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The Vitamins in Jowar

By Suzanne Allen

Jowar is a common name for sorghum (Sorghum bicolor Moench). This tall-stem grass is composed of three main parts, including the seed coating, germ and endosperm. Jowar shares similarities to wheat, as both yield low to moderate food value. Jowar is comprised of 70 percent carbohydrates, 12 percent protein, 3 percent fat and low vitamin content, according to the Board on Science and Technology for International Development. However, jowar is easily grown, requires little water and is cost-efficient. This crop is one of Africa’s most relied upon staples.

B Vitamins

B vitamins help your body use the energy obtained from food and build new tissue and cells. The germ in jowar contains small amounts of B vitamins, including 1 mg of pantothenic acid or vitamin B5, 0.5 mg of pyroxidine or vitamin B6, 0.35 mg of thiamin, 0.14 mg of riboflavin, 7 mcg of biotin and traces of folate. One serving of jowar contains 2.8 mg of niacin, also known as vitamin B3. The daily recommended intake of niacin is 14 to 16 mg per day for adults, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Pellagra, a condition caused by a niacin deficiency, is common among individuals who eat jowar as a main part of their diet.

Vitamin A

Jowar contains low amounts of vitamin A or carotene at 21 RE, which is equivalent to 70 IU per serving. The recommended daily allowance of vitamin A ranges from 2,333 to 3,000 IU per day for an adult, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Vitamin A is critical for immune functioning, visual acuity, red blood cell production and eye, skin and hair moisture.

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Minerals

Jowar contains significantly more nutritive mineral value than vitamin value. Minerals found in jowar include 220 mg of potassium, 368 mg of phosphorous, 21 mg of calcium, 5.7 mg of iron and 140 mg of magnesium. Additionally, jowar contains traces of zinc and over 20 micronutrients. One of the more significant trace mineral contained in jowar is copper. Copper content in jowar equals 1.8 mg, or 200 percent of the recommended daily value reported by the Linus Pauling Institute. Copper aids in cellular energy production, tissue formation, iron metabolism and antioxidant functioning.

Warnings

Protein is one of the most valuable nutrients found in jowar. However, this protein is primarily in the form of prolamine, an indigestible protein with little nutritive value to the human body. Jowar also contain tannins, an agent found in the coating of the seeds in dark jowar grains, which prevent the body from absorbing the protein, vitamins and minerals in jowar. Remove the seed coating of the jowar prior to eating or consume only yellow or white jowar containing relatively low quantities of tannins. Additionally, during germination of jowar, enzymes react to the process and produce cyanide.

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