Our obsession with all-purpose flour or Maida is often a cause for concern amongst health experts across the country. No doubt that piping hot maida pooris and bhaturas are delicious and decadent, but the truth is that the consequences of loading up on maida may outnumber its benefits. Maida is processed, refined and bleached wheat flour and has been associated with many health woes including weight gain and constipation. Luckily, there are some healthy, and equally tasty, grains out there we could look at as alternatives to maida. One such millet that is a healthy alternative to the all-purpose flour is Jowar or Sorghum. Rich, Bitter-y and fibrous in texture, this millet is grown abundantly across India but often loses out owing to the wheat fixation that runs in our country. Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner Shilpa Arora says, "rich in protein iron and copper, this gluten free grain has been known to play a crucial role in cellular function and repair.The rich quantity of potassium and phosphorous 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."
Here are a few incredible benefits of Jowar that could convince you to include the superfood in your daily diet.
1. High of fibre
All millets are high in fibre, and jowar is no different. According to Bangalore-based nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood, jowar is packed with good quality fibre which can help facilitate your digestion, manage obesity, regulate blood sugar levels and curb the risk of high blood pressure and strokes. It is said that a single serving of jowar contains more than 12 grams. It makes for one of the best millets for diabetics.
Benefits of jowar: Jowar is packed with high quantum of fibre
2. Helps weight loss
The high fibre content in Jowar can help you shed a pound or two too. According to Dr. Anju, "Fibre takes the longest time to digest, which helps induce a feeling of being full for a longer spell. This prevents you from bingeing into other fattening foods, thereby saving you quite a few unwanted calories." Moreover, fibre stimulates your digestive system, which help you stay an optimal weight.
Benefits of jowar: Jowar's high fibre content can help aid weight loss
3. Rich source of protein
A cup of jowar has a whopping 22 grams of protein. Protein helps build muscles, cell regeneration, and induce a feeling of satiety- which can further help in your weight reduction diet. If you are looking to lose weight, add jowar instead of wheat in your diet and see it work wonders on your health and weight.
Jowar is a powerhouse of essential vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. It is loaded with good amounts of calcium, copper, zinc, phosphorous, potassium and cell-building B vitamins. The presence of these essential nutrients help keep the body healthy and keep all the ailments at bay.
5. Good for Diabetics
Dr. Anju says that Jowar is one of the best flours for those with a diabetic condition as it is a complex carbohydrate source. She says, "A diabetic needs to be very careful of his/her carb intake. Simple carbs are loaded in sugar which upon ingestion can trigger abnormal sugar spikes. But that doesn't mean they need to rule out carbs completely. Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients which are essential for sustenance and good health. They should maximize on complex carbs and try to eliminate as many sources of simple carbs as possible. Jowar, a complex carbohydrate, is digested slowly, prompting a more gradual rise in blood sugar."
Benefits of jowar: diabetic needs to be very careful of his/her carb intake
6. It is Gluten-free
For those who are suffering from gluten intolerance, gluten allergies or are diagnosed with celiac disease, Jowar makes for a brilliant wheat alternative. Gluten refers to a mixture of proteins found in wheat, rye, oats and barley, it may cause digestive problems such as bloating, pain and stomach cramps for those who are allergic to this protein. Jowar, a gluten-free whole grain, is considered an excellent alternative for people who suffer from 'gluten intolerance', the nutritional benefits are an added bonus.
There are multiple ways you can include Jowar in your diet, make rotis or sandwiches out of the flour. Food writer Sangeeta Khanna says, "Many people think millets are not tasty and not easy to work with. This is because they compare it with wheat and rice and apply the same methods to cook them. The reality is that many alternative grains are even more easy to cook than wheat or rice if you get the right product."
Go ahead, give our ancient and traditional grains the time they deserve on your dining table. Explore recipes and find the best way to include them into your diet.