Difference Between Millets and Grains

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Millets and Grains

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Both millets and grains form a part of a healthy diet. A healthy and stable diet consists of a variety of grains as well as millets, and both are important for a healthy body and healthy digestive system. Both grains and millets are thought of as mixed by consumers because of their lack of knowledge, but both are completely different from each other and carry their characteristics. Both of them are specialized in providing different kinds of nutritional value to the consumers and also supports a variety of digestive system. Both of them had a comparative advantage over each other in various fields and are an important part of a balanced diet. Millets are nothing but a cereal grain that belongs to the grass family, and they consist of high nutritional value that is similar to cereals, but it has high protein fiber and it is gluten-free. Grains, on the other hand, and small, hard, and dry without being attached to the fruit used in either any way for human consumption or animals and consist variety of nutrients at various levels.

Grains vs Millets 

 The foremost difference between millets and grain is that grains are the harvested seed of various grades of food, and Millets are a group of various types of grains used as food and are widely cultivated in developing countries. Millets contain a much higher amount of fiber and essential minerals than wheat, rice other cereal grain. A variety of wheat, oats, unpolished rice and wheat-based bread are much better options as compared to white rice and white bread, and they also contain good quality protein and essential amino acids.

Millets are edible seeds, whereas raw cereals are not edibles, and the grains inside raw cereals are edibles. Cereals and grains are the most important sources of food for humans. The Cereals and grains belong to the family of Gramineae, whereas millets belong to the family of Poaceae. Cereals and grains are rich in carbohydrates and also protein and fats, whereas various millets are easy to digest and contain a high percentage of minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium and also some nutrition like protein and fat. Production of Cereals requires more water and rainfall as compared to the millets. Thus millets need less water for their production.

Difference Between Millets and Grains in Tabular Form

Parameters of comparison Millets Grains
Origin Millet is a cereal grain that belongs to the family of Poaceae Known as the grass family in general terms.  The Cereals and grains belong to the family of Gramineae.
Digestive property They are easy to digest. Comparatively tough in digestion.
Water requirement They require less rainfall for the production They require more rainfall than millets
Nutritional component They contain a high percentage of minerals like magnesium and potassium.

But not much good in carbohydrates.

A high percentage of carbohydrates and proteins is present in them.
Major areas Major production in India, Nigeria, and China. Major countries are the USA, China, and Canada.



Drought They are drought resistant. They are not drought resistant
Uses Millets are anti–acidic and are gluten-free. They also help in the prevention of diabetes and are effective in reducing blood pressure They are high in nutrients and fiber and also lower the risk of heart diseases. Eating grains reduce your obesity and support the healthy digestion and also reduces the chronic inflammation
Examples Pearl (Bajra), foxtail millet (kangni) etc. Rice , wheat ,etc.

What Are Millets?

Millet is a cereal grain that belongs to the family of Poaceae, Known as the grass family in general terms. It consists of nutritional values that are similar to other Cereals. It has gained popularity in the western region of the globe because it is gluten-free and it has high protein, fiber, and antioxidant contents. It is widely consumed in developing countries throughout African Asia and its looks like a seed. Millet is considered an ancient grain, and it is used for human consumption as well as widely for livestock and bird feed. Millets have advantages over other crops, which includes drought and pest resistance. 

They can survive in harsh environments, and the soil needed for their production does not need to be so much fertile. 

The millets are native to India and are popularly known as Nutri cereals as they provide most of the nutrients required for the normal functioning of the human body.

 Based on their various characteristics, Millets are divided into two categories as major and minor millets. 4 to 5 millets are considered major millets because of their various characteristics and such millets are available such as Pearl (Bajra), foxtail millet (kangni), Sorghum ( jowar) and Minor millets includes Finger millet (ragi), Proso millet (Cheena), Kodo millet (Kodo), etc.

Millets are high in protein and dietary fiber. They are highly nutritious, non-gluten, and non-acid-forming foods. Millets contain protein, carbohydrates, and dietary fiber. The essential amino acid and protein of the millet are much better than various cereals such as maize. It contains fewer things which adds to its higher digestibility which means that millets are easy to digest. Millets possess high antioxidant activities.

The Characteristics Of Certain Major Millets

Jowar (Sorghum)

The major portion of Sorghum is protein, which has a unique feature of lowering digestibility when cooked and provides benefits to certain dietary groups. They are rich in protein, fiber, riboflavin, and carotene. They are also rich in potassium, and calcium and has sufficient amount of iron, zinc, and sodium that provides high nutritional value to the consumer.

Pearl millet (Bajra)

Pearl Millet contains a high proportion of proteins as well as lipids and also some amount of dietary fiber. It increases the transit time of food in the gut. Hence it has a quality of reducing the risk of inflammatory diseases also they're rich in magnesium and contains various other components such as iron, copper-zinc, and Vitamin E&B complex and also has high energy compared to other millets. It is also rich in calcium and unsaturated fats, which are extremely good for health.

Finger millet (Ragi)

Finger Millet is the richest source of calcium and has the highest mineral content. It has lower levels of protein, and they are also unique because of the sulfur-rich amino acid content. They have high excellent melting properties, widely known for their use as weaning foods, and have high antioxidant activity.

Minor millets are also extremely important as 

  • Foxtail Millet is high in carbohydrates and has double quantity of protein as compared to rice and also has copper and Iran.
  • Kodo millets have high protein content and very fiber content, and it is also rich in B vitamins, specially pyroxene and folic acid as well as a mineral such as calcium, potassium, and zinc and also contain a high amount of lecithin, known for its quality of strengthening the nervous system.
  • Proso Millet contains a high amount of proteins, and health benefits from it comes from its unique properties such as it having a high amount of carbohydrate and fatty acids and also a cheaper source of manganese as compared to other spices and nuts and also contains a high amount of calcium. 

Consumption of millets should be done because of its various health benefits

  • Millets are anti–acidic.
  • Millets are gluten-free.
  • They also help in the prevention of diabetes.
  • They are effective in reducing blood pressure.
  • They eliminate problems like Constipation, gas, cramping, etc.

Major millets producing areas are India, Nigeria, and China are the largest producers in the world accounting for more than 55% of production .for many years India was the world’s major producer of Millet.

What are Grains?

A grain is a small hard, dry seed not attached to the fruit layer and harvested for human or animal consumption. It is produced by a grains crop, and basically, there are two types of grains crops described Cereals and legumes. Dry grains are much more durable than other staple foods and this durability has made grains well-suited to industrial agriculture since they can be mechanically harvested, transported, and stored for long periods. The grain market is a major global commodity market that includes crops such as maize, rice, wheat, and other grains. 

Grains are extremely important and are an important source of many nutrients including fiber, B vitamins, and minerals. People who eat whole grains as a part of a healthy diet have reduced the risk of some chronic diseases. They are high in nutrients and fiber and also lower the risk of heart disease. Eating grains reduces your obesity and supports the healthy digestion, and also reduces the chronic inflammation

Grains are classified as cereal grains, grains legumes, and oilseeds.

Cereal grain is any grass cultivated for the edible components of its grain. Cereal grain crops are grown with greater qualities and provide more food in energy worldwide other than any other staple crops. Edible grains belong to the plant family, and I referred to them as pseudo cereals. There are whereas cool season and cool-season cereals. Warm-season cereals include maize, jobs tears, etc, whereas cool-season cereals include barley, rice, etc.

Grains legumes or pulses are members of the pea family, and they have a higher protein content than various other food. Some plants also contain carbohydrates and fat, and some common pulses include chickpeas, common beans, lentils, peanuts, etc.

Oilseed grains are grown primarily for the extraction of their edible oil. Vegetable oils provide dietary energy as well as some essential kind and they are also used as fuel and lubricants. Some common oilseeds are black mustard, Indian mustard, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, etc.

Because grains are extremely small, hard, and small and they can be easily stored, measured, and transported more easily and really than any other kind of food crops, such as fresh fruits, roots, or tubers. The development of grain agriculture allowed excess food to be produced and that can be stored easily leading to surplus production. The grains trade refers to the local and international trade in cereals and other food grains. It is an important item in trade because it can be easily stored and transported with limited spoilage. It is transported to many societies as well as grains produced in one country are being exported to other countries. 

Main Difference Between Grains and Millets in Points

  • They both belong to the grass family, but millets belong to the family of Poaceae, whereas Cereals and grains belong to the family of Gramineae
  • Cereals require more rainfall than millets and are not drought resistance  
  • Grains are a more rich source of carbohydrates and proteins, whereas is millets are a rich source of minerals like magnesium and phosphorus
  • Millet is comparatively easy to digest as compared to cereals. 
  • Millets require short growing seasons and high productivity, whereas Cereals are properly grown and shown and required a larger period.


Both millets and grains possess high nutritional value and are extremely important in a balanced diet. Sometimes millets have a comparative advantage over grains, and sometimes grains have that authority. Millets are easy to digest and have high nutritional value when it comes to potassium magnesium and some kind of fats whereas grains are the ultimate source of energy-giving nutrients such as protein and carbohydrates. Both grains and millets are divided into major and minor categories, with some of their types falling into both categories. The thing is that they both are extensively produced and possess high commercial value and are imported and exported worldwide. Millets are used as fodder crops more than grains and also require less rainfall for the production, whereas grains are mainly used for human consumption and also for animals up to an extent. Millets and grains are produced in various countries and are exported. They both are international trade commercial commodities that have high economic value. Thus both of them are equally important, having their characteristics.


  • https://vikaspedia.in/health/nutrition/nutritive-value-of-foods/nutritive-value-of-cereals-and-millets/milletsthe-nutricereals


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"Difference Between Millets and Grains." Diffzy.com, 2024. Sat. 24 Feb. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-millets-and-grains-1173>.

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