual.


Bread, muffins, and pancakes are just a few of the many baked goods that benefit from pearl millet flour.


Downsides of eating Pearl millet


The majority of people do not experience any negative health effects from eating moderate quantities of bajra. As long as they are certain that no other grains containing gluten were cross-contaminated, even those with celiac disease can eat it because it is gluten-free.


A common worry about bajra and other millets is the presence of antinutrients. Certain foods contain chemicals called antinutrients, which can harm your body by preventing it from absorbing other nutrients.


According to some studies, bajra may contain antinutrients like phytates and oxalates, which can hinder the absorption of other micronutrients like iron, zinc, and phosphorus that are included in the same meal.


There is some evidence that the processing method, whether millet is fermented or sprouted before eating, affects the levels of antinutrients and the absorption of certain micronutrients and antioxidants.


While it's true that nutrient-dense foods can have some antinutrients, the benefits of eating these foods typically exceed the negatives of not eating them at all.


Additionally, millet's antinutrient content can be diminished by soaking, fermenting, or sprouting.


Leave A Comment