Jowar is mostly consumed in the southern and western parts of India, though it is still wheat that dominates the urban landscape. This might be due to less awareness, benefits and facts regarding jowar. It is important to compare these two kinds of cereal to understand some benefits of consuming jowar over wheat. This is especially true during the winter season as jowar is a preferred nutritional food item that’s perfect for the cold weather.

Nutritional Value Of Jowar And Wheat

Jowar (1 Serving Approx)Nutritional ContentWheat (1 Serving Approx)Nutritional Content
Energy97 kcalsEnergy103 kcals
Carbohydrates25 gmsCarbohydrates22 gms
Protein3 gmsProtein2.7 gms
Fats1 gmFats0.4 gms
Fiber2 gmsFiber0.7 gms
Other NutrientsOther Nutrients
Calcium8 mgCalcium4 gms
Iron1 mgIron0.4 gms
Phosphorus83 mgPhosphorus31 mg
Potassium99 mgPotassium30 mg

From the above two charts, you can compare the two kinds of cereal. You might understand by comparing the two, that Jowar is lower in calories and slightly higher in protein compared to wheat. Jowar is also higher in fibre compared to wheat.

Jowar has also higher amounts of calcium, phosphorus, potassium and iron compared to wheat. This doesn’t mean that you should eliminate wheat from your diet completely. It only means that Jowar can be used as an alternative to wheat and is much healthier.

Benefits Of Jowar

Now that you know the nutritional values of wheat and jowar, let us look into some benefits of Jowar.

1. Better Source Of Fibre

All millets generally are a good source of fibre, so jowar is no exception. Fibre helps in the regulation of blood glucose levels, blood pressure and also aids in digestion.

2. Good For Diabetics

Jowar has a glycemic index of 62 which is a moderate GI but as Jowar is a good source of fibre, there is a reduction in glucose levels seen. Jowar is also digested slowly, which can reduce a sudden surge in glucose levels.

3. Aids In Weight Loss And Digestion

The fibre content in Jowar helps in achieving satiety leading to lesser consumption of foods rich in fat. Fibre also helps in the growth of good microflora and thus helps reduce digestive issues.

4. Gluten-Free For Gluten Intolerants!

People suffering from gluten sensitivity or celiac disease have to avoid wheat and wheat products. Jowar is definitely a healthier and tastier alternative for them. Jowar is also loaded with nutrients and antioxidants.

5. Has Antioxidant And Anti-Aging Properties

Jowar is a good source of antioxidants that can help in neutralizing free radicals. Jowar also contains phytochemicals, anthocyanins and phenolic acids that have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. 

Benefits Of Wheat

Just because jowar has a variety of benefits doesn’t mean you have to eliminate wheat from your diet. Some benefits of wheat are as follows.

1. Whole Wheat Is A Good Source Of Nutrients And Fibre

Whole wheat is a good source of fibre which promotes healthy digestion and also lowers blood pressure, glucose as well as cholesterol levels. B vitamins are required for the maintenance of body metabolism. Additionally whole wheat also contains selenium, folate and manganese.

2. Whole Wheat Contains Antioxidants

Some antioxidants present in wheat include Ferulic acid, Lignans, Lutein and Phytic acid. Antioxidants play a protective role against diseases and help in the maintenance of a healthy body.

3. Promotes Digestive Health

As whole grains are rich in fibre, it helps in enhancing good microbiota in the gut and also prevents the development of pathogenic microbes. Fibre also helps in increasing bulk to the stools thus reducing the occurrence of constipation.

Nutritious Recipes

This season, make the switch from wheat to jowar with ease. Here are three delicious recipes for a complete meal with the goodness of jowar and seasonal foods that are nutritious.

1. Jowar Roti

You can try replacing your usual roti made up of wheat flour with jowar to get added taste as well as health benefits.

Cooking time: 20-25 mins

Nutritional values (1 roti approx)

Energy: 25 kcals

Carbohydrates: 14 gms

Protein: 2.5 gms

Fat: 0.5 gms

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup jowar 
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for cooking

Method:

  1. Heat water in a pan and add the required amount of water to jowar flour. Add the required amount of salt and knead well.
  2. Divide the dough into 10-12 portions. Roll it out into rotis using your hands.
  3. Heat the tava and add the rotis to tava. Add the required amount of oil and cook the rotis. Flip over and cook the other side as well. Serve hot.

2. Aloo Baingan Masala Gravy

You can consume this tasty gravy with jowar rotis and you don’t need to worry about your kids being grumpy anymore!

Cooking time: 20-25 mins

Nutritional values (1 serving approx)

Energy: 135 kcals

Carbohydrates: 11 gms

Protein: 2.5 gms

Fat: 8 gms

Calcium: 40 mg

Iron: 2 mg

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 small potatoes 
  • 1-2 brinjals
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small tomato
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp jeera
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala powder
  • Few coriander leaves (optional)
  • Oil for cooking

Method:

  1. Chop the potatoes, brinjals, onion and tomato.
  2. In a pan, heat oil. Add jeera and let it crackle. Now add onions and saute till it becomes translucent.
  3. Add tomatoes after the onions become translucent. Add ginger-garlic paste. Cook for a few minutes.
  4. Add chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder. Saute properly.
  5. Now add the brinjals and potatoes. Cook well. Add water, salt and cover the pan. Let it cook for a few minutes.
  6. Open the lid and add more salt and water if required. Stir well. Garnish with coriander leaves.
  7. Serve with hot jowar rotis.

3. Kachumber

This tasty salad can be consumed with hot rice or rotis for better digestion and satiety.

Cooking time: 10-15 mins

Nutritional values (1 serving approx)

Energy: 30 kcals

Carbohydrates: 10 gms

Protein: 1.5 gms

Fat: 0 gms

Calcium: 28 mg

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 small radish (optional)
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp ground jeera powder (optional)
  • Salt as required

Method:

  1. Wash and chop all the vegetables namely onion, tomato, cucumber, carrot and radish.
  2. Combine all the chopped vegetables in a bowl. Add salt, lemon juice and ground jeera powder. Mix well.
  3. Consume with jowar rotis and potato brinjal gravy.

Key Takeaways

  1. Store jowar flour in an airtight container. It is better to use it up within a month.
  2. People with gluten sensitivity or wheat allergy can switch to Jowar.
  3. Consume whole wheat instead of processed ones available in the market.
  4. Jowar can be used to make not just rotis but also muthias, cakes, tacos, khakras, puris and porridges.
  5. It might be useful to incorporate a binding agent (like eggs, cream) while cooking jowar related recipes.
  6. While making jowar rotis, it is better to use hands rather than rolling pins as jowar lacks the elasticity of wheat flour.

If you are uncomfortable using jowar alone in your recipe (example: rotis) then you can combine other cereals like wheat, ragi and bajra as well.