Like other whole grains, millet is chock-full of nutritional benefits. One cup of cooked millet clocks in at 6 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. It’s also a good source of folate, B vitamins and minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and iron, Jackson says. The combination of fiber and protein supports a healthy digestion since the insoluble fiber content acts as a prebiotic, “which feeds the good bacteria in the gut microbiome,” Jackson says.  

In a recent review published in Frontiers in Nutrition, researchers detected a link between eating millets and higher levels of hemoglobin, the iron-rich protein that carries oxygen throughout the body. They found that regularly eating millets may reduce iron deficiency anemia, which is responsible for 50% of anemia cases worldwide.

Compared to other grains, millet is also a relatively low-glycemic food, and past research has even noted it could be a helpful food for supporting healthy blood sugar levels.

It has environmental benefits, too. Millet is known to have a low carbon footprint because it doesn’t need much water, and grows well at high temperatures.