Shifting from wheat-based rotis to ones made with jowar or sorghum was not easy when I moved back with my parents during the lockdown. Being one to enjoy ghee-soaked phulkas, I was surprised to see the effect jowar had on me.
The rotis weren’t soft and were harder to chew; at first it felt like a task but within two weeks my bloating reduced and I felt more energised. My parents, who had already incorporated jowar as part of their healthy lifestyle habits, were happy to see I had got used to jowar rotis at a much younger age.
Jowar (also known as jawar, jondhalaa, jola and jwaarie) is easy to grow and maintain. It belongs to the Sorghum Vulgare family and is widely cultivated in Asia and Africa. It can be consumed in different forms such as bhakri, roti, idli and even dosa. It can also be eaten raw too. Recently, nutritionist Bhuvan Rastogi shared how jowar can be heated in a pan without oil and consumed directly.
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Packed with dietary fibre, calcium, protein, iron, potassium, niacin and more, jowar has several health benefits, from being gluten-free, controlling diabetes to aiding weight loss.
“Rich in protein, iron and copper, this gluten-free grain is known to play a crucial role in cellular function and repair. The rich quantity of potassium and phosphorus helps lower cholesterol and manage high blood pressure. Most importantly, the grain is incredibly rich in fibre and hence should be part of your daily diet,” Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner Shilpa Arora told NDTV.
Here’s an explanation of how jowar comes to the rescue and eradicates different health issues:
- Controlling Diabetes
Jowar is a complex carbohydrate which means it takes time to digest, thus ensuring the blood sugar levels do not spike. Additionally, fibre and protein too help in controlling the release of sugar in the blood.
The low glycemic index (GI) of Jowar which is 50 is also an indication of helping in controlling diabetes. GI index measures how these foods raise blood glucose after eating them.
Generally, diabetic patients are advised against consuming carbohydrates as they are loaded with sugar. Thus, jowar makes for an excellent alternative as carbohydrates are essential nutrients after all.
- A Healthy Heart
The fibre content in jowar helps in lowering LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular issues. Other properties of jowar such as antioxidants, magnesium, vitamin B and E and iron also keep heart diseases at bay.
- It is Gluten-free
Gluten, a mixture of proteins, can cause digestive issues such as stomach cramps, pain, bloating, constipation, gas, etc. in people with low tolerance for gluten or ones with celiac disease. Nearly 1% of the world’s population is gluten intolerant.
Grains like wheat, rye and barley are loaded with gluten and so jowar naturally becomes a healthy substitute.
- Helps in weight loss
Due to high concentration of dietary fibre, jowar ensures higher satiety levels or the degree at which one starts feeling full. This eliminates the need to consume food frequently while ensuring all the vital nutrients are present in your body. This helps in reducing calorie-intake and thereby some weight.
Every 100 grams of jowar contains 6.7 grams of fibre and 11 grams of protein which prevents the need to consume unhealthy snacks between two meals.
- Immunity Booster
From vitamins, antioxidants, minerals to proteins, jowar is a powerhouse millet. While vitamin B3 or niacin provide energy, iron helps in development of red blood cells and copper helps in absorbing iron from the gut. Magnesium and calcium improves bone and tissue health.
Edited by Yoshita Rao