Brown Millet – Silicon At Its Finest

Millet has been considered a valuable food since time immemorial. Brown millet, on the other hand, is a special case in the millet family. It is not consumed as porridge or as a side dish but is used as a natural dietary supplement for various chronic ailments.

Brown millet and golden millet

Millet is one of the oldest cultivated plants. It also thrives on the poorest soils and is extremely drought-resistant. Since time immemorial it has been valued not only as a popular food but also as a remedy. Ordinary millet consists of golden grains and is therefore also called golden millet.

Brown millet, on the other hand, is described on the one hand as a special type of millet (“brown wild form”), but other sources only describe it as unpeeled millet. While golden millet is not a whole grain cereal because it is always peeled, brown millet is commercially available unpeeled and is therefore wholesome.

In contrast to whole-grain rice, whole-grain wheat, whole-grain oats, etc., brown millet is not so easy to eat. Their outer layers are simply too hard and indigestible for us humans, so they have to be removed.

The brown millet

For some time now, however, brown millet has also been available in organic food and health food stores – not as grain, but mostly in the form of fine flour (which is stirred into food and drinks as a food supplement by the tablespoon or used in small quantities in bread recipes).

With the help of a special grinding process (the so-called centrophan process), the brown millet, including its valuable surface layers, can be crushed so finely that its ingredients are now also available to us humans and can be used very easily.

Brown millet flakes and slightly sweetened brown millet flakes are also available. They are simply sprinkled over muesli or fruit salads or served with almond milk for breakfast.

There is also brown millet germ seed. From this, you can grow fresh brown millet sprouts for salads, vegetable dishes, or muesli in your sprout-growing device.

Do you shy away from growing your own sprouts? Then you can also get dried brown millet seedlings in stores.

Brown millet is gluten-free

Millet is gluten-free – both golden and brown. Compared to other cereals such as wheat, spelled, oats, barley, and rye, millet does not contain gluten, which is difficult to digest, a cereal protein that is also known as gluten protein.

Gluten is not tolerated by people with celiac disease, even in traces.

But many other people who definitely do not suffer from celiac disease are also sensitive to gluten. You are gluten-sensitive (gluten intolerant) – which can manifest itself in a wide variety of symptoms.

Golden millet is a wonderfully well-tolerated side dish for gluten-sensitive people, and brown millet can be used as a dietary supplement without hesitation.

However, millet not only shines with the best tolerability but also with its high micronutrient content.

Brown millet is rich in micronutrients

Golden millet is rich in minerals and trace elements such as natural fluorides, sulfur, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Vitamins, such as most of the B group, are also abundant in millet.

Since the minerals in the surface layers of the grain are particularly concentrated, brown millet contains even more micronutrients than golden millet.

Brown millet can be eaten raw

Because brown millet is eaten in a very finely ground form, it does not need to be cooked to be digested. The minerals, trace elements, and active ingredients are in such an easily accessible form that they can be absorbed very well.

Brown millet as a silicon source

A particularly valuable mineral that brown millet provides is silicon (in the form of silicic acid). In the human body, it is found particularly in the connective tissue, in the skin, and in the bones – a total of 20 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. The daily silicon requirement of an adult is officially estimated at around 30 milligrams. In alternative medical circles, on the other hand, a daily intake of around 75 milligrams of silicon is recommended.

100 grams of brown millet already contain around 500 milligrams of silicon in the form of silicic acid – although the values ​​can vary significantly depending on the cultivation area. So 15 grams of brown millet could already provide the desired daily amount of silicon (provided that the silicon can also be completely dissolved from the brown millet during digestion, which is not to be expected, so other sources of silicon should always be consumed, such as oats, as will be explained shortly).

The well-known cereals such as rye and wheat only provide a little silicon with only about 0.06 and 0.11 milligrams per 100 grams. The golden millet, which is peeled, should only contain 0.36 milligrams per 100 grams. The situation is somewhat better with oats, which are said to contain around 11 milligrams of silicon in the form of oat flakes.

Silicon makes an important contribution to the growth of hair and fingernails in our bodies. Therefore, regular consumption of brown millet can also be used to treat hair loss and brittle fingernails.

Silicon is good for the skin, hair, and nails

The man recognized early on, long before silicon (or silicic acid) was discovered, that millet has a strengthening effect on skin, hair, and nails and e.g. B. stops hair loss and strengthens weakened, slack connective tissue and brittle nails. With increasing age, the silicic acid content of the tissue decreases.

A German study at the University of Hamburg-Eppendorf with 55 women showed that silica can improve hair quality. The study participants consumed 1 tablespoon of silicon gel daily for six months and hair thickness increased by 13 percent.

The trace element silicon has an equally positive effect on the joints and bones because silicon is involved in the formation of bones and cartilage, among other things.

Brown millet for arthrosis

First of all, silicon keeps the connective tissue elastic and thus, together with calcium, makes an important contribution to bone and joint health. Studies have shown that in people who are well supplied with silicon, less bone substance was broken down and more were built up.

The higher the silicon intake, the higher the bone density. This is attributed to the fact that silicon supports the storage of calcium in the bones. While calcium strengthens the bones, silicon provides the necessary elasticity. In addition, silicon is an indispensable building material of the cartilage mass.

At the same time, silicon is considered a trace element that has an inhibiting effect on inflammation, and since osteoarthritis is often accompanied by inflammatory phases, this property also alleviates the typical symptoms of osteoarthritis.

No wonder many people report an improvement in their arthrosis symptoms, their cellulite (weakness of the connective tissue), or their dental health if they take brown millet every day.

Brown millet in arteriosclerosis

The walls of our blood vessels contain relatively large amounts of silicon. If there is a lack of silicon, this deficiency – together with a vitamin C deficiency – can lead to brittle blood vessel walls. The result is i.a. Cardiovascular problems and arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

Of course, brown millet not only provides silicon, but also the dietary fibers that are known to lower blood fat levels (triglycerides, cholesterol), so that arteriosclerosis and other heart and vascular diseases can be prevented in this way.

Brown Millet for Alzheimer’s Prevention

In addition, several studies – e.g. B. at Keele University in England – that silicon reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s because it protects the brain from aluminum. Aluminum is suspected of being involved in the formation of destructive plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

Brown millet helps when there is a lack of silicon

At a young age, one is still well equipped with silicon. With increasing age, however, the silicon content of the tissue decreases continuously, which can manifest itself in many complaints.

We have already mentioned some such as cellulite, arteriosclerosis, and joint problems. Other silicon deficiency symptoms can be varicose veins, hemorrhoids, wrinkling, disc damage, an increased tendency to fractures, circulatory disorders, dizziness, and many others.

In these situations, the diet should be particularly high in silicon. Although it is said again and again that the usual foodstuffs are sufficiently equipped with silicon, the silicon content depends heavily on the soil quality, on the type of agriculture (organic or not), and last but not least on the degree of industrial processing of the food.

Since the originally high-silicon foods (cereals) are consumed in a highly processed form as part of the modern diet (white flour and products made from it) and this processing removes a large part of the silicon contained in them, this can lead to a silicon deficiency.

Interestingly, it is said that silicon deficiency symptoms are not known. At the same time, the existence of the widespread symptoms mentioned above (weak connective tissue, cellulite, varicose veins, arteriosclerosis, etc.) is certainly not disputed – they are just not associated with a silicon deficiency. What an omission!

Of course, silicon deficiency is not the only cause of these health problems, but it is an important contributory factor. If you know them and if you eliminate the silicon deficiency, a decisive risk factor can be eliminated.

Source of silicon beer?

In this context, it is almost tragic that beer is one of the most important sources of silicon, especially for many men. However, not because beer would contain an excessive amount of silicon, but because many beer drinkers do not eat any other foods containing silicon, but drink quite a lot of beer so that the silicon content then adds up again.

This liquid source of silicon is not necessarily recommended simply because of its alcohol content. Beer also increases blood uric acid levels, which can increase the risk of gout.

Although it is said that the absorption of silicon from beer is particularly good, the absorption rate of silicon from grain is still 50 percent and is therefore absolutely satisfactory and sufficient. We would therefore recommend integrating brown millet or oats into the diet to supply silicon, as both – even in small amounts – not only provide plenty of silicon but also a large number of other high-quality nutrients and micronutrients, without taking alcohol or similar. to charge.

Brown millet is rich in secondary plant substances

Despite all these beneficial ingredients and effects, brown millet is repeatedly described as harmful. Because it is precisely this fact that has brought brown millet – and whole grain products in general – a lot of criticism. A statement by the Federal Food Research Institute (BFEL) is often cited, which states that brown millet can reduce the availability of other ingredients.

As is so often the case, it is about secondary plant substances. These would be located in the outer layers of the brown millet, originally from the plant, e.g. Formed for the purpose of repelling predators and therefore not suitable for human consumption. The substances in question are mainly polyphenols (phenolic acids, flavonoids, tannins) and phytic acid.

Brown millet protects against free radicals

You may be familiar with the term polyphenols in a different, namely very positive context. Polyphenols are mostly antioxidant substances that can protect people from the diverse and highly negative effects of free radicals. These consequences apply to almost all chronic diseases – including those that we listed above as possible silicon deficiency symptoms.

Here, too, we emphasize that chronic diseases do not only develop as a result of the oxidation processes triggered by free radicals, but these are in any case – just like a silicon deficiency – involved in the development of diseases. The anti-oxidative polyphenols can slow down the negative oxidation processes.

Of course, phytochemicals can also be harmful in some cases, for example, if they are isolated and ingested in high doses. These substances could also become problematic if someone should decide to live exclusively on brown millet from now on.

However, they are certainly not when consumed as part of a diverse and natural diet. This is when they are very beneficial and – since they are not part of the usual diet – represent a milestone in health prophylaxis.

The safe brown millet dose: 1 to 4 tablespoons daily

Phytic acid – another secondary plant substance in brown millet – is said to form complexes with minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, so that these minerals can no longer be absorbed by the body but are excreted unused.

Whether phytic acid can actually lead to a mineral deficiency due to this property depends on the amount of phytic acid ingested and also on the number of minerals ingested at the same time.

It is therefore also said that phytic acid can only cause a mineral deficiency if it is eaten in large quantities, as can be the case, for example, with a diet containing only soy products.

But if someone eats 1 to 4 tablespoons of brown millet flour, brown millet flakes, brown millet flakes, or brown millet sprouts every day, then this is a minimal part of the daily diet and certainly not a complete food that could be compared to a pure soy diet, so that the risk of a mineral deficiency can be ruled out in this case.

On the contrary, as we have seen above, brown millet supplies very large amounts of minerals, which means that it quickly and independently balances out the complex formation caused by the phytic acid.

Phytic acid regulates blood sugar levels

At the same time, it has now been discovered that phytic acid also has positive properties. On the one hand, it is said to have a cancer-protective effect on the digestive system and, on the other hand, to inhibit the breakdown of starch in the body, which could lead to a more moderate rise in blood sugar levels.1,2

The phytic acid – just like the polyphenols – could only become a problem if you wanted to eat brown millet exclusively from now on.

However, as part of a conscious and varied healthy diet, phytic acid is consumed in those (small) amounts that can have extremely positive effects.

Brown millet seedlings without phytic acid and without tannins

However, those who have not yet benefited from the advantages of brown millet due to the phytic acid and some secondary plant substances (e.g. tannins) can fall back on brown millet seedlings with a clear conscience.

During the germination process, both the phytic acid and the tannins are largely broken down. At the same time, the quality and availability of the other ingredients can be further improved by the enzymatic process. Numerous metabolic processes take place in the millet grain. In the course of this, the vitamin content – vitamin E by up to 100 percent – and proteins and fats are converted into nutritionally more valuable forms. The mineral content of the millet grains is retained, with the bioavailability – e.g. B. of iron up to 50 percent – increases.

You can germinate brown millet seedlings yourself. You can also buy them dried. They are gently air-dried by the manufacturer at low temperatures (approx. 25 degrees Celsius) and are therefore available in the same high raw food quality. (To be on the safe side, check with the manufacturer about these criteria if the label does not contain this information).

Make brown millet seedlings yourself

Unfortunately, peeled millet such as golden millet can no longer be germinated, but brown millet is very suitable for this. When buying, make sure that the packaging is labeled “germinable”. You can use both a germination jar and a germinator.

  • Soak the millet grains in water for about 4 hours.
  • Drain the water and rinse the millet grains under running water.
  • Place the millet grains in your germinator or germinating jar.
  • Now rinse the grains with water 2 to 3 times a day. If you are using a germination device with a drip tray, pour the water out of the drip tray and rinse the tray well.
  • The germination process takes about 3 to 5 days. If the germ is about 3 times larger than the millet grain itself, the millet sprouts can be harvested.
  • 10 g seeds produce around 30 g sprouts.
  • Rinse the millet sprouts thoroughly under running water before eating.
  • You can store the millet sprouts in a covered bowl in the refrigerator for a maximum of 3 days.

The silicon recipe with brown millet

A fine recipe that provides plenty of silicon for healthy skin, thick hair, hard fingernails, resilient joints, and strong connective tissue and can be consumed once or twice a day is the following:

Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of brown millet flakes or brown millet sprouts, 1 tablespoon of rolled oats (or freshly ground oats), and a few raisins/sultanas with a little water, leave to soak for 20 minutes and stir in a freshly grated apple.

Enjoy your meal!

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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