Have you heard about the health benefits of sorghum flour? While not so popular, sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) is a cereal grain that has been around for hundreds of years.
The cereal grain comes from the Poaceae grass family and is among the top five cereal crops produced across the globe.
The other grains in this list include barley, wheat, corn, and rice. While it has been dwarfed by other popular grains, sorghum is a nutritious crop packed with natural nutrients.
Sorghum Flour Nutrition Facts
Sorghum is packed with various nutrients, with a cup (192g) of sorghum providing:
- Protein: 21.7 grams
- Fat: 6.3 grams
- Fiber: 12.1 grams
- Carbohydrates: 143 grams
- Calories: 651 calories
- Phosphorus: 551 mg, or 55 percent of the daily recommended value (DV)
- Iron: 8.4 mg, or 47 percent of the DV
- Thiamine: 0.5 mg, or 30 percent of the DV
- Niacin: 5.6 mg, or 28 percent of the DV
- Potassium: 672 mg, or 19 percent of the DV
- Calcium: 53.8 mg, or 5 percent of the DV
Understanding the Benefits of Sorghum Flour
Like other grains, it can be cooked whole or milled into flour. This article discusses the health benefits of sorghum flour alongside popular preparation methods. Read on!
1. Gluten-Free Flour
Gluten is a name given to a group of proteins found in wheat and other cereals like rye, barley, and triticale – a cross between wheat and rye.
Gluten acts as a binding agent and is responsible for the soft and chewy texture of foods containing it, such as bread, pasta, and pizza crust. It’s also available in various breakfast cereals.
Although gluten may seem beneficial in the culinary world, consuming it has been shown to cause various digestive issues, including bloating, fatigue, and diarrhea alternating with constipation.
Gluten can also cause gut inflammation which may throw off the balance of your gut microbiome and even cause intestinal damage, resulting in celiac disease in sensitive individuals.
In today’s world, most people have become more health-conscious and aware of the effects of gluten, leading to a rapid rise of gluten-free alternatives. Sorghum is one of these and can replace gluten-containing grains in various recipes like bread, roti, and cookies.
2. A High Source of Dietary Fiber
Fiber is the carbohydrate part of food that the body cannot digest. It comes in two forms, soluble and insoluble, and sorghum flour contains both of them.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and other digestive juices to form a gel-like substance that has been shown to offer various benefits, including lowering cholesterol, which can promote blood vessel health and heart health.
It also slows digestion which promotes proper glucose regulation in the body.
The soluble fiber in sorghum can also promote the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which can enhance mucus production. This enhances intestinal barrier integrity. SCFAs can also fight gut inflammation and lower the risk of colon cancer.
Further research shows that the fiber in sorghum flour makes you fuller for longer, preventing overeating.
3. Enhances Strong Bones
Having strong bones is essential for the support they give us, allowing us to move while protecting our heart, brain, and other organs from injury.
Healthy bones are also essential for storing calcium and phosphorus. These minerals can help build strong bones but are also released into the body whenever needed for other functions.
Sorghum flour is a very good source of phosphorus, with a cup of sorghum providing up to 55 percent of the daily recommended value. It also offers some calcium with the same amount providing up to 5 percent of your daily needs.
Calcium and phosphorus are the most abundant minerals in the bones, and for a good reason, as they both work together to build healthy bones and teeth.
Together, these two form calcium phosphate salts, which help strengthen bones.
Also, when calcium and phosphate ions are released, they activate the osteoblasts and osteoclasts to facilitate bone regeneration.
Additionally, sorghum has a generous amount of magnesium, another essential nutrient for bone health. It plays a vital role in ensuring that the body maintains a good amount of calcium by enhancing its absorption in the body.
Magnesium also promotes the parathyroid hormone’s function, which regulates calcium and phosphorus levels in the body.
Besides, a magnesium deficiency has been shown to directly increase the risk of osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones making them brittle and easy to fracture.
4. Rich in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds that neutralize free radicals in the body. Free radicals are unstable molecules that, if left to accumulate, can cause oxidative stress, which can damage cells and cause disease.
Sorghum is a rich source of antioxidants and bioactive phenolic compounds, including ferulic acid, vanillic acid, luteolin, apigenin, gallic acid, and 3-deoxyanthocyanidins (3-DXA). These substances inhibit oxidation in the body and are also antiproliferative.
Usually, oxidation occurs when there is an imbalance in the free radicals (Oxygen reactive species) in the body’s cells and tissues against antioxidant protection.
This causes the inability to detoxify the reactive products, causing damage and impairment of the cells. It often results in fatigue, memory loss, muscle and joint pain, and premature aging.
You can also develop chronic conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer.
5. Fights Inflammation
Inflammation is part of the body’s defense mechanism. During this process, the body can identify and remove harmful or foreign stimuli to promote healing. In acute cases, inflammation is essential; however, if it becomes chronic, it can cause tissue and cell damage increasing your risk of disease.
Intact inflammation is the root cause of most chronic conditions, but eating foods rich in antiinflammatory elements like sorghum flour can help.
Recent studies show that the phenolic compounds in sorghum, including tannins, phytosterols, policosanols, and anthocyanin, can act as antioxidants and reduce various forms of inflammation resulting from oxidative stress and damage.
Due to the high amount of 3-deoxyanthocyanidins (3-DXA), sorghum also contains anticancer properties. It hinders gastrointestinal, esophageal, colon, and skin cancers.
6. Perfect Source of Energy
Sorghum is the perfect energy source, with 329 kcal and 72g of carbohydrates in one serving. It is considered a complex carb and provides sustained energy for hours before you can experience any hunger pangs.
Additional research shows that it contains niacin (vitamin B3), a crucial component in transforming food into usable energy. It provides the body fuel by breaking down and converting nutrients into energy.
With one serving of sorghum flour (prepared in your preferred way), you get enough energy to handle your day-to-day activities.
7. Promotes Better Digestion
As seen above, sorghum is a powerhouse of nutrients. It has a lot of fibers and minerals that are required for a smooth digestion and can prevent various digestive issues.
According to research, one serving of sorghum contains 48% of the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) of fiber, which can help
prevent issues like constipation, bloating, cramping, and diarrhea.
8. Aids in Weight Loss
Apart from being nutritious, sorghum flour is a perfect addition for people seeking to lose weight.
As established, sorghum flour is gluten-free and has a huge amount of dietary fiber. This means that you stay fuller for longer and enables you to reduce your overall intake of calories. With the decreased urge to overeat, sorghum can help you lose weight faster.
How To Cook With Sorghum Flour?
Sorghum flour is a gluten-free whole-grain flour that can be used in many different recipes. It has a mild nutty flavor and can be used in place of other flours in recipes.
It is important to note that sorghum flour is not a 1:1 replacement for other flours, and you may need to experiment with the ratios to get the right texture.
For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of gluten-free flour, you would use about ¾ cup of sorghum flour.
Generally, mixing sorghum flour with other gluten-free flour can create a lighter, more textured baked good.
When substituting sorghum flour for other flours, adding additional moisture to the recipe is important as sorghum flour tends to absorb more liquid than other flours.
You can do this by adding extra liquids such as water, milk, or juice, or by using additional wet ingredients such as yogurt.
1. Use sorghum flour to thicken stews
When it comes to thickening stews, sorghum flour is a great option. It’s gluten-free, so it’s perfect for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities. Additionally, it’s high in fiber and has a neutral flavor, so it won’t alter the taste of your dish.
To use sorghum flour as a thickener, simply whisk it into the liquid you’re using to make your stew. For every cup of liquid, use 1-2 tablespoons of sorghum flour.
2. Breakfast porridge
When it comes to breakfast, there’s nothing quite like a bowl of hot porridge. And when you make that porridge with sorghum flour, you’re getting a delicious, nutritious start to your day.
To make a basic sorghum flour porridge, start by mixing together ¼ cup of sorghum flour and 2 cups of water in a pot. Stir continuously to prevent lumps from forming until the mixture thickens and starts to boil.
Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 more minutes
Stir in any desired add-ins (such as fruit, nuts, spices, and sweeteners), then serve hot.
3. Make sorghum ugali
Ugali is a popular dish in many parts of Africa, including Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. It’s often made from gluten-free flour, such as corn, cassava, and sorghum.
To make ugali, bring some water to a boil, add the flour to form a made porridge-like consistency, then let it boil for a few minutes.
Add more flour and mix to form a not-so-soft or too-hard consistency. Knead this mixture using a wooden spoon as it continues to cook. This will help break any lumps and maintain a smoother consistency.
Let it cook for a few minutes, then repeat the kneading. Repeat this for about 10 minutes at low heat, and your ugali will be ready to serve
When ready, ugali will give up a delicious roasted, nutty-like aroma. Ugali is typically served with traditional vegetables and stews.
Potential Side Effects of Sorghum
There are no known side effects of consuming sorghum. However, since it comes from the grass family, people with grass and grass pollen allergies should be cautious in their consumption.
Some allergy symptoms you might notice include itching or a tingling sensation in the mouth, swelling around the mouth, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. If you experience these symptoms, its good to avoid sorghum
Sorghum also has no known interactions with drugs.
Sorghum flour is a great alternative to regular flour and can offer many benefits. It is gluten-free, high in fiber and protein, low in fat, and has a mild flavor that makes it perfect for all kinds of recipes.
If you are looking for an easy way to add more nutrition to your diet without sacrificing taste, then consider giving sorghum flour a try!
With its numerous health benefits and versatility in the kitchen, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give this amazing ingredient a chance.