Hyderabad, August 2022: The Indian Institute of Millets Research (ICAR-IIMR), a premier research institute for sorghum and other millets, located at Hyderabad, announced ICAR-IIMR Nutrihub’s initiative to popularise super food millet consumption by patients at Hospitals. This holds enormous significance, as UN has declared the year 2023 as the International Year of Millets. On the occasion Dr B. Dayakar Rao, CEO, Nutrihub, ICAR-IIMR; felicitated Dr Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Group; for Apollo Health City being the first Hospital in India to proactively serve super food Millet to patients, today at Apollo Health City, Jubilee Hills.
Super food Millets are rich in fibre, non-starchy polysaccharides, carbs, proteins, anti-oxidants, multiple vitamins and trace elements, highly alkaline and gluten free. Due to the high proportion of healthy nutrients, they offer multifarious health benefits to curb several lifestyle ailments like hypertension, diabetes, obesity, heart ailments, cancers, kidney, liver ailments and more and enhance immunity levels. 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 often with weakened and compromised digestive system. Apollo Hospitals is continuing this research endeavour in collaboration with Indian Institute of Millets Research – ICMR, to add more healthy and nutritious recipes made from super food millets and popularise it to be the staple food, like it was for our ancestors.
Apollo Hospitals has set up first Cloud Kitchen of its kind for millet based cuisine, in India, at its premises in Jubilee Hills. This Cloud Kitchen was commended and awarded as the best cloud kitchen in India, by Indian Institute of Millets Research – ICMR. The Cloud Kitchen serves all the local traditional South Indian and North Indian cuisines, based out of super food Millets. Apollo Hospitals is in the process of setting up a mechanism to source the millets directly from the farmers. This will 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. Millet farming is environment friendly, they don’t drain our water resources as rain water suffices to cultivate them, don’t pollute soil, millets are organic as their cultivation doesn’t need pesticides and insecticides. They are farmer friendly being inexpensive to cultivate and generate sizeable profits. Above all 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.
Dr B. Dayakar Rao said, I am the CEO of Nutrihub, a commercial facade of Indian Institute of Millets Research – ICMR, nurtures start-ups, we get into stake holder engagement and try to take millet promotion further across the country. As you all are aware, UN General Assembly declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets. This was proposed by India, the UNO agreed to it and 74 countries supported it. So India will be the leader to take it forward to the other countries. As part of the run up to the International Year of Millets, one of the initiatives is the collaboration of ICAR-IIMR with Apollo Hospitals to reach the goodness of millets to the patients. We have also done trails involving 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 and we are going ahead with more studies to assess the benefits of millets on our health, especially on gut microbiome. Millets have not only resistance starch, they are by nature prebiotic and probiotic and are anti-inflammatory. Their slow releasing and ability to regulate hunger makes glycaemic index and glycaemic load to be low. This is very important, as lifestyle diseases are spreading rampantly and food intervention is one of the ways to bring diabetes and lifestyle diseases in control. We are also collaborating for research on millets 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. But the biggest initiative is the collaboration with Apollo Hospitals to make millets a part of the patients’ diet. Palatability of millets was an issue in the past, through technology it’s made tasty now. This tie-up with Apollo Hospitals is a major way forward to make millets part of patient diet, as Apollo Hospitals has footprint across the globe and enables us to reach the message across the world. It is important to make the locally grown grains part of our diet to remain healthy.
Mr. Y Subramanyam said, my family consumes millets and it has benefitted us enormously. Initially when we introduced it to patients in the hospital, there was tremendous resistance and patients preferred their regular diet. Educating the patients helped over a period of time in it becoming a part of their diet. Awareness is critical to make millets part of our diet. In fact today our doctors in the hospital consume only millet based food. Doctors and nutritionists are strongly recommending millets for our good health and let us adopt that.
Dr Ravi Sankar Erukulapati said, life styles diseases are becoming grave and it is essential for us to be cautious from now onwards or else the consequences of diseases like diabetes, obesity etc., is dangerous. To keep these lifestyle diseases away we need to adopt three things, healthy diet, regular exercise, sound sleep and of course bad habits like smoking, alcohol etc., to be kept away. White rice has higher proportion of carbohydrates than in millets, which speedily gets digested and converts into sugar, raises the glycaemic index, while in millets glycaemic index is low. If glycaemic index is low, the chances of becoming diabetic is low. In case a patient is already diabetic, low glycaemic foods like millets keep diabetes in control and help diabetic patients. Proteins are low in rice and high in millets, fibre is healthy and prevents several diseases and its very high in millets. Therefore we should make millets a part of at least one meal every day. We need to embrace millets based on the scientific evidence of they being good for health also for the historical evidence of keeping our ancestors healthy.
Dr Bharath Reddy said, initially we had difficult to make patients consume millet based diet and that’s when we approached ICAR-IIMR and with their help and Apollo Hospitals F&B team, we could curate some tasty recipes for patients. We normally serve whole grains and predominantly serve a variety of minor millets to patients. The patient recovery was excellent among those who consume millet based food. We have been serving millet food for the past eight months at Apollo Hospitals here and will be taking to it to our other hospitals.
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 etc. The Hospital has introduced an unique 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.
Mr. Y Subramanyam, Regional CEO, Apollo Hospitals, Telangana; Dr Ravi Sankar Erukulapati, Senior Endocrinologist, Apollo Hospitals; Dr Bharath Reddy, Cardiologist and Actor and Ms. Haritha Shyam, Dietician and Nutritionist, Apollo Hospitals; spoke about the health benefits from millet based diet especially for patients, on the occasion.