Sorghum is the least known grain though it has been in existence for centuries. It’s rich in nutrients and has often been used as a gluten-free dietary option, especially for people with celiac disease. This article explores more on sorghum nutrition and how it can benefit your health.
What Is Sorghum?
Sorghum is an ancient grain and a member of the millet family.
It’s native to Africa where it’s grown as a major crop.
It’s also the fifth most grown grain in the world after wheat, rice, corn, and barley.
Other names for sorghum include
- Milo in parts of India
- Jowar in other areas of India
- Guinea corn in West Africa
- Dura in Sudan
- Kafir in South Africa
- Kaoliang in China
- Mtamain in Eastern Africa
Sorghum is grown for different purposes including human consumption, as animal feed, and for ethanol fuel production.
For consumption purposes, sorghum can be cooked the same way as rice and quinoa. It can also be ground into flour for different dishes including porridge, flatbread, muffins, or any other gluten-free recipe. Some people may make sorghum syrup also referred to as sorghum molasses.
Sorghum is a nutrient-rich cereal high in vitamins, minerals, and other health-enhancing nutrients.
Half a cup of uncooked sorghum provides approximately
- Carbohydrates: 69 grams
- Protein:6 grams
- Fiber:7 grams
- Calories: 316
- Fat: 3 grams
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine):3 milligrams, or 26 percent of the daily requirements
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin):1 milligrams, or 7 percent of the daily requirement
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid):4 mg, or 7 percent of the daily requirement
- Vitamin B6: 4 milligrams, or 25 percent of the daily requirement
- Magnesium: 165 milligrams, or 37 percent of the daily requirement
- Copper:3 milligrams, or 30 percent of the daily requirement
- Phosphorus: 289 milligrams, or, 22 percent of the daily requirement
- Iron:4 milligrams, or 18 percent of the daily requirement
- Zinc:6 milligrams, or 14 percent of the daily requirement
- Potassium: 363 milligrams, or 7 percent of the daily requirement
Sorghum flour is also high in nutrients especially antioxidants including anthocyanin, phenolic compounds, and tannins which may help reduce oxidative stress and fight inflammation.
A quarter cup of sorghum flour can offer up to
- Calories: 130
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Protein: 3 grams
- Carbohydrates: 28 grams
- Fat:5 grams
- Potassium: 124 milligrams, or 2 percent of the daily requirement
- Iron: 1 milligram, or 6 percent of the daily requirement
What Are The Health Benefits Of Sorghum?
1. Gluten Free
Sorghum is a fantastic substitute for wheat flour for anyone on a gluten-free diet or sensitive to gluten like those with celiac disease.
But generally, limiting your gluten intake no matter how healthy you seem is sometimes the best option for your health. This is because the protein gluten is difficult to digest which irritates the gut flora leading to inflammation. Over time, chronic inflammation may lead to metabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and arthritis.
Gluten may also lead to constipation, bloating, and diarrhea in more sensitive individuals.
Sorghum on the other hand is more tolerant as it’s easier to digest.
2. It’s Non-GMO
Any food whose natural structure has been tampered with has the ability to influence your health negatively. Genetically modified crops are no different and have flooded the food market with wheat being top on the list.
Sorghum offers the best natural alternative as it’s grown from traditional hybrid seeds involving the combination of several sorghum varieties. This method has been used for centuries and does not involve biotechnology or any form of alteration.
3. It’s High In Fiber
Sorghum is rich in fiber, an essential nutrient needed for good bowel movements, proper digestion, digestive health, and heart health.
The fiber content may also keep you full longer which helps fight hunger feelings and may reduce your calorie intake, thus helping you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
4. Regulates Blood Sugar
Sorghum flour is low on the Glycemic index, meaning it has a low effect on blood glucose which is beneficial to anyone but especially those with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes.
The controlled glucose level in the blood will prevent high levels of insulin secretion thus allowing your cells to be more sensitized and receptive to insulin.
5. Rich In Antioxidants
Antioxidants are essential to help the body fight against harmful free radicals that may cause inflammation and cell damage leading to premature aging and disease formation including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. For instance,
According to research, black, brown, and red sorghum are rich in anthocyanin antioxidants and their activities are 3-4 times more than in any other grain.
White grained-sorghum on the other hand is high in polyphenol content which has been shown to regulate blood pressure, reduce chronic inflammation, reduce and control blood sugar levels and promote healthy blood vessels thus promoting good circulation.
May Improve Bone Health
The high magnesium levels in sorghum increase calcium absorption which in turn promotes healthy and strong bones. Magnesium also plays a huge role in increasing bone density and preventing osteoporosis. It’s also essential for proper muscle and nerve function.
Sorghum is an ancient grain with its origin in Africa but is now grown all over the world
Although it doesn’t get the attention it deserves, sorghum is packed with nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus, copper, iron, zinc, fiber, antioxidants, and the B vitamins.
Regular consumption may improve glucose regulation and improve diabetes, lower the risk for chronic conditions such as heart disease and cancer, improve bone density and prevent osteoporosis, and promote digestive health.
Sorghum is gluten-free and a great option for those on a gluten-free diet. You can prepare sorghum in the same way you do rice or simply use grounded forms for different recipes such as baking or baked goods.
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