Health Benefits of Eating Roti/Chapati

Humble little discs that form a staple in every ‘thali’ or meal, the roti is perhaps the unsung hero of the Indian gastronomic experience. Call it by any name, the roti, chapati, or phulka responds with a soulful and comforting experience. Although typical in its form and tastes, a roti can elevate every accompaniment to new levels of delight. This is perhaps why few Indian meals are complete without it.

But apart from all the humility and taste, does the roti bring much else to the table? Considering everyone is turning towards Indian food for its flavors, diversity, and nutritive value, there is much more than what we know of rotis. Let’s try and understand the complete value that rotis bring to our lives.

Index

  • The Complete Truth About Chapati Nutrition
  • A Roti a Day – Health Benefits of Roti
  • Roti – Health Boosters for Different Conditions
  • Roti and Substitutes – the Unending War
  • Types of Rotis
  • Conclusion
  • FAQs
  • References

The Complete Truth About Chapati Nutrition

Do you know those snack boxes that we took to school with neatly rolled-up roti? Sometimes with jam, sometimes a curry, and sometimes with cheese and spices, the rolled roti was always a surprise. Whether carried to school or work, the rolled roti always worked magic. We aren’t taking away from the regular roti and vegetable meals, but there was always something about roti rolls. Handy and truly satisfying, a roti makes everything better.

Apart from the nostalgia and delight, rotis are perhaps the most intelligent meal to carry. Not only are they magical for the digestive system, but they also keep you full for longer and provide instant energy. The protein in one roti is sufficient to keep rebuilding your body and working out till the next meal.

Let’s look at wheat roti nutrition in its entirety. Every small chapati contains about 70 calories and 0.4 grams of fat. With 3 grams of protein per roti, it also bundles in close to 15 grams of carbohydrates. Everything contained in a roti synthesizes and digests quickly, making it a great aid for the digestive system.

 

A Roti a Day – Health Benefits of Roti

While moderation is the name of the game when it comes to all kinds of food, statistics will show you how you really can afford to binge on your rotis. There are multiple health benefits associated with chapatis. The most significant among them are as follows:

  • Vitamin supplement: Believe it or not, when it comes to your roti, vitamins rule the roost! A combination of calcium, mineral salts, iodine, potassium, calcium, and Vitamins B and E are all yours every time you eat a roti.
  • Heart health: Since rotis contain loads of soluble fibre, they are great for your heart. The high fibre content keeps cholesterol in check, maintains optimal blood circulation, and keeps the heart functioning well. The fact that most rotis are made without using any oil is also a bonus for the heart!
  • Digestion driver: Grains are usually rather difficult to digest since they have a coating of phytic acid. Wheat is, therefore, the king of grains, since it is the most easily digestible among them. Since it contains bran, rotis improve bowel movement and also protect effectively against irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Skin sense: Rotis contain zinc which helps improve the quality of the skin. It also helps add a much-needed glow.
  • Tempering Temperature: It is common for many families in India to consume or feed members rotis soaked in milk during fever. Not only is this a comforting and satisfying meal, but an effective aid in lowering the temperature and boosting strength due to the vitamins present in it.

Eat Healthy Rotis, Stay Healthy
Eat Healthy Rotis, Stay Healthy

 Roti – Health Boosters for Different Conditions

We’ve talked about the overall health benefits that rotis can give. But what about those who have special needs, restrictions, and health goals to be achieved? Well, we have you covered too. Read on.

  • Weight gain: Many of us want to gain a little weight without piling on the fats. A wheat chapati can have as many as 105 calories and is loaded with carbs. However, it has soluble fats that are easily digestible and can help you gain a little weight from the protein and build muscle more easily.
  • Weight loss: Given that we’ve just told you that your rotis help gain weight, this might seem like the end of the road. However, several other forms of rotis like ragi, bajra, besan, and almond flour rotis can help accelerate weight loss and ensure that you enjoy your roti fix every day.
  • Diabetes: Several people believe that their love affair with rotis must come to an end since they have diabetes. That isn’t entirely true. Diabetics can safely consume rotis. However, wheat rotis tend to be higher in carbs and are not ideal for them. If you want to make a chapati good for diabetics, try switching to variants like barley, amaranth, and ragi rotis which are a much better option.

Roti and Substitutes – the Unending War

Although roti is a standard fare in Indian cuisine, it isn’t the only one. There are households where roti consumption is beaten by rice. Given the global flair and lifestyle we have adopted, varied breads are also increasingly common today. So, let’s understand what rotis are pitted against and how they fare:

  • Chapati vs Rice: If you are looking at absolute nutritional value, rotis definitely surge ahead. Rice does have a wonderful sense of satisfaction it allows with your meal. But rotis give you a lot more. Let’s look at the chapati vs rice calories index. Half of a small bowl of rice contains about 80 calories. While a small roti has just under 70 calories, it also has more protein, fibre, and fewer carbs. The real deal clincher – rotis keep you full for longer while rice will get you hungry faster. While brown rice is often compared to roti, the latter has more fibre, protein, and micronutrients.
  • Chapati vs bread: Now this is a fascinating comparison - mainly because both have a lot of similarities. In fact, chapatis and rotis are often called ‘flat bread’ in many parts of the world. While the values of both are largely the same, the nutritive values of bread are often debatable since most breads are procured and produced commercially. These usually contain high amounts of heavily refined flours that are depleted of nutritive value. Rotis, on the other hand, are a lot safer in terms of nutritional content.
  • Chapati vs paratha, idli, and dosa: Indian foods are each so delectable that it is hard to decide which one is ideal. Whether it is rotis of varying kinds, parathas – plain or stuffed, the multitude of rice varieties eaten plain or as pulao or even as a succulent biryani, or the quintessential dosas and idlis - all are equally appetising!
    Our taste buds always crave a particular flavour or look for variety. But here’s the thing. In the war between rice and rotis, you can expect rotis to emerge as a winner each time. This is why, even though fermented, you will find that your idlis and dosas are no match for the protein and fibre in your roti. Bring in the parathas, and you will still notice that the roti rules the roost, since it is devoid of any oil or fat. You have a clear winner!

Types of Rotis

While rotis are immensely healthy, there are numerous ways to make them even healthier. It is common to have one or two rotis in every meal, and many individuals are perfectly happy to have rotis twice a day across both their main meals. Having rotis at night helps you sleep better since you feel more satiated. The question that arises is, what roti are you having?

We commonly associate rotis with either whole-wheat or multigrain flour. However, traditional Indian rotis are much more complex, available in multiple varieties. The speciality of the different types of rotis is that they become more suitable to consume across different seasons, and are often gluten-free. Which one of these interests you the most?

  • Rye: Rotis made from rye are not as common, but they pack in a strong nutritive punch. Although from the wheat family, rye imparts a distinctive property and taste to your rotis. You will notice that your rotis will not puff up. They also tend to crisp up as you cook them. Every roti made from rye contains almost 190 calories. You can look forward to gaining about 4 grams of protein from each rye roti.
  • Bajra: This is among the more common rotis eaten around India. Made from pearl millet, bajra roti nutrition gives it the highest preference, not to forget its thick form and flaky texture. Bajra roti calories can vary between 190 and 205 per roti, while bajra roti proteins are close to 6 grams per roti.
  • Jowar: Sorghum flour rotis or jowar rotis are another very common form of rotis. Known mainly for their ability to fill you up easily, these are best eaten with curry or gravy. Apart from being gluten-free, jowar roti nutrition values are what draw people the most to this type. Jowar roti protein is over 6 grams per serving, while 1 medium jowar roti calories can be anywhere close to 50.
  • Barley: You may know these better as ‘jau’ rotis. Great for diabetics, these rotis are gluten-free and are ideal to be paired with any Indian vegetable. Every roti contains just under 170 calories and is loaded with almost 6 grams of protein.

Conclusion

Travel the world, sail the seas, try every delight in the world and yet, we always long to come back home. Rotis are what home is to the world of food for Indians. It is love, comfort, nourishment, and sustenance all bundled up into one little package. This is why styles and fads may come and go, but the roti will live on forever.

FAQs

Q. What is the nutritive value of one roti?

Ans: If you are wondering how many calories in one roti or how much protein it has, here are the facts. A small roti has about 70 to 80 calories. 1 roti protein count is approximately 4 grams.

Q. Are rotis good for weight loss?

Ans: Certain kinds of roti like almond flour, bajra, and ragi can help you lose weight. However, avoid using wheat or multigrain flour to make your rotis.

Q. Is chapati good for health?

Ans: Yes. It’s great for all ages and safe for nearly everyone to consume. Rotis have several vitamins and minerals, supplement calcium requirements of the body, and offer an added protein boost, making it great for the health. What’s more, it is high in soluble fibre making it easy to digest.

Q. Is chapati good for diabetics?

Ans: Although whole wheat chapatis do have a fair amount of carbohydrate content, you can opt for other flour rotis that are gluten-free and diabetes friendly. These include ragi, barley, and amaranth.

Q. Is roti junk food?

Ans: No. Rotis are very healthy, no matter what flour they are made from. Rotis are usually filled with fibre, protein, and loads of vitamins. Unlike breads that are made from refined flours, rotis are wholesome and healthy.

Q. Is roti hard to digest?

Ans: Rotis are not difficult to digest. However, they do take longer than rice when it comes to digestion. The good part about this is that they keep you full for longer and help fight the hunger pangs.

Q. Should you eat rotis at night?

Ans: Absolutely! When it comes to choosing between rice and rotis at night, rotis are always a better option. The advantage of rotis is that they keep you full for longer and are unlikely to cause cravings in the middle of the night. Choosing options like missi roti is even healthier since it is higher in protein. 

References