Is Bajra Good for Diabetes? Decoding the Facts

Aditi Shenai

January 4, 2023

Bajra is a type of millet that is edible and widely grown in India and Africa. It comes in various shades of white, yellow, grey, brown, and bluish-purple. 

Bajra is a beneficial food for those with type 2 diabetes, as it is high in magnesium and has high fibre content, and slowly digests starch, which takes longer to turn into glucose. For those who are gluten-free, bajra is an excellent alternative.

It is no secret that it is not possible to cure diabetes totally. However, one can certainly manage it with proper diet and lifestyle modifications. Have you thought about incorporating millet into your diabetic diet?

Bajra is one particular millet with high nutritional content that benefits those with diabetes. Studies also confirm that bajra is one of the diabetes-friendly millets with a high nutritional profile.

Nutritional Profile of Bajra

The Glycemic Index of Bajra is 54. One hundred grams of millet contain the following nutrients.

  • Energy: 378 kCal
  • Protein: 11g
  • Total Fats: 4.22g
  • Carbohydrates: 72.8g
  • Fibre: 8.5g
  • Calcium: 8mg
  • Potassium: 195mg
  • Selenium: 2.7 µg
  • Folate: 85 µg

Benefits of Bajra for Diabetes Patients

Rich in Fibre

Bajra is a type of millet high in dietary fibre, which can help the body better regulate blood sugar levels. Therefore, bajra is a beneficial grain to include in a diabetes diet.

Further, its high dietary fibre content delays glucose absorption into the bloodstream. This, in turn, can help to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Regulates Insulin

Bajra is high in magnesium, a mineral that helps to regulate insulin levels in the body. Studies have shown that people who consume more magnesium are at a lower risk for type 2 diabetes.

Rich in Minerals

Bajra is rich in nutrients such as phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and vitamin B, which are beneficial for digestion and help to break down carbohydrates. It also reduces many heart problems, promotes good cholesterol, and lowers bad cholesterol.

Rich in Antioxidants

Bajra is also a good source of antioxidants, which can help to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.

As a result, it can help to reduce the risk of developing diabetes-related complications, such as heart disease and stroke.

Low Glycemic Index

Bajra is a low-glycemic food that does not cause a sudden spike in blood sugar levels. As a result, it can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of diabetes.


Bajra is high in protein, which can help to increase satiety and reduce cravings for unhealthy foods. As a result, it can help reduce the risk of weight gain, a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Overall, the high fibre and nutrient value of Bajra make it a perfect option for a diabetes diet.

Does Bajra Reduce the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes?

Research suggests that millet can help control blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes. Therefore, experts recommend people of all backgrounds, including diabetics, pre-diabetics, and non-diabetics, include millet in their diet as a preventive measure against the condition.

A recent study has revealed that consuming high-fibre foods like bajra can lead to improved outcomes in managing type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Bajra has a moderate glycemic index (GI) of 54. Researchers concluded that bajra could help reduce fasting and postprandial (after meals) blood sugar levels in healthy individuals and those with type 2 diabetes.

The HealthifyMe Note

Bajra is an ideal meal choice for diabetic patients since it is packed with nutrients and has a moderate glycemic index of 54. However, the substantial protein and fibre content lower the glycemic load. It helps in slowing glucose absorption and reduces spikes in blood sugar. And since it offers various advantages, a diabetic diet plan must include it.

Ways to Use Bajra for Diabetes

One should talk to a doctor before including carbohydrate rich food in their diet.

You may begin your journey by consulting with a coach at HealthifyMe to achieve the change you deserve. But here are some quick recipes which you can make at home and relish without putting in much effort:

1. Bajra Dosa

  • Soak 1 cup of bajra and ½ cup of urad dal in water overnight.
  • Drain the water
  • Add ¼ cup of soaked poha after blending the ingredients 
  • Allow the batter to ferment overnight.
  • Additionally, you may season the batter with salt, pepper, and other spices before cooking the dosa and serve it with sambhar. 

2. Bajra Cauliflower Roti

  • Combine all the ingredients- bajra, grated cauliflower, coriander, etc. in a deep bowl. 
  • Knead into the soft-smooth dough, using enough water.
  • Divide the dough into small balls.
  • Roll out one portion of the dough and make roti.
  • Place the roti on a hot tawa. Flip in a few seconds.
  • Cook the other side for a few more seconds.
  • Serve hot with the curry of your choice.

3. Bajra Khichdi

  • Take one cup of bajra, 1/2 cup of urad dal, 1/2 cup of tur dal, or any other lentil to prepare bajra khichdi.
  • Take a big tray, add 1 cup of bajra and 4–5 tablespoons of water, and use a blender to mix it.
  • Next, add the lentils and bajra to a pressure cooker and some water, salt, pepper, and turmeric.
  • Release the steam after three whistles, then transfer to a bowl.
  • When the pan is hot, add ghee, cumin seeds, onions, tomatoes, and green chillies, sauté until soft, and then pour in the tempering. 

The HealthifyMe Note

Bajra contains significant amounts of phytochemicals, polyphenols, and antioxidants, all of which can improve human health in various ways.  However, research indicates that some minerals in bajra, such as iron and zinc, may not be adequately absorbed by your body due to beneficial polyphenols. Additionally, even though some antinutrients in bajra prevent the absorption of other vitamins and minerals, most people, even those on a gluten-free diet, can safely consume the grain.


Bajra is a great option to incorporate into your diet if you have access to it, as you can substitute it for quinoa or rice in various grain-based dishes.

There are numerous benefits to adding bajra to your diabetic diet plan, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking to protect themselves from health issues.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Does bajra increase blood sugar?

A: Bajra is a type of millet known to be beneficial for maintaining blood sugar levels. It is rich in fibre, which helps slow down sugar absorption into the bloodstream. Additionally, bajra contains magnesium, which helps regulate blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that consuming bajra regularly may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. 

Q.  Is jowar or bajra good for diabetic patients?

A: Jowar and bajra are both highly nutritious grains that can be beneficial for diabetic patients. They are both rich sources of fibre, which can help to reduce blood sugar levels. They also contain various vitamins and minerals, which can help support the body’s metabolism and overall health. Furthermore, the low glycemic index of both grains makes them an excellent choice for people with diabetes and those trying to manage their weight. 

Both grains are gluten-free, making them ideal for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. In conclusion, jowar and bajra are excellent options for diabetic patients as they provide a range of health benefits.

Q. Which is better for diabetes- wheat or bajra?

A: Wheat and bajra are both important sources of nutrition for those with diabetes. While both grains contain carbohydrates, bajra, or pearl millet, is considered to be more beneficial for those with diabetes than wheat. Bajra is high in dietary fibre, which helps slow digestion and absorption of carbohydrates and sugar. Additionally, it is high in magnesium, which helps regulate blood sugar levels.

Q. How to use bajra for diabetes?

A: Eating bajra as part of a balanced diet can help manage diabetes. To use bajra for diabetes, one can incorporate it into meals in various ways. For example, it can be ground into flour and used to make chapatis and rotis or used as porridge. Adding bajra to salads, soups, and stews can also be a great way to add extra nutrition and fibre. Bajra can also be boiled and mashed to make a tasty side dish. Finally, one can use bajra to make a diabetic-friendly sweet dish like halwa. Incorporating bajra into your diet can be beneficial for people with diabetes who are looking to manage their condition.

About the Author

M.Sc in: Dietetics and Applied Nutrition from Manipal University. Worked: All over India and have been involved in helping set up nutrition departments in start ups. Interested in lifestyle based nutrition. Mantra: A healthy lifestyle isn't a choice to be made or discarded, it's a way of life!

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