Known as sorghum in English, Jowar is globally being touted as the “new quinoa” for its gluten-free, whole grain goodness. In India, Jowar, known as Cholam in Tamil and Jonna in Telugu, is a staple, especially in the western and southern parts of the country where it is ground into flour and is used to make rotis, bhakri, cheela, dosa etc.
The ancient grain, a member of the millet family, is having a revival at the moment as people shift away from refined wheat products which are not considered good for health.
Health Benefits of Jowar
Its high nutrient composition makes jowar a desirable grain when it comes to good health. Here are some of the several benefits of the whole-grain:
Gluten is a protein component found in wheat and barley-based foods, and is believed to cause 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‘ and it is rich in nutrients as well.
Rich in Fiber
Compared to other cereal grains like barley or rice, jowar contains a much higher concentration of fiber. A single serving contains more than 12 grams, which is more than the recommended daily intake of 48%. A high fiber diet lowers risk of obesity, stroke, high blood pressure, cardiac disease, diabetes and digestive problems.
Controls Blood Sugar Levels
Jowar, a complex carbohydrate, is digested slowly, prompting a more gradual rise in blood sugar. That’s why it’s a great diet choice for diabetics and people who want to lose weight.
One cup of jowar has 22 grams of protein, which supplies the body with energy as well as aids in cell regeneration.
Full of Iron
Jowar contains 8.45 milligrams of iron in every cup. Since the iron in jowar is non-heme (difficult to absorb), pairing it with meat or a source of Vitamin C will give you maximum benefit.
Good for Bone Health
Because it contains high levels of magnesium, jowar helps maintain calcium levels in the body (magnesium increases calcium absorption).
Packed with Vitamins, Minerals and Micronutrients
It contains B vitamins, which help the body build new tissues and cells, as well as potassium and phosphorous. Additionally, jowar contains traces of zinc, copper and over 20 micronutrients as well as high levels of antioxidants.
Jowar has a much higher concentration of dietary fiber, when compared to other cereal grains. A single serving contains more than 12 grams, contributing to 48% of the daily recommended fiber intake.
This high fiber content ensures higher satiety levels, leading to lower consumption by keeping hunger pangs at bay.
Therefore, the fiber content in jowar reduces your appetite, making it the ideal whole grain option for weight loss.
The high dietary fiber content in jowar also helps improve digestion. The fiber is a bulking agent that helps stool pass smoothly through the digestive tract.
The whole grain helps improve digestive health and is useful in treating conditions like diarrhea, bloating, stomach ache and constipation.
Improves Heart Health
As discussed earlier, jowar is rich in dietary fiber. The abundance of fiber in it helps lower LDL (or bad cholesterol) levels in the body, thus reducing the risk of 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. This helps avoid several cardiovascular conditions.
Jowar also helps regulate plasma LDL cholesterol concentration, while improving the HDL levels in the body.
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 through 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.
Iron and copper are two important minerals found in jowar. These minerals come together to play a key role in improving the body’s blood circulation.
Iron is crucial to the development of red blood cells in the body, while copper helps enhance the absorption of iron in the body. Thus, consuming the grain helps improve the development of red blood cells, and improves the overall circulation of blood in the body, while also reducing the chances of anaemia.
A single serving of jowar can give you 58% of your daily recommended intake of copper.