Jowar vs Bajra for Diabetes: Which One Is Better?

Diabetes has become a pressing health concern globally, with India ranking among the nations with the highest prevalence of this metabolic disorder. With approximately 74.9 million diabetics in 2021, projected to surge to 124.9 million by 2045, the need for effective diabetes management strategies is paramount. While medication plays a crucial role, dietary choices also significantly impact blood sugar levels.

Contrary to the misconception that Indian cuisine is synonymous with high-sugar and high-carb foods, traditional Indian meals like sabzi and roti provide a balanced and nutritious foundation for daily sustenance. Grains like jowar and bajra have been cultivated in India for centuries and are revered for their resilience, nutritional richness, and versatility in culinary applications. Both jowar and bajra offer many health benefits that make them invaluable additions to diabetic-friendly diets. Let’s take a closer look at them and explore the answer to the question: Which is better for diabetes management: Jowar or Bajra?

GI of Jowar and Bajra

Foods with a low GI are digested and absorbed slowly, causing a gradual rise in blood sugar levels, which is favorable for diabetes management. Generally, millets have a lower glycemic index (GI) than many other grains. Same is the case with Jowar and Bajra. As per Research Gate glycemic index of Jowar is around 62 and that of Bajra is around 52. These millets are hence digested and absorbed slowly, leading to a gradual increase in blood sugar levels. This characteristic aligns well with dietary recommendations for diabetes management, offering a stable source of energy without causing significant spikes in blood glucose levels.

Read More: Is Oats Good For Diabetics ? Glycemic Index of Oats

Nutritional Profile of Jowar

This gluten-free grain has been making waves in the health community for its impressive nutritional profile and numerous health benefits, especially for those with diabetes. With its high fiber content and relatively low glycemic index, sorghum can help regulate blood sugar levels, making it an excellent choice for people with diabetes. Just half a cup of whole-grain sorghum contains a wealth of nutrients tailored to support your health goals. As per WebMD, the nutrient profile of Jowar looks like this:

Nutrient Amount per Half Cup (Approx.) How it Helps in Diabetes Management
Calories 316 Provides energy for daily activities
Protein 10 grams Helps regulate blood sugar levels and promote satiety
Fat 3.3 grams Aids in absorption of fat-soluble vitamins
Carbohydrates 69 grams Source of energy; important to monitor for blood sugar control
Fiber 6.45 grams Slows down digestion, helps control blood sugar levels
Iron 19% of RDA for women and 40% of RDA for men Supports proper blood circulation and energy production
Potassium 330 milligrams Helps regulate blood pressure and improve insulin sensitivity
Niacin 2.7 milligrams Supports healthy cholesterol levels and circulation
Thiamine 0.7 milligrams Essential for carbohydrate metabolism and nerve function
Vitamin B6 0.4 milligrams Supports glucose metabolism and nerve health
Phosphorus 292 milligrams Important for bone health and energy metabolism
Manganese 1.7 milligrams Supports antioxidant defenses and carbohydrate metabolism
Magnesium 126 milligrams Enhances insulin sensitivity and helps regulate blood sugar levels

Read More: Is Sooji or Rava Good for Diabetes Patients?

Nutritional Profile of Bajra

Managing diabetes is all about regulating your blood sugar levels, and bajra can play a crucial role in this. Rich in magnesium, bajra helps control glucose receptors in the body, reducing insulin resistance and promoting better blood sugar control. Incorporating bajra into your diet can be as simple as enjoying it as a wholesome grain in salads, soups, or as a side dish. Experiment with bajra flour to create nutritious rotis, pancakes, or porridge. However you choose to enjoy it, adding bajra to your meals can be a delicious and nutritious way to support your health, whether you’re managing diabetes, aiming to lose weight, or simply seeking to improve your overall well-being.

As per WebMD, here is what the nutritional profile of Bajra looks like and how these nutrients help in diabetes management:

Nutrient Amount per 1 cup (170g) cooked millet How it helps in diabetes management
Calories 201 Provides energy for daily activities
Protein 6 grams Helps maintain muscle mass and stabilize blood sugar levels
Fat 1.7 grams Provides essential fatty acids
Carbohydrates 40 grams Supplies energy and should be managed carefully
Fiber 2 grams Slows down glucose absorption and promotes satiety
Folate 8% of DV Supports cell function and may reduce risk of complications
Iron 6% of DV Essential for red blood cell production
Magnesium 18% of DV Improves insulin sensitivity and helps regulate blood sugar
Thiamine 15% of DV Supports energy metabolism and nerve function
Niacin 14% of DV Helps lower LDL cholesterol levels
Phosphorus 14% of DV Supports bone health and energy metabolism
Zinc 14% of DV Aids in wound healing and immune function
Riboflavin 11% of DV Helps convert food into energy and supports eye health
Vitamin B6 11% of DV May improve glucose tolerance and reduce inflammation

Read More: Is Dried Fig Good for Diabetes?

Comparison of Jowar and Bajra with Whole Wheat Flour

Small dietary changes can make a significant impact on your health and well-being. By considering alternatives like jowar and bajra over traditional whole wheat flour, you’re taking proactive steps to support your blood sugar control and overall health. As per USDA, here’s a nutritional breakdown of jowar and bajra compared to whole wheat flour.

Nutrient (per 100g) Whole Wheat Flour Refined Flour Jowar Flour Bajra Flour
Calories 339 364 329 361
Protein 13.2g 10.3g 10.4g 11.6g
Fat 2.5g 1.0g 1.7g 5.3g
Carbohydrates 71.2g 76.3g 72.2g 67.7g
Fiber 12.2g 2.7g 6.7g 8.5g
Calcium 34mg 15mg 25mg 42mg
Iron 3.9mg 3.5mg 3.4mg 8.0mg
Magnesium 138mg 23mg 165mg 114mg
Phosphorus 346mg 99mg 287mg 285mg
Potassium 363mg 95mg 287mg 252mg
Sodium 2mg 2mg 2mg 5mg
Zinc 2.9mg 0.7mg 2.9mg 1.4mg
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) 0.41mg 0.05mg 0.29mg 0.33mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.17mg 0.04mg 0.15mg 0.29mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 5.5mg 3.6mg 2.2mg 4.7mg
Vitamin B6 0.5mg 0.1mg 0.4mg 0.4mg
Vitamin E 0.61mg 0.1mg 0.6mg 0.8mg

Read More: Are Pistachios Good for Diabetics

Choosing Between Jowar and Bajra for Your Diabetes Management

Choosing Between Jowar and Bajra for Your Diabetes Management

As seen above, both jowar and bajra offer valuable nutritional benefits and can be part of your healthy diet when managing diabetes. However, choosing between the two depends on your individual preferences, dietary goals, and how well they fit into your balanced meal plan. You may consider the following factors to make an informed decision:

Your Personal Preferences

Consider your taste preferences and how each grain fits into your meal preferences. Some may find jowar’s slightly nutty flavor more appealing, while others prefer the slightly sweeter taste of bajra. Experimenting with both grains in different recipes can help you determine which one you enjoy more and feel satisfied with.

Your Glycemic Goals

Balancing your blood sugar levels is crucial, and both jowar and bajra can play a role in achieving this. Jowar’s high fiber content slows down the absorption of sugar, which can help prevent spikes in blood glucose levels. Bajra’s complex carbohydrates provide sustained energy, keeping your blood sugar levels more stable over time. Consider which grain aligns better with your glycemic goals and dietary needs.

Meal Planning Considerations

Pay attention to portion sizes and how they fit alongside other components of your meal, such as lean proteins, vegetables, and healthy fats. Creating well-rounded meals that include these grains can help support your blood sugar management while providing essential nutrients.


Consider how easily digestible each grain is for you personally. Some may find one grain easier to digest than the other, which can impact postprandial blood sugar levels and overall digestive comfort.

Read More: 10 Low Glycemic Fruits for Diabetics

Availability and Cost

Evaluate the availability and cost of both grains in your area. Depending on where you live, one grain may be more accessible or affordable than the other.

Variety in Preparation

Explore the variety of ways each grain can be prepared and incorporated into meals. From traditional dishes to modern recipes, both jowar and bajra offer versatility in the kitchen. Consider which grain offers a wider range of preparation methods that suit your culinary preferences and lifestyle.

Impact on Satiety

Assess how each grain affects your feelings of fullness and satisfaction after eating. Choosing a grain that keeps you feeling satisfied for longer can help prevent overeating and better regulate blood sugar levels throughout the day.

Potential Allergies or Sensitivities

Take into account any known allergies or sensitivities you may have to either grain. While both jowar and bajra are gluten-free and generally well-tolerated, individual reactions can vary. If you have a history of allergies or sensitivities, consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating either grain into your diet.

Remember to listen to your body’s response and adjust your dietary choices accordingly for optimal health and well-being.

Read More: Is Wheat Roti (Chapati) Good for Diabetes?

Easy Jowar and Bajra Recipes

Easy Jowar and Bajra Recipes

One of the best ways to get the benefits of these two grains is to substitute your daily wheat chapati with Jowar and Bajra Roti. The flour used to make roti greatly impacts its taste, texture, and nutritional value. While refined flour and whole wheat flour may offer convenience and a softer texture, jowar, and bajra flours provide superior nutrition and health benefits. Let’s take a look at some more easy recipes:


A comforting one-pot meal, bajra/jowar khichdi combines cooked bajra/jowar with lentils, vegetables, and aromatic spices. Serve it hot with a dollop of ghee for added flavor.


Swap semolina for bajra/jowar to make a nutritious and hearty upma. Saute onions, green chilies, and vegetables before adding soaked bajra/jowar and water. Cook until the bajra/jowar is tender, and garnish with fresh coriander.


Blend soaked bajra/jowar with rice and urad dal to make a batter. Ferment the batter overnight and prepare dosas as usual. Serve with coconut chutney or sambar. Similarly, you can also create bajra/jowar uttapam.


A delicious dessert option, bajra/jowar kheer is made by simmering cooked bajra/jowar in milk until thick and creamy. Add nuts and raisins for extra richness. Ensure you do not use sugar.

Read More: 9 Impressive Health Benefits of Eating Dates (Khajoor)


Combine cooked bajra/jowar with chopped vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Toss with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper for a refreshing salad.


Use flattened bajra/jowar grains to make a nutritious version of poha. Saute with mustard seeds, curry leaves, onions, and peanuts for a wholesome breakfast option.


Combine bajra/jowar flour with yogurt, ginger-green chili paste, and spices to make a thick batter. Steam until cooked through and serve with green chutney.


Cook bajra/jowar with milk or water until soft and creamy. Sweeten with honey or maple syrup and top with chopped fruits and nuts for a wholesome breakfast.


Mix bajra/jowar flour with wheat flour, chopped spinach, and spices. Roll out into parathas and cook on a griddle with ghee until golden brown and crispy. Similarly you can also cook bajra/jowar khakhra for a healthy on the go snack option.

Read More: Quinoa and Diabetes


Choosing between jowar and bajra for diabetes management involves considering a variety of factors, including personal preferences, glycemic goals, nutritional content, digestibility, availability, and cost. Both grains offer valuable benefits and can be incorporated into a balanced diet to support stable blood sugar levels and overall health.

Regardless of which grain you choose, incorporating jowar or bajra into your meals can provide delicious and nutritious options for managing diabetes. Experiment with different recipes and cooking methods to discover new flavors and textures that suit your palate and dietary needs.

Read More: Is Brown Bread Good for Diabetics ?

FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

Is bajra or jowar better for people with diabetes?

Both bajra and jowar are nutritious options for individuals with diabetes. They are low in glycemic index (GI) and can help manage blood sugar levels effectively.

Is bajra allowed in a diabetic diet?

Yes, bajra is allowed in a diabetic diet. It is a whole grain with a low GI, making it a suitable choice for people looking to control their blood sugar levels.

Can jowar raise blood sugar levels?

Jowar has a low GI and is unlikely to significantly raise blood sugar levels when consumed in moderation. It can be included as part of a balanced diet for people with diabetes.

Which flour is the best choice for diabetics?

Whole grain flours such as bajra and jowar flour are considered the best choices for diabetics due to their low GI and high fiber content. They can help regulate blood sugar levels more effectively compared to refined flours.

Can people with diabetes consume jowar roti?

Yes, people with diabetes can include jowar roti in their meals. Jowar roti is a nutritious alternative to wheat roti, as it is made from whole grain sorghum flour and has a lower impact on blood sugar levels.

Which type of roti is recommended for diabetics?

Rotis made from whole grain flours like bajra or jowar are recommended for people with diabetes. These options have a lower GI and can contribute to better blood sugar management when included as part of a balanced diet.

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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