jowar good for diabetes
Nutrition

Is Jowar good for diabetes?

Jowar or sorghum millet is one of the oldest cultivated cereal crops in tropical countries and has been an age-old recipe in Indian households, especially for making rotis and chapatis. They are an excellent substitute for processed flours and are high in fibre. However, it is moderately high in glycemic index (GI) and should be consumed in moderation – especially for people with high blood sugar levels and those living with diabetes. However, if taken in moderation, jowar provides plenty of both macro and micro nutrients to allow for healthy, sustainable dietary and lifestyle habits. Let us read in detail Is Jowar good for diabetes or not

Nutritional Profile

Jowar is a nutrient-rich grain, with a quarter cup jowar having

  • 163 Kcal
  • 5 grams of protein
  • 2 grams of fat
  • 36 grams of carbohydrates
  • 3 grams of fibre

100 grams of cooked Jowar has,

  •  329 Kcal
  • 11 grams of protein
  • 3 grams of fat
  • 72 grams of carbohydrates
  • 7 grams of fibre
  • 8.4 milligrams of iron

Besides, jowar is also rich in micronutrients like vitamin B1 (thymine), vitamin B6, vitamin E, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc. An important anti-cancer compound 3-deoxyanthocyanidins is also found in Jowar. Jowar is indeed a powerhouse of nutrients.

Vitamin B is crucial in metabolic processes, nervous growth and development and maintenance of healthy hair and skin. Magnesium is a crucial microelement required for over 600 metabolic processes in the body. Along with calcium, magnesium is also crucial in bone health since it helps in regulating calcium absorption in the body. Jowar being rich in flavonoids, phenolic acids, and tannins, also helps reduce oxidative stress in the body and reduces inflammation.

Sorghum syrup is another substitute for molasses in many sectors of the food industry.

Advantages of Jowar for Diabetes

The high fibre content of jowar helps in keeping blood sugar levels at bay. It also helps in maintaining a healthy digestive system, and ensures smooth passage of stool through the bowels. Not only does this help people with diabetes, but also for people in general, who are watchful of their diet and those suffering from constipation. It is moderately high in GI, which means that it causes a spike in blood sugar levels when consumed, but the high fibre content ensures that one is full after consuming jowar, keeping hunger pangs at bay. Crucial macro and micronutrients ensure metabolic processes are regulated, and the high fibre content (almost 25% of the required fibre as per the daily recommendation) also keeps LDL cholesterol levels on the lower side.

Jowar is a plant-based protein and jowar flour has certain phytochemical compounds that can reduce insulin sensitivity. It also reduces hepatic gluconeogenesis (the process by which the liver secretes glucose).

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Other health benefits of Jowar

Sorghum or jowar is a gluten-free grain. Gluten is a compound that gives a starch-like consistency to grains. A certain population is sensitive to gluten or has celiac disease, because of which they face digestion issues with most flours. Jowar is an excellent substitute in this case.

Even for people following a paleo or any other grain-free diet, jowar is extremely useful. Jowar flour, made by grinding the grains to a powdery consistency, can be used to make freshly baked products like bread, cookies, or other desserts. However, you should be careful while buying jowar, as some of the mills and machineries used to pack jowar may also be used to pack other gluten-rich flours. Make sure to go through the product labels before buying.

Ways to Consume Jowar for people with diabetes

The best way to consume jowar is for breakfast. Having dosa, upma or cheelas from jowar flour can help boost the digestive system in the morning and ensure optimal energy levels for the rest of the day. Some people also have raw jowar added to a porridge made from different forms of millet and oats. Another popular way to consume jowar is through jowar flour, which is kneaded with other flours like bajra, to make delicious rotis or chapatis. They can be had with chickpeas or with vegetable curries.

Best Time to Consume Jowar for people with Diabetes

Jowar is best consumed in the morning, but is also consumed at night (provided dinner is early). There should be adequate time to digest the food and use the energy throughout the day, which is why it is recommended to have it earlier in the day.

Risks of Over Consuming Jowar

Jowar is moderately high in GI, which means that it can cause a decent spike in the blood sugar levels if not monitored correctly. People with excessively high blood sugar levels should consult a dietician before going for a heavy jowar-based diet. Besides, it is also high in iron, which may cause kidney stones in people already dealing with kidney issues. It is also not recommended for people with gastric and acidity issues, since over consumption of jowar may lead to people feeling bloated too easily. Over consumption of any grain may cause weight gain as well. Moderation is the key when it comes to anything, and jowar is no exception.

Bottomline

Sorghum millet or jowar is an excellent, plant-based substitute to the other available flours. It is a whole grain and provides enough fibre and nutrients for the body to perform its basic functions without any hassles – most important ones being digestion and metabolism. People with high blood sugar can have jowar to ensure a stable glucose profile through the day. Jowar can be consumed by people with celiac disease, hypertension and cardiac complications, albeit with the doctor’s supervision. It is best had as a breakfast or lunch item. If you have dinner, you need to ensure there is adequate time for digestion before you hit the bed. It is also useful in weight loss if it is in the correct amount.

FAQs

1. Can jowar increase blood sugar? 

Jowar is one of the best grains for a person with diabetes as it is digested slowly and therefore, results in a slow rise in the blood sugar levels in the body. For people living with diabetes, this whole grain is often a must-have in the diet plan. It also helps the person feel full for a long time post-meal which, in turn, helps in curbing the extra hunger pangs. 

2. Which is better for diabetes, jowar or wheat? 

Dieticians often recommend a person with diabetes include jowar in their diet more as compared to wheat. This is because of a few reasons – it is high in dietary fiber, it helps in the process of digestion, and it is a rich source of protein, iron, vitamin B, and antioxidants. Another major benefit is also that jowar is gluten-free and wheat is not. 

3. Which flour is best for diabetic patients?

Finding food options for a person with diabetes needs to incorporate many different aspects. Low-carb flours that can be consumed daily would be ideal – almond flour, chickpea flour, jowar, ragi flour, etc are known to be suitable options that would not end up spiking the blood sugar levels and, therefore, can be consumed daily as a part of different meals.

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