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Fact-check: Eating millet bread cannot provide protection from coronavirus, viral claim is false

  • By Vishvas News
  • Updated: October 16, 2020

New Delhi (Vishvas News): Vishvas News found a viral claim in Marathi that said, that consuming millets or Bajra provides people protection from coronavirus. However, Vishvas News in its investigation, found the claim to be false.

Claim:
A Facebook page, “वक्रतुंड फिटनेस क्लब राजगुरूनगर” posted on its profile the following message in Marathi:

बाजरीची भाकर ठरते आहे कोरोनावर गुणकारी
नुकत्याच WHO च्या वैज्ञानिकांकडून कडून स्पष्ट करण्यात आले की, कोरोनाच्या काळात गरम वस्तू खाणे कधीही फायद्याचे आहे. त्यामुळे आपल्या खाण्या पिण्याच्या सवयी बदलल्या पाहिजे.प्रसिद्ध डॉक्टरांच्या मते बाजरी खाणाऱ्या माणसाला सहसा कोरोना होत नाही. कारण बाजरी हे धान्य गरम असते. बाजरीची भाकरी खाल्ल्याने शरीरात ऊर्जा आणि गर्मी बनून राहते त्यामुळे कोरोनाची सहसा लागण होत नाही. जरी कोरोना झालाच तर बाजरी मधील टॉर्चमुळे आणि बाजरीतील गर्मी मुळे शरीरात अँटी बॉडीज तयार होतात. परिणामी रुग्णाला रिपोर्ट पॉझिटिव्ह आल्यावर सुद्धा काही एक होत नाही. म्हणून खेड्यातील बाजरी खाणारे लोक हे नेहमी सुदृढ राहतात. खेड्यात कुठल्याही सुविधा नसताना खूप कमी लोकांना कोरोनाची लागण होत आहे.
बाजरीचे फायदे
1) शक्ती वर्धक – बाजरी खाल्याने शरीरात ऊर्जा टिकून राहते.
2) बाजरी पचायला हलकी असते. त्यामुळे वजन कमी होते.
3) हृदय विकाराचा धोका कमी होतो. कोलेस्टेरॉल कमी होत
4) कर्बोदके, पिष्टमय पदार्थ मोठ्या प्रमाणावर असल्याने शरीराची झीज भरून काढते.
5) बाजरीतील फायबर – ज्यामुळे पाचन क्षमता सुधारते.
6) बाजरी खाल्याने. कब्ज, ऍसिडिटी सारख्या समस्या होत नाही.
7) कॅन्सर – बाजरीची भाकर खाल्याने कॅन्सर सारखे आजार होण्यापासून वाचवते.
असे अनेक फायदे या बाजरीच्या भाकरीचे आहेत
अंबज्ञ नाथसंविध्.🌹👏👌👆🌷🙏🏻🌸

Translation:
Millet Bread or Bajra Roti is effective in treating coronavirus
It has been recently clarified by the WHO scientists that eating hot food during the coronavirus is effective. Hence, food habits must be changed. According to the famous doctors, people eating millets do not contract the coronavirus infection. Beacause, millets are hot in nature. The heat levels in the body are maintained by eating millets and hence, people do not contract the coronavirus. Even if they do, the heat in the millets leads to the formation of antibodies. Even if the person tests positive, he would never face any problems. This is the reason why people staying in the rural parts of the country, who eat millets are always healthy. Even when there are no facilities in the village people do not contract coronavirus.

Benefits of millets:
1) Strengthening – Eating millet retains energy in the body.
2) Millet is easy to digest. It reduces weight.
3) Reduces the risk of heart disease. Lowers cholesterol.
4) Carbohydrates, starchy foods in large quantities fill the body.
5) Millet fiber – which improves digestion.
6) By eating millet. Problems like constipation, acidity do not occur.
7) Cancer – Eating millet bread protects against diseases like cancer.
There are many such benefits to this millet bread
Regards Nath Sanvidh

Check the post and its archive version here.

Investigation:

Vishvas News started its investigation by thoroughly going through the website of World Health Organisation (WHO). We did not find the mention of millets anywhere, which would suggest that millets save people from contracting coronavirus. However, in one of the sections on the WHO website, we found a report titled :”Nutrition advice for adults during the COVID-19 outbreak“.
In this advice, WHO recommends including ‘millets’ in their diet, however it does not mention anywhere that eating millets provides protection from coronavirus.

“Eat fruits, vegetables, legumes (e.g. lentils, beans), nuts and whole grains (e.g. unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat, brown rice or starchy tubers or roots such as potato, yam, taro or cassava), and foods from animal sources (e.g. meat, fish, eggs and milk).”

“Proper nutrition and hydration are vital. People who eat a well-balanced diet tend to be healthier with stronger immune systems and lower risk of chronic illnesses and infectious diseases. So you should eat a variety of fresh and unprocessed foods every day to get the vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, protein and antioxidants your body needs. Drink enough water. Avoid sugar, fat and salt to significantly lower your risk of overweight, obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain types of cancer,” the nutrition advice says.

Read it here.

The viral message also claims that the number of cases in the rural India are less, we checked if that infact was true or not. In this regards, we found a PTI report carried by Deccan Herald on September 5, 2020. The report says:

“Though there are no exact numbers about the spread of the virus into rural areas, there is enough evidence to suggest it has reaced most corners of India and there is ommunity transmission, say experts”

Read the entire report here.

We found an article posted by “International Crops Research Insititute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)” on May 24, 2020. The article titled, ‘COVID-19 CALLS FOR RENEWED FOCUS ON EATING RIGHT AND NATURAL‘, mentions, “Richness of millets in micro-nutrients can be gauged from the fact that few of them could be natural substitutes to correct micro-nutrient deficiencies in an individual. For example, finger millet (ragi) has three times more calcium than milk; and pearl millet, another popular nutri-cereal, has highest amount of folate amongst cereals.”

Read the article here.

During the internet search using some keywords, such as, ‘millets, immunity, coronavirus’, Vishvas News found an article published on April 28, 2020 in The Hindu’s Business Line.
The report was titled: Strong immunity is a key weapon in the fight against Covid-19
It mentions; Build good immune system with millets: IIMR (Indian Institute of Millets Research)

The report says: “There are many sources of foods that are known as immunity boosters, and being a staple cereal, millets may prove to be a promising source, especially relevant to the times of Covid-19 virus pandemic situation, they said.”

Read the entire report here.

This report too suggests building immunity through the consumption of millets, it does not specify that eating millets would provide protection from coronavirus.

Vishvas News in its last step of investigation interacted with Dr. Vilas A Tonapi director of Indian Institute of Millets Research. He told us that immunity is related to food and hence, it is advised to include millets in the food to boost immunity during the times of pandemic. He said that grains like jowar, ragi, foxtail, bajra and others are promising cereals which are nutritionally superior to major cereals and serve as a good source of protein, high dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and micronutrients. And hence these help in boosting the immunity.
However, he also stressed that there are is no validation on the claim that millets provide protection from coronavirus. There are no studies that suggest the same.

In the end we checked the page that had posted the claim on Facebook. The page, “वक्रतुंड फिटनेस क्लब राजगुरूनगर” is situated in Rajguru, a town in Maharashtra and it is followed by 457 people.

Conclusion: Vishvas News in its investigation found that there are no evidences that prove that millets provide protection from coronavirus. However, to build the immunity in times of the pandemic it is advised to include millets in the diet.

  • Claim Review : Millet Bread or Bajra Roti is effective in treating coronavirus
  • Claimed By : वक्रतुंड फिटनेस क्लब राजगुरूनगर
  • Fact Check : False
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