Sorghum Millet

Sorghum, locally is well-known as jowar and is scientifically known as Sorghum bicolor (L.), In India sorghum is also called cholam or jonna in different parts of the country. Sorghum kernels appearing in white, red, brown and black, is an energy rich, high protein addition to predominantly rice based Indian diets. Its gluten free and low glycemic index properties have universalized this superfood in trendy cuisines. Jowar is a traditional staple grain consumed in northern parts of Karnataka.

Millets are referred to as smart foods that are good for the farmer, good for the planet and good for the individual. Highlighting their low production cost and superior nutritional profile, the government of India has encouraged millet incorporation in the diet in efforts to eliminate all form of malnutrition by 2030. This is one of the sustainable development goals set by the government for 2030.

Sorghum is the world’s fifth most important cereal, in terms of both production and area planted. In India, Jowar is the highest produced millets. It is produced in arid and semi arid regions, as the crop demands high temperature, less rainfall, pesticide and fertilizer usage for a good harvest. It is one of the leading agronomic crops that is drought tolerant, heat tolerant and one which can be grown in barren soil. It is grown majorly in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Orissa. Modern verities of this climate-smart crop are produced as kharif, rabi or summer sorghum across the country. Apart from incorporation in traditional food preparations, jowar is internationally used as a feed and fodder crop and fermented sorghum has also found its space in the production of ethanol, jaggery and paper making.

In addition to being a sustainable crop, sorghum has a plentiful list of nutritional benefits. Being rich in nutrients like potassium, phosphorous and calcium, it contains significant amounts of iron, zinc and sodium. With an abundance of micronutrients, it is drawing attention worldwide as a millet with the potential to treat malnutrition. Besides being a rich source of macronutrients, micronutrients, it also has a diverse range of phenolic compounds including phenolic acids, flavonoids and tannins.

Energy334 kcals
Protein10 g
Fat1.7 g
Fiber10.2 g
Calcium27 mg
Iron3.9 mg

Energy: It is an energy dense seeds providing 334 kcals per 100g contain a high proportion of non-starch carbohydrates including soluble and insoluble fibers, these fibers accounting to 10% of the seed have low digestibility and are considered a promising food source for individuals with diabetes and obesity.

Proteins: The valuably high concentration of proteins (10g/100g) in sorghum has been recently recognized for its use for improving the nutritional status of children with protein energy malnutrition and for other diverse utilization in high energy food products. The proteins present are in the form of glutamic acid proline and leucine. Another important prolamin protein called kafirin found in jowar seeds is utilized in the modern-day baking industry for its gluten free nature. Sorghum is a great source of plant-based protein, and provides as much of it as quinoa.

Fats: Although nutritionally rich, the fat content (1.7g/100 g) in sorghum is mainly comprised of good fats that include unsaturated fatty acids like oleic (omega-9) and linoleic acids (omega-9). These fats are mainly beneficial in maintaining a good lipid profile and protecting against heart disease stroke and rheumatoid arthritis.

Vitamins and minerals: Sorghum’s dense multivitamin profile including potassium, phosphorous magnesium and calcium and significant amounts of iron, zinc and sodium serve as a great addition to everyday diets. Sorghum is rich in a variety of B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid and beta carotene), which play an essential role in metabolism, nerve cell development and boosting health of hair and skin. The high mineral contents of jowar are especially beneficial for young children and adolescents in building cognitive abilities and immunity.

With these spectacular knowledges of nutritional benefits surfacing, the traditional recipes made in different parts of our country have gained attention. Some common preparations using jowar flour include “jowar roti” and “jolada mudde” which is jowar balls. These are traditional staples distinctively consumed in northern Karnataka. In recent times with the ever-increasing demands for plant based foods and gluten free alternatives to regular cereals, jowar has taken the front seat as a versatile ingredient with high nutritional composition. It has been successfully incorporated as a major component of multigrain flours, fermented tea and ready to eat products like breads and meat products. This trend has sparked an immense amount of interest from entrepreneurs to market a diverse utilization of these ancient superfood.