Jowar is globally known as the “new quinoa” for its gluten-free and whole-grain goodness. It goes by the name of Sorghum in English. In India, jowar is a staple food item. It has many words in different states, namely, Cholam in Tamil Nadu and Jonna in Andhra Pradesh. Jowar is ground into flour that is used to make Rotis, bhakri, cheela, dosa, etc.
Since it is a member of the millet family, jowar is gaining massive attention these days. It is an ancient grain whose popularity was shadowed by wheat and rice. The revival of jowar is due to the shift in people’s mindset about consuming millets. From weight loss to improved heart health, jowar has a range of health benefits.
Table of contents
12 Health Benefits of Jowar
The high nutrient composition of jowar makes it a desirable grain when it comes to good health. Here are some of the several benefits of this whole grain:
Gluten is a protein component found in wheat and barley-based foods. It causes digestive problems such as bloating, pain, and stomach cramps. Jowar, a gluten-free whole grain, is considered an excellent alternative for people who suffer from ‘gluten intolerance’.
2. Rich in Fiber
Compared to other cereal grains like barley or rice, jowar contains a much higher concentration of fibre. A single serving contains over 12 grams, which is almost half the recommended daily intake for fibre. A high-fibre diet lowers the risk of obesity, stroke, high blood pressure, cardiac disease, diabetes, and digestive problems.
3. Controls Blood Sugar Levels
Jowar is a complex carbohydrate that digests slowly. As a result, it leads to stable blood sugar levels. Hence, it is a great diet choice for diabetics and people who want to lose weight.
4. High Protein
100 grams of Jowar provides 11 grams of protein, which supplies the body with energy and aids in cell regeneration.
5. Full of Iron
Jowar contains 8.45 mg of iron in every cup. Since the iron in jowar is non-heme (difficult to absorb), pairing it with a source of Vitamin C will give you the maximum benefit.
6. Good for Bone Health
Because it contains high magnesium levels, jowar helps maintain calcium levels in the body (magnesium increases calcium absorption).
7. Packed with Vitamins, Minerals, and Micronutrients
It contains B vitamins, which help the body build new tissues and cells and potassium and phosphorus. Additionally, Jowar contains traces of zinc, copper, and over 20 micronutrients and high levels of antioxidants.
8. Weight Loss
Jowar has a much higher concentration of dietary fibre when compared to other cereal grains. This high fibre content ensures higher satiety levels, lowering consumption by keeping hunger pangs at bay.
Therefore, the fibre content in Jowar reduces your appetite, making it the ideal whole grain option for weight loss.
9. Improves Digestive System
The high dietary fibre content in Jowar also helps improve digestion. The fibre is a bulking agent that helps stool pass smoothly through the digestive tract. The whole grain helps improve digestive health and helps to treat conditions like diarrhoea, bloating, stomach ache and constipation.
10. Improves Heart Health
The abundance of fibre in jowar helps lower LDL (or bad cholesterol) levels in the body, thus reducing the risk of a heart attack. The cholesterol-lowering properties of jowar also reduce the chances of hindered blood flow, arteriosclerosis and plaque formation.
The whole grain also contains antioxidants, apart from nutrients like magnesium, iron, and vitamins B and E. As a result, it helps avoid several cardiovascular conditions. Jowar also helps regulate plasma LDL cholesterol concentration while improving the HDL levels in the body.
11. Improves Energy Levels
Sorghum contains high amounts of niacin (or Vitamin B3). The B vitamin is integral in transforming food into energy usable by the body. Niacin ensures that the energy levels in the body are consistent throughout the day rather than observing sudden spikes of energy. A rich source of niacin, a single serving of Jowar accounts for 28% of the recommended daily intake.
12. Boosts Circulation
Iron and copper are two essential minerals found in Jowar. These minerals come together to play a vital role in improving the body’s blood circulation. Iron is crucial to developing red blood cells in the body, while copper helps enhance iron absorption in the body. Thus, consuming the grain helps improve the development of red blood cells.
It also improves the overall circulation of blood in the body while reducing the chances of anaemia. A single serving of Jowar can give you 58% of your daily recommended intake of copper.
Jowar vs Wheat
Jowar (100 g)
Wheat (100 g)
Upon comparing the nutrition values of Jowar and wheat, it is visible that the micronutrient content in both is similar. However, Jowar stands out when you consider factors such as glycemic index and gluten content. Since Jowar has a low glycemic index (62) compared to whole wheat (72), it takes more time to release glucose into the blood. Therefore, it helps prevent spikes in blood sugar levels.
In addition to that, it is also worth noting that Jowar is gluten-free, whereas wheat is not. So although its nutrition values may be similar, their glycaemic index and gluten content is reason enough to substitute wheat in your daily meals with Jowar.
How can you make Jowar a part of your daily diet?
Jowar is among the healthiest choices you can make for your daily carbohydrate intake. Given a typical balanced diet comprises 55-60% carbohydrates, you can have one or one-and-a-half servings of Jowar twice a day. Jowar is suited for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
- The easiest way to incorporate this millet into your diet is through roti. However, it is best to pair it with other cereals and pulses. For example, you can make multigrain atta by mixing 50% whole wheat with 50% Jowar and other grains like Bajra, Ragi, Soya, etc.
- You can also use this flour to make porridge, which is very healthy for children. Add Jowar with green mung, chana (Bengal gram) dal, sago (Sabudana), etc., to the multigrain atta, and cook it till it reaches the porridge consistency using one-part flour and three parts water.
- If you want to serve it savoury, add jeera (cumin) and salt. For sweet porridge, try Gur (jaggery) and milk instead. Adding crushed almonds will enhance its nutritional value.
- For South Indian dishes like dosas and idlis, you can add Jowar to the usual rice batter in a 2:1 ratio (two parts Jowar flour, one part rice idli batter). You can even make Jowar cupcakes by substituting the refined flour in any cupcake recipe with 50% whole wheat and 50% Jowar flour.
- Jowar is a little denser than whole wheat, and hence the taste may take a little getting used to at first. However, diversifying your food grains is the best way to increase the nutritional quotient of your daily diet.
Jowar Indian Recipes
Healthy food can be incredibly delicious too. These recipes let you enjoy the goodness of sorghum while also satisfying your taste buds.
#1 Jowar Pancake
- Jowar Flour – 1 ½ cup
- Garlic Paste – ½ tsp
- Ginger Chilli Paste – ½ tsp
- Onion – 1 (small)
- Tomato – 1 (small)
- Dhania / Cilantro – 1 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Oil to grease the pan
- Dice up the vegetables and keep them aside in a bowl.
- Add the Jowar flour, along with the finely diced onions, in a big bowl. Further add finely chopped tomatoes, coriander, garlic paste, ginger & chilli paste, and salt.
- Now mix all the ingredients with a spoon.
- Once everything is mixed, add water in batches and knead the dough.
- Once the dough is ready, take a small piece of it (the size of a small lemon), and press it in between your palms.
- Repeat the process with more small pieces of dough till you complete all of it. If you are not comfortable using your hands for this, you can use the help of a rolling board. You could also choose to use one big piece of dough instead of several small ones.
- Once a few of them are pressed, it’s time to roast them.
- Start greasing a heated skillet with oil, add the pressed dough, and then cook on a medium flame for 2 minutes.
- Flip them and cook for the next two minutes, or until golden spots appear on both sides.
- Remove them, and serve while hot.
#2 Dates and Coconut Modak with Jowar Flour
- Jowar Flour – 1 Cup
- Grated Fresh Coconut – 1/2 Cup
- Dates – 1/2 cup (chopped)
- White Sesame Seeds – 2 tbsp
- Ghee – 1 tsp
- A pinch of salt
- Dry roast the sesame seeds on a medium flame and continue this until they turn light brown. Now allow them to cool and grind to a fine powder.
- Grind the chopped dates till they form a paste. Add the paste, ground sesame seeds, & grated fresh coconut in a bowl and mix them well. Roll the mixture into small round balls and keep them aside.
- Add the flour and salt to a wide bowl. Add boiling water in batches to the flour. Mix it well with a spatula, and make a soft dough.
- Allow the dough to cool for 3-5 minutes before kneading it well, and ensure that the dough is soft & smooth.
- Use a little ghee to grease your palms. Then, flatten a ball of the rice flour dough.
- Place a ball of the date mixture in the middle and cover it from all sides to shape it into a ball.
- Steam cook this mixture in greased idli plates for 10-15 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
#3 Ragi and Jowar Kanji
- Ragi powder – 1/4 cup
- Jowar powder – 1/2 cup
- Jaggery to taste
- Water – 3 cups
- Elaichi (powder or whole)
- Roast the ragi and Jowar flour separately.
- Now, mix them and add water. Follow it by stirring the mixture well and make sure that there are no lumps. Finally, add the grated jaggery, as per your liking.
- Mix well until all the jaggery pieces have dissolved and the mixture is thick.
- Sprinkle some cardamom over the mixture for flavour.
Make this millet a regular part of your diet and enjoy these benefits. You could do so with the help of the delicious recipes mentioned above.
From weight loss to improved heart health, jowar has its own range of health benefits. Make the millet a regular part of your diet and enjoy these benefits. You could do so with the help of the delicious recipes mentioned above.
A: Jowar is high in fiber, and it keeps you full for longer periods. Thus, it prevents the consumption of excess calories and contributes to weight loss. It is also packed with essential vitamins and minerals.
A: Yes, one can eat jowar rotis on a daily basis.
A: Jowar is millet, and millets do contain carbohydrates. However, due to the higher amount of fiber, the carbs in jowar are complex carbs which doesn’t get digested as quickly.
A: No, it is not keto friendly. Jowar is a carbohydrate source and it might shoot up your carbohydrate content, therefore making it unsuitable for a keto diet.