- Health Benefits of Sorghum
- Sorghum May Inhibit Cancer Tumor Growth
- Sorghum May Protect Against Diabetes and Insulin Resistance
- Sorghum is Safe for People with Celiac Disease
- Sorghum May Help Manage Cholesterol
- Advantages of Sorghum over Maize in South African Diets
- Antioxidants in Sorghum High Relative to other Grains and to Fruits
- Sorghum May Help Treat Human Melanoma
- Nutrition Tips For You: Millets For Weight Loss – Sorghum
- Millet: Natural Weight-Loss Foods
- 7 Surprising Benefits of Sorghum
- What is Sorghum?
- Sorghum Nutrition Facts
- Health Benefits Of Sorghum (Jowar)
- 1. Improves Digestion
- 2. Anti-Carcinogenic
- 3. Boosts Heart Health
- 4. Gluten Free
- 5. Controls Diabetes
- 6. Strong Bones
- 7. Improves Circulation
- 8. Energy Booster
- 9. Prevents Melanoma
- 10. Nutritional
- Where it’s from
- When it’s in season
- What to look for
- How to store it
- How to prepare it
- Chef Marc Forgione’s Sorghum “Popcorn” Shrimp
- Why Cook with Sorghum
- How to Cook Sorghum
- How Healthful Is Sorghum?
- The Greatest Grain You’ve Never Tried: Sorghum
Health Benefits of Sorghum
Sorghum May Inhibit Cancer Tumor Growth
Compounds in sorghum called 3-Deoxyanthoxyanins (3-DXA) are present in darker-colored sorgums, and to a lesser extent in white sorghum. Scientists at the University of Missouri tested extracts of black, red, and white sorghums and found that all three extracts had strong antiproliferative activity against human colon cancer cells.
Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry. 2009 Mar 11;57(5):1797-804
Sorghum May Protect Against Diabetes and Insulin Resistance
Advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) are increasingly implicated in the complications of diabetes. A study from the University of Georgia Neutraceutical Research Libraries showed that sorghum brans with a high phenolic content and high anti-oxidant properties inhibit protein glycation, whereas wheat, rice or oat bran, and low-phenolic sorghum bran did not. These results suggest that “certain varieties of sorghum bran may aﬀect critical biological processes that are important in diabetes and insulin resistance.”
Phytotherapy Research. 2008 Aug;22(8):1052-6
Sorghum is Safe for People with Celiac Disease
Up to one percent of the U.S. population (and about ½% worldwide) is believed to have Celiac Disease, an autoimmune reaction to gluten proteins found in wheat, barley and rye. While sorghum has long been thought safe for celiacs, no clinical testing had been done until researchers in Italy made a study. First, they conducted laboratory tests; after those tests established the likely safety, they fed celiac patients sorghum-derived food products for ﬁve days. The patients experienced no symptoms and the level of disease markers (anti-transglutaminase antibodies) was unchanged at the end of the ﬁve-day period.
Clinical Nutrition. 2007 Dec;26(6):799-805. Epub 2007 Aug 24
Sorghum May Help Manage Cholesterol
Scientists at the University of Nebraska observed that sorghum is a rich source of phytochemicals, and decided to study sorghum’s potential for managing cholesterol. They fed diﬀerent levels of sorghum lipids to hamsters for four weeks, and found that the healthy fats in sorghum signiﬁcantly reduced “bad” (non-HDL) cholesterol. Reductions ranged from 18% in hamsters fed a diet including 0.5% sorghum lipids, to 69% in hamsters fed a diet including 5% sorghum lipids. “Good” (HDL) cholesterol was not aﬀected. Researchers concluded that “grain sorghum contains beneﬁcial components that could be used as food ingredients or dietary supplements to manage cholesterol levels in humans.”
Journal of Nutrition. 2005 Sep;135(9):2236-40
Advantages of Sorghum over Maize in South African Diets
Sorghum has been widely consumed as a staple food and in beverages throughout Africa. More recently, corn has replaced sorghum in some areas. Researchers from the University of Witwatersrand Medical School in South Africa believe that “the change of the staple diet of Black South Africans from sorghum to maize (corn) is the cause of the epidemic of squamous carcinoma of the esophagus.” They link the cancers to Fusarium fungi that grow freely on maize but are far less common on sorghum and note that “countries in Africa, in which the staple food is sorghum, have a low incidence of squamous carcinoma of the esophagus.”
Medical Hypotheses. 2005;64(3):658-60
Antioxidants in Sorghum High Relative to other Grains and to Fruits
Joseph Awika and Lloyd Rooney, at Texas A&M University, conducted an extensive review of scores of studies involving sorghum, and concluded that the phytochemicals in sorghum “have potential to signiciantly impact human health.” In particular, they cited evidence that sorghum may reduce the risk of certain cancers and promote cardiovascular health. Click here to download the full paper.
Phytochemistry. 2004 May;65(9):1199-221
Sorghum May Help Treat Human Melanoma
Scientists in Madrid studied the eﬀect of three diﬀerent components from wine and one from sorghum, to gauge their eﬀects on the growth of human melanoma cells. While results were mixed, they concluded that all four components (phenolic fractions) “have potential as therapeutic agents in the treatments of human melanoma” although the way in which each slowed cancer growth may diﬀer.
Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry. 2001 Mar;49(3):1620-4
Sorghum is the fifth most commonly grown grain crop in the world after wheat, rice, corn and barley. But this tasty, gluten free grain often gets overlooked in many Western countries. Sorghum has many health benefits that make it worth including in your diet.
There are over 30 different species of sorghum native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world. The majority are used to feed animals or get processed into secondary products like alcohol and sorghum syrup. Very few varieties are harvested for human consumption.
1. High Nutritional Value
Sorghum has a whopping 22 grams of protein in a 1 cup (192 gram) serving of the cooked, whole grain. A woman’s daily recommended protein intake is 46 grams and a man’s is 56 grams. On average, that means sorghum contains 43 percent of your daily protein intake.
One serving also contains 47 percent of your daily recommended iron and 55 percent of your phosphorus intake. It’s also a good source of magnesium, copper, calcium, zinc and potassium.
A serving of sorghum also contains around 30 percent of your recommended intake of both niacin and thiamin. These two B-vitamins help us to metabolize and properly absorb carbohydrates and nutrients.
2. Rich in Antioxidants
Sorghum contains a wide variety of beneficial phytochemicals that act as antioxidants in the body, such as tannins, phenolic acids, anthocyanins, phytosterols and policosanols.
In fact, the bran layer of sorghum has significantly higher amounts of antioxidants than fruits such as blueberries, strawberries and plums.
Antioxidants help to slow down aging, and antioxidant-rich foods have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, type II diabetes and some neurological diseases.
Many studies indicate that whole grain consumption significantly lowers mortality from cardiovascular disease, and antioxidant phytochemicals are believed to be the main reason. They have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol and prevent arterial clotting.
3. Improves Digestive Health
Sorghum is one of the best sources available for dietary fiber. One serving contains 48 percent of your daily recommended intake of fiber.
Fiber is vital for overall digestive function. It keeps your digestive tract moving and of course prevents constipation. But it also helps to regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and prevent diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, gallstones and kidney stones.
4. Inhibits Cancer
Certain phytochemicals in sorghum have also been shown to have cancer-inhibiting properties, particularly in gastrointestinal and skin cancers.
Studies have shown that sorghum consumption is linked to lower incidences of esophageal cancer globally, including parts of Africa, Russia, India, China and Iran. Wheat and corn consumption have been linked to elevated rates of esophageal cancer.
Whole grains in general are correlated with reduced risks of other forms of digestive tract cancer, especially colon cancer. It is unknown if this is due to the phytochemicals or dietary fiber in grains, but as sorghum is high in both, it would certainly provide the same benefits as other grains.
Sorghum is safe to eat for those with Celiac disease. The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry published a study that analyzed the genome of sorghum to determine if it contained any gluten proteins. They confirmed that gluten is absent in all varieties of sorghum.
6. Currently Non-Genetically Modified
Another benefit of sorghum is that it’s a non-genetically modified crop.
Although, the company DuPont Pioneer is working to develop a genetically modified (GM) variety.
Most plant genetic engineering to date has been to improve a crop’s herbicide tolerance and resistance to pests. DuPont is working on a new type of genetic engineering to enhance the micronutrient content of sorghum. Their goal is to develop a “biofortified” strain of sorghum with higher vitamin A, more easily absorbed iron and zinc, and an improved balance of amino acids. They have already grown trial GM sorghum crops in Africa.
GM sorghum is not grown in North America yet, but always buy certified organic sorghum products when you can find them. This will ensure there is no GM material present, as well as avoiding harmful pesticide residues.
7. Many Uses
Sorghum is a very versatile grain. It is best eaten in its whole grain form to get the most nutrition. It can be prepared similar to rice.
Try soaking whole sorghum for 8 hours or overnight to first break down the enzymes and make it more digestible. Then boil it in three times as much water for about an hour or until tender. It can also be cooked in a rice steamer or slow cooker.
Sorghum flour is becoming a popular gluten-free substitute for wheat flour in baked goods. Make sure you buy the whole grain form of sorghum flour, which is simply the whole grains ground into flour. Refined sorghum flour is also available, but like most refined products, the nutrient content is reduced.
In some countries, sorghum is eaten as porridge or boiled directly into various dishes. The Ethiopian bread injera can be made from sorghum, as well as many gluten-free beers and even biofuels.
As its popularity rises, sorghum is becoming much more common in grocery stores and markets. It’s definitely a grain that deserves a place at our tables.
Source: 7 Benefits of Eating Sorghum | Care2 Healthy Living
Nutrition Tips For You: Millets For Weight Loss – Sorghum
03 July 2019
Certified health coach and nutritionist Bipasha Das writes about the benefits of millets and sorghum in weight management.
Wheat and rice may be amongst the most popular grains, but millets such as sorghum (jowar), pearl millet (bajra), foxtail millet (kangni), finger millet (ragi), Barnyard millet, Kodo millet, Little Millet, Proso Millet are amongst the healthiest millet grains available.
Millets are a group of small-seed grasses grown in semi-dry areas of Asia and Africa. The crop can withstand high temperature and dry conditions, and is favoured due to its short growing season. Consuming whole grains cereals and millets on a regular basis may help lose weight, since they have a rich content of fiber and other bioactive compounds.
English Name Hindi Name
Finger Millet Nachani /mundua
Kodo Millet Koden/Kodra
Foxtail Millet Kangni/Rala
Little Millet Kutki
Barnyard Millet Jhangora
Pearl Millet Bajra
Whole millets and millet flours are naturally gluten-free sources and a great alternative to rice and wheat. India is one of the largest producers of millet counting to 11 million tonnes every year, followed by Africa and China. Let us know a bit more about the types of millets grown in India. In first part of our series on millets, we will discuss benefits of sorghum, popularly known as jowar.
Sorghum grain and its flour is a great gluten-free product and can be used as a substitute for wheat. The flour contains a smooth texture and a mild sweet taste, and helps in weight loss. It is also a great source of protein. 3/4 of a cup of sorghum provides 8 grams of protein. Below are other benefits of sorghum:
•For weight loss: It helps in weight loss since it’s high in fiber content, which helps in regular bowel movement by flushing toxins out of the body.
•Manage diabetes: It slows down sugar absorption into the bloodstream, which helps prevent over-eating. It helps regulate your blood sugar levels.
•Fights inflammation: It is high in antioxidants which are known to fight inflammation that is considered a leading cause of all metabolic diseases.
•Rich in micronutrients: It contains zinc, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, calcium, selenium, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin E, fatty acids and amino acids.
Sorghum for diet
In the form of flour, can be used to make chapattis, breads, pancakes, waffles, cookies, etc. You can also use it as a thickening agent for gravy and sauces. You can also consume it in the form of cereals.
Original post on OUTLOOK
Millet: Natural Weight-Loss Foods
Millet is one of those foods vegetarians love, because it is rich both in fiber, which makes your stomach feel full longer, and in protein, which helps you meet your daily protein needs from a complex carbohydrate rather than animal sources. And studies have shown a direct link between cutting back on meat and natural weight loss.
In the United States, millet is used mainly for fodder and birdseed, but this nutritious grain is a staple in the diets of a large portion of the world’s population, including Africa and Asia. It has been cultivated for about 6,000 years. There are several varieties of millet available throughout the world. In Ethiopia, it is used to make porridge; in India, to make roti (a traditional bread); and in the Caribbean, it is cooked with peas and beans.
Millet is a remarkable source of protein, making it perfect for vegetarian diets. It’s also a good source of niacin, copper, and manganese. You may want to give millet a try if you are allergic to wheat.
Millet is considered a whole grain and as such is rich in fiber and phytonutrients. Some researchers believe that it’s the combination of phytonutrients and fiber that’s responsible for the lower rate of colon cancer, rather than fiber alone, which doesn’t appear to decrease colon cancer. One of the phytonutrients abundant in millet is called lignan. This phytonutrient may help prevent hormone-related cancers such as breast cancer and also help diminish the risk of heart disease.
Eating millet is also a good way to get magnesium and the B vitamin called niacin. Magnesium helps to relax the muscles that line the inside of your arteries, so it may reduce blood pressure. Magnesium is also suspected of being helpful for asthmatics and people who suffer migraine headache. Niacin may help keep blood cholesterol levels in check.
Selection and Storage
Look for this grain in health food stores, Asian markets, and gourmet shops. Millet is a tiny, pale-yellow bead. Store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, and it should keep for up to a month. In the freezer it will keep up to a year. You may occasionally see cracked millet sold as couscous. But couscous is most often made from semolina.
Preparation and Serving Tips
Millet has no characteristic flavor of its own, and it tends to take on the flavor of the foods it is prepared with. To cook millet, add one cup of whole millet and a teaspoon of vegetable oil to two cups of boiling water. Simmer, covered for 25 to 30 minutes. It should double in volume, once all the water is absorbed. Keep it covered and undisturbed while it cooks, and you’ll produce a millet that is fluffy; stir it often and it will have a creamy consistency, like a cooked cereal.
For a change from the same old thing, try millet on its own as a hot breakfast cereal. You can cook it with apple juice, instead of water, and top it off with raisins, brown sugar, or nuts.
Cooked millet can also be combined with cooked beans or peas to make vegetarian “burgers.” Simply combine the two (they should be moist enough to hold together), add some seasonings, and shape into patties. Bake or pan-fry. Millet also works well in soups and stews. Simply rinse the millet in a strainer or colander and add to the mix. It should take about 20 to 30 minutes for the millet to absorb the liquid and become tender.
As you can see, this versatile grain can be an excellent addition to your healthy diet as you add fiber to your menu and subtract inches from your midsection.
©Publications International, Ltd.
7 Surprising Benefits of Sorghum
While the name may sound odd, sorghum has many health benefits. It’s a non-wheat grain that offers a dietary option to people with celiac disease, may help control diabetes, and improve digestive health, among other benefits.
What is Sorghum?
Sorghum is the broad term for an entire genus of grasses native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world. While there are more than 30 different species of sorghum, only one is harvested for human consumption (the others are primarily used as fodder for animals).
The important species for humans, Sorghum bicolor, is native to Africa, but can now be found all around the world as a staple food. Sorghum is primarily used in the production of sorghum molasses, sorghum syrup and as a grain. Also, it can be used in the production of alcoholic beverages and even bio-fuels around the world. It is widely considered the fifth most important cereal crop in the world.
The versatility of sorghum, combined with the fact that it is acceptable for people with wheat allergies to eat, makes it extremely important as a staple crop in the world. Furthermore, the vast health benefits associated with sorghum make it a great alternative to other types of grains, grasses, and cereals that are commonly consumed across the globe.
Sorghum seeds and leaves Photo Credit:
Sorghum Nutrition Facts
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, sorghum is a powerhouse of nutrients. When included in the diet, it can provide nearly half of the daily required protein, a significant amount of dietary fiber, and B-vitamins vitamins like niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin, as well as high levels of magnesium, iron, copper, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium.
The health benefits of sorghum in relation to our digestive process are many. Let’s discuss the benefits in detail below.
Improves Digestive Health
Sorghum is one of the best foods out there for dietary fiber. A cup of sorghum grains contains almost 13 grams of dietary fiber, meaning that your digestive tract will keep your food moving along smoothly, preventing cramping, bloating, constipation, stomach aches, excess gas, and diarrhea. Furthermore, meeting or exceeding the recommended daily amounts of fiber intake helps to scrape off dangerous cholesterol (LDL) within the body, which helps to improve heart health and protect the body from conditions like atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.
Research in the journal Food Chemistry found that the bran layer of the sorghum grains contains important antioxidants, anthocyanins, that are not found in many other types of food. These antioxidants have been directly connected to a reduced chance of developing various types of cancer. Antioxidants are beneficial compounds that help neutralize and eliminate free radicals in the body, which often cause healthy cells in the body to mutate into cancerous cells.
A 2018 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food suggests that sorghum bran rich in polyphenols may have anticancer potential. Another research study published in PLoS One states that sorghum may have anticarcinogenic and antitumor properties and may prevent metastasis of cancer such as breast cancer. It may also have anti-cancer effects on esophageal cancer, suggests the same study. Another animal study led by researchers from Brazil found that sorghum due to the presence of 3-deoxy anthocyanidins and tannins may exhibit anti-cancer properties. While these preliminary studies are promising, further research is needed to determine how this research can be integrated into current oncology treatments.
Complex Carbohydrates to Manage Diabetes
Excessive sugary, fiber-less, carbohydrates break down into simple sugars and wreak havoc on glucose levels in the body, which may lead to the development of diabetes, or causing chaos for people who already suffer from this disease. However, the complex carbohydrate, tannin-rich bran of sorghum has enzymes that inhibit the absorption of starch by the body, which can help to regulate insulin and glucose levels in the body. Thus, diabetics won’t suffer as many plunges and spikes in their glucose levels. For those who are diabetes-free, consuming moderate portions of whole grains as part of a healthy diet may prevent the disease altogether!
Gluten-Free Grain Option
Celiac disease is a severe allergy to gluten, primarily found in wheat-based products. Gluten is found in thousands of everyday food items, which can make it very difficult to find appropriate food options for those suffering from this gastrointestinal disease. Fortunately, the journal Clinical Nutrition has covered collaborative research, which highlights that alternative grains and grasses – such as sorghum – can be eaten safely by those suffering from this increasingly common condition. Choosing gluten-free grains can help this population eat a meal without side effects such as painful inflammation, nausea, and gastrointestinal damage.
Improves Bone Health
Magnesium is found in high quantities in sorghum. Adequate amounts of magnesium helps calcium levels will be properly maintained, as magnesium increases calcium absorption in the body. These two minerals are also integral to the development of bone tissue and speed up the healing of damaged or aging bones. This can help prevent conditions like osteoporosis and arthritis, keeping you active and healthy into your old age.
As per the research published in the journal Science of The Total Environment, sorghum contains minerals like copper, iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium. The presence of copper helps to increase the absorption of iron into the body. This means a decreased likelihood of developing anemia, which is another name for iron deficiency. With adequate amounts of iron and copper in the system, red blood cell development is increased, thereby boosting blood circulation, stimulating cellular growth and repair, and boosting the energy levels in the body.
Contains Energy Boosting Nutrients
As per a research carried out by the Department of Nutritional Sciences, the University of California and published in the journal Nutrient Research sorghum contains niacin. Niacin, also known as vitamin B3 is a key component in transforming food into usable energy and fuel for the body by breaking down and metabolizing nutrients into energy. Given its beneficial vitamin content, it can be a boon as part of any well-balanced diet!
Word of Caution: There are no known concerns against adding sorghum to your diet. As it is part of the grass family, there is the possibility of some people being allergic to it, but the cases are very rare. Furthermore, with the high content of certain minerals and vitamins, the only real danger is getting too much of a good thing, so eat sorghum in moderation and enjoy all of the wonderful health benefits!
Sorghum, an ancient cereal grain that’s a staple crop in India and throughout Africa, has long been considered a safe grain alternative for people with celiac disease and gluten insensitivity. New molecular evidence confirms that sorghum is completely gluten-free, and reports that the grain provides health benefits that make it a worthy addition to any diet.
Gluten is the flexible protein in common grains like wheat, barley and rye that give them a chewy, springy quality when baked into breads or pastas. Gluten triggers inflammatory reactions in people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity that can cause abdominal pain and digestive issues, and eventually lead to joint pain and intestinal damage. For now, the only way to avoid gluten intolerance is to stick to a strict gluten-free diet.
Paola Pontieri of the Institute of Genetics and Biophysics in Naples, Italy, led a team of researchers in analyzing the recently published sorghum genome in order to confirm that the grain contains no gluten proteins. Their results, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, confirm that the gluten protein is absent in different varieties of sorghum.
They also find a variety of other sorghum health benefits, even for people without gluten intolerance. Sorghum has high nutritional value, with high levels of unsaturated fats, protein, fiber, and minerals like phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and iron. It also has more antioxidants than blueberries and pomegranates.
Recent research suggests that certain phytochemicals allow sorghum consumption to reduce the risk of colon and skin cancer more than other grains, and that other properties can promote cardiovascular health and lower cholesterol.
Certain sorghum varieties are more easily digestible than others, and American farmers have started to cultivate varieties that they call “food-grade” sorghum- the grain has historically been grown only for livestock feed in the United States.
Still sorghum is the fifth-most produced grain in the world, behind wheat, corn, rice, and barley. In the United States, only wheat and corn are produced in higher quantities. The grain is considered cheap and easy to grow, since it is drought-resistant, grows in dry climates, and requires less water than wheat.
Sorghum’s status as an alternative grain for people with gluten intolerance has made it more available as human food in the United States, and Pontieri’s team suggests that its high nutritional value and other health benefits recommend it as a replacement for rice or corn among the general population as well.
“Food-grade sorghums should be considered as an important option for all people, especially celiac patients,” their report concluded.
In nations with high sorghum consumption, the grain is often eaten as porridge or boiled like rice as a base for other dishes. The Ethiopian bread injera is made from sorghum, as are a variety of gluten-free beers.
The Whole Grains Council says that sorghum’s “neutral, sometimes sweet, flavor and light color” allow it to easily absorb other flavors, and recommends several recipes. In general, sorghum flour can be used as a wheat replacement in breads, pastas, cereals, and baked goods, with a bit of experimentation to mimic the springy quality of gluten.
10 Amazing Health Benefits Of Sorghum (Jowar) Ameya C Hyderabd040-395603080 May 23, 2019
Are you suffering from constipation and want to get rid of it immediately? Or does the fear of contracting cancer keep you awake at nights? There is one ingredient that can keep these issues, and many others, at bay!
If you are wondering what is it we are talking about, it is nothing but Sorghum, a grass native to tropical and subtropical climates. Would you like to know the many other Sorghum benefits? Please continue reading!
Health Benefits Of Sorghum (Jowar)
1. Improves Digestion
Sorghum contains a good amount of dietary fiber (48% of the recommended dietary fiber needed daily) and helps improve digestion. Dietary fiber is a bulking agent that adds bulk to the stool and helps it pass smoothly through the digestive tract. Sorghum helps improve digestive health and treats conditions like gas, diarrhea, bloating, constipation and stomach ache (1).
Sorghum’s bran layer contains many cancer-fighting and free-radical eliminating antioxidants that are essential for the body. Some of these antioxidants are exclusive to Sorghum and thus, Sorghum becomes an effective anti-carcinogenic. Antioxidants help purge free radicals, which otherwise can change the body’s healthy cells into cancer cells (2).
3. Boosts Heart Health
Sorghum, as already discussed, is crammed with dietary fiber. The abundant fiber in Sorghum helps reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol from the body and reduces the risk of heart attack and other arterial conditions (3).
4. Gluten Free
Celiac disease is a comparatively new condition, which is basically characterized by a gluten allergy that can have severe symptoms. Gluten is a widely used ingredient that makes the life of celiac disease victims quite hard.
If you suffer from celiac disease or know someone who does, adding Sorghum and other grains apart from wheat is the best thing to do(4). You can eat Sorghum without suffering from inflammation, gastrointestinal damage, and nausea.
5. Controls Diabetes
Sorghum helps you control your diabetic tendencies. Excess carbohydrates usually break down simple sugars and increase the body’s glucose levels that often leads to diabetes.
Sorghum is rich in tannin, which contains enzymes that prohibit starch absorption by the body (5). This property helps regulate insulin and glucose levels. A balance in the levels ensures that diabetics don’t have to suffer sudden spikes and drops in glucose levels, thereby preventing diabetic shock and other complications.
6. Strong Bones
Magnesium is one of the major ingredients of Sorghum. Magnesium increases calcium absorption that helps maintain calcium levels, and this in turn helps promote bone health.
Calcium and magnesium helpquicken bone-tissue redevelopment and also accelerate the healing of damaged and aging bones. This can in turn help prevent conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis (6).
7. Improves Circulation
Sorghum is rich in many minerals, including iron and copper. Like magnesium boosts calcium intake, copper boosts iron intake. An increase in iron means better oxidization of blood, and this leads to better oxidization of tissues, muscles, organs and the body. This oxidization is a result of RBC production that is boosted by iron. As more RBCs are created, blood circulation continues to improve.
The iron levels ensure that you don’t contract anemia, which leads to a reduction in RBC production, cell damage, and no cellular growth (7).
8. Energy Booster
Sorghum contains Niacin, also known as Vitamin B3, which helps turn food into energy for the body. Vitamin B3 metabolizes nutrients and helps maintain energy levels throughout the day (8).
9. Prevents Melanoma
One of the most effective health benefits of Sorghum is preventing Melanoma. We know that Sorghum contains many cancer-fighting antioxidants that can help treat cancers. Sorghum is also quite effective in treating melanoma (a special type of skin cancer), which is characterized by pigment-containing cell growth on the body. The tanning in Sorghum may have restrictive effects on melanoma cells (9).
Sorghum is crammed with essential nutrients that are not only necessary for development, but also help keep the body free from diseases and maintain its health (10).
Now that you know a considerable amount about sorghum nutrition, let us know if you’ll give this a try. So, get your hands on some Sorghum grass and tell us about your experiences here. Leave a comment below!
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Sorghum is related to sugar cane and to millet and is called ‘Great Millet’ in some areas of West Africa. It is an important staple food of the upland, drier parts of Africa and India where no other cereal can successfully be raised. Sorghum is able to grow in soils that are quite poorly nourished, with an unreliable water supply.
Different varieties of sorghum range in colour from white and pale yellow to deep red, purple and brown. Sorghum is the third largest crop produced in Australia. It is produced primarily in the northern growing region of Australia with an average annual production of over 2 million tonnes.
Nutrition credentials of wholegrain sorghum:
- Rich in carbohydrates (mainly starch).
- Moderate protein content, but low in lysine.
- Low in fat, most of which is unsaturated.
- A good source of dietary fibre.
- High in potassium and low in sodium.
- Gluten free.
- Contains B-group vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), folate and pantothenic acid.
- Contains vitamin E.
- Contains iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus and selenium (depending on the soil content of selenium).
- Contains small amounts of copper, manganese and calcium.
- Contains phytochemicals including lignans, phenolic acids, phytic acid, plant sterols and saponins.
A table comparing the nutrient content of different types of grains can be downloaded from our Grains & Nutrition page.
Main culinary uses of sorghum:
- Sorghum flour – in India and the West Indies, sorghum meal is used to make chapatis and similar unleavened bread.
- Sorghum grains – are more recently being used in some multi-grain products, including breakfast cereals and bars or can be boiled whole and eaten like rice. It is also used in a variety of traditional foods world-wide including breads, porridges, steamed products, boiled products, beverages and snack foods (popped sorghum).
To view references click here.
Abundant, healthy, ancient and delicious, sorghum is one whole grain that should be on your radar. (Photo: Neil Palmer.)
As ancient grains gain in popularity, some lesser-known varieties are getting some much-deserved love. Namely, sorghum: the fifth most important cereal crop in the world. The reason it’s so essential can be traced to the plant’s natural drought tolerance and versatility as feed and fuel — plus, it’s gluten-free. The latter aspect may be responsible for the growing use of sorghum by chefs such as Marc Forgione, Thomas Keller and Michelle Bernstein. It’s not just used as a starch base; chefs also have put the grain in desserts, turned it into flour for baking and used it as a garnish. Look for sorghum at your local natural grocery store or farmers’ market come early fall.
Where it’s from
This ancient grain was domesticated in Africa more than 8,000 years ago and is thought to have been first harvested in Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt. It’s still a prominent cereal grain on the continent, as well as in India, where sorghum was imported during the first millennium B.C. “Sorghum” was derived from the word “sorgi,” as it’s known in the East Indies, and the moniker first appeared in botanical literature in 1542. As the grain made the rounds through the silk trade routes, it found a place on ships traveling with slaves from Africa to the Americas in the 19th century. In the United States, farmers took to sorghum because it thrived in arid lands where corn and other popular grains couldn’t grow. Now it’s found all over the world, though in North America most consumption of sorghum is done by livestock.
This ancient grain is endlessly versatile. For example, in the 1700s Benjamin Franklin introduced the grain as “broomcorn,” a plant used to make brooms. The Chinese ferment sorghum to make the liquor Maotai, a type of baijiu (rice wine) created in the town of Maotai in the Guizhou province. You can also find sorghum in some papermaking processes, and some ethanol is created not from corn but from this grain.
When it’s in season
In the United States, the “sorghum belt” stretches from South Dakota to southern Texas. The grain is harvested from September through October, much like other cereals. You can find it fresh and in bags lining farmer’ market stalls then, or buy it anytime of year dried or as a flour.
The sorghum plant was used to craft brooms in America’s early days.
What to look for
You can find sorghum in a rainbow of colors: pale yellow, deep red, brown, purple, white and bronze. Unlike other grains, sorghum’s hull is edible, so when shopping for it, make sure you get the whole package. After all, the main nutrients and antioxidants are found in the outer layers, making it one of the healthiest cereals out there. Plus, there is a thin, wax-like substance surrounding the grain that contains policosanols, compounds that are thought to benefit heart health.
Some farms also grow what is known as sweet sorghum. This plant is used for its stock and is made into sorghum syrup. Unlike the regular cereal, sweet sorghum’s grain head remains small, which is one reason only the stocks are harvested.
How to store it
If you have sorghum flour, treat it like other flours by keeping it in an airtight, bug-proof container, preferably in a dark cupboard. Dried grains should be looked after in a similar way.
Grinding sorghum grains in Ethiopia the traditional way, between two rocks. (Photo: Rod Waddington.)
How to prepare it
One cool thing about this grain is the way it soaks up just about any flavor you give, kind of like tofu and chicken do. You can also use the pulverized cereal as a flour substitute — a great option for those who deal with gluten allergies. But maybe the most fun way to eat sorghum is to pop the grains like corn. This gives it a toasty flavor and a fun texture that melts in your mouth.
At Cena by Michy in Miami, chef Michelle Bernstein uses sorghum in just about anything, from grain salads to risotto to soups, and as an alternative to macaroni and cheese. “It has a lot of texture, holds up well to heating and reheating, and is very toothsome and filling,” she says, adding that it’s also hard to overcook. “Just don’t undercook it. Other than that, have fun with it — there is no limit.”
Tom Kaplan, owner of Hugo’s in Los Angeles, suggests boiling the whole grain until you think it’s done, then “add at least 10 more minutes. Let it get really soft, and it will firm up when it cools; if you don’t, it gets unpleasantly al dente.” Kaplan, in his right, has become somewhat of a sorghum expert — most of the rice on his California eatery’s menu has been replaced by sorghum.
“We wanted a new, super-nutritious burrito for those who like endurance training,” he says, adding that the water tables of big rice-producing regions like California and India were critically low, so for environmental reasons he didn’t like to use rice. “While investigating other grain choices, sorghum popped up, and with all of its nutritional values, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory qualities, low glycemic index and the fact that our chef was so familiar with it, we ordered a ton.” Now the eatery is on its second literal ton, and the popularity of sorghum at the restaurant continues to pick up.
Chef Marc Forgione is also a fan and has included it in many ways at his restaurants. “I’ve actually used a bunch of different varieties of sorghum, including the popped sorghum and flour, but our salad at Lobster Press features seasonal vegetables and greens with cooked pearled sorghum,” says Forgione. “The closest thing I can compare it to is heirloom farro; it’s got a great, earthy bite to it, and if you cook it risotto style, it will have a nice chew to it.”
The chef recommends experimenting with both the whole grain and the popped sorghum. Try making it risotto style and marvel in the al dente bite it provides, or try the popped version as a garnish and to add texture to a dish. There are so many easy ways to incorporate the ancient grain, it’s amazing more people haven’t caught on.
Chef Marc Forgione’s Sorghum “Popcorn” Shrimp
Ingredients for shrimp:
- 1/3 cup fresh curly parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon shallot, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 1/2 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon pink peppercorns, crushed
- 16 to 20 white shrimp, peeled
- Maldon salt
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Amber spice mix from La Boîte
- Fresh lime juice
- 2 cups popped popcorn
- 1/3 cup popped sorghum
- 4 1/2 cups whole milk, plus additional
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Aged cheddar, grated, to taste
- Green Tabasco
- 1/3 cup popped sorghum
- Amber (from La Boîte)
- Mitsuba (a Japanese herb that tastes like a mixture of chervil, celery leaf and shiso)
- Lime wedges
For the shrimp:
- Skewer one piece of shrimp on each skewer.
- Combine all herbs, shallots, garlic and peppercorn in a small container and cover with enough olive oil to cover the herb mixture. Add the shrimp and marinate overnight or up to one day ahead.
- Remove shrimp from the marinade and season with salt, pepper and amber. Grill over medium-high heat until just cooked through.
- Finish with Maldon sea salt, olive oil and squeeze of fresh lime.
For the grits:
- Season the milk and bring to a boil.
- Add the butter, popped popcorn and popped sorghum.
- After cooking, pass through a food mill and then a tamis or drum sieve to separate out any remaining large pieces.
- Finish with a little bit of milk, aged cheddar and green Tabasco until it is the consistency of grits.
- Place the grits into a shallow bowl and top with skewers of shrimp.
- Scatter microgreens or chopped herbs and popped sorghum around.
- Sprinkle with a little amber and serve with lime wedges on the side.
Have you tried cooking with sorghum? This grain has been around for centuries, but it’s recently started to become popular in kitchens across the United States. You can find it alongside grains like bulgur and quinoa at your grocery store.
Sorghum has a slightly nutty flavor and goes wonderfully in a variety of dishes. If you’re new to this grain, you’re probably wondering how to cook with it.
There are two types of sorghum that can be used for cooking: grain sorghum and sweet sorghum.
Grain sorghum can be found as a flour (great for baking!), whole grain and pearled (with the husk removed) grain. Both whole grain and pearled sorghum look like large versions of couscous or quinoa, but the whole grain version is slightly chewier when cooked because it still has the outer husk.
Sweet sorghum comes in a syrup that has a rich, umami flavor that is sweet and nutty with a lot of depth. A lot of people compare sorghum syrup to molasses because of its dark color and bold flavor.
Before we get started on how to cook with sorghum, let’s talk about why you should cook with it. After all, it can take a big nudge to step outside of our culinary comfort zones. It can be scary to try something new in the kitchen over a tried-and-true recipe. Here are some great reasons to give it a try!
Why Cook with Sorghum
Sorghum is very nutritious. It’s a great source of dietary fiber and rich in antioxidants. Sorghum is also high in:
- Vitamin B6
Sorghum is low in sodium and gluten-free, so people with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance can use sorghum to enjoy their favorite treats without a reaction. (Bonus: Like many Kansas crops, sorghum is environmentally friendly!)
So, there’s your why. Now, the good news is that sorghum is really easy to prepare!
How to Cook Sorghum
To bake with sorghum, you can substitute one cup of sorghum flour for one cup of wheat flour. Since it’s gluten-free, the dough won’t be as sticky, so you can add a binding agent like cornstarch or xanthan gum to make it a thicker consistency. If you’re nervous about swapping out all the flour in a recipe, try swapping half to get a sense of how sorghum will affect the taste and texture.
You can cook whole grain and pearled sorghum on the stove, in a slow cooker, or in a pressure cooker. You will end up with a soft, hearty grain you can substitute for couscous, quinoa, rice or other grains.
For stovetop preparation or slow cooking, allow plenty of time for the grain to cook.
You can substitute sorghum syrup for molasses, corn syrup, honey and maple syrup in recipes. Again, you might want to swap half portions to see how it affects texture and taste. It’s great to use when making barbecue sauces, salad dressings and even syrup for pancakes and biscuits.
Fun fact: You can also pop sorghum! You want to use whole grain sorghum for popping, and you can prepare it in a popper, on the stove or in the microwave. The end result will be a bit smaller than popcorn, but just as fun!
For more details on preparing special flour and exact cooking times, visit Simply Sorghum.
How Healthful Is Sorghum?
Q: How healthful is sorghum? I see it in more supermarket products lately.
A: This cereal grain, which grows tall like corn, has a lot going for it. It’s highly resistant to drought and efficient to grow, so it has been a staple food in Africa and other parts of the world for centuries, where it’s made into porridges, flatbreads, and fermented beverages. In the U.S., sorghum has primarily been used to feed livestock and, increasingly, for ethanol. People in the South may know it as a sweetener (sorghum syrup or “sorghum molasses”).
But sorghum’s appeal as a food grain is growing here. It is now found in over 400 retail foods—from breads and cereals to cookies and snacks—more than twice as many as two years ago.
Like other so-called ancient grains, sorghum is a source of protein, iron, magnesium, B vitamins, and other nutrients, plus fiber and various phytochemicals. A 1/3-cup serving, uncooked, has about 7 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber, according to the USDA Nutrient Database.
Depending on the variety, the kernels range in color from white (most common) to purple, with the more deeply colored ones being richer in phenolic compounds that have antioxidant properties (though they are also more bitter). Sorghum is gluten-free, so it is safe for people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, as was confirmed by a 2013 paper in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Prepare sorghum kernels as you would other whole grains, such as barley, farro, and wheat berries. They are similar in size, shape, and chewiness to Israeli couscous and are good mixed with vegetables and beans and in soups and stews. You can even pop the kernels like popcorn to make a healthful snack. Also available is sorghum flour, often blended with other gluten-free grains, which can be used to make pancakes and baked goods. Some recipes call for combining the flour with gums or starches as “binders” to compensate for the lack of gluten.
Bottom line: Sorghum is a healthy and environmentally sustainable choice. For the most nutrients and fiber, look for whole-grain (not pearled) sorghum and whole-grain (not refined) sorghum flour. For cooking tips and recipes, go to simplysorghum.com.
Also see Ancient Grains: A Guide.
The Greatest Grain You’ve Never Tried: Sorghum
You may not know it, but there are 7 reasons you need more sorghum in your life. In its syrup form, it’s beloved when drizzled on Southern buttermilk biscuits. A nutritional powerhouse — high in iron and antioxidants — sorghum is a healthier alternative to sugar, and sorghum flour has become a go-to for gluten-free baking. Yet it remains largely under the radar in much of this country. Here are 7 reasons you should give it a whirl.
Image zoom Photo via Meredith Publishing
1) It’s Good for the Planet
Because it’s drought tolerant, sorghum requires much less water than similar crops, such as wheat — and that makes it good for the future of the planet. It’s in the same family as oats, rice, millet, barley and teff. There are many varietals of sorghum, but the top three types are grown for different purposes.
- Grain sorghum, pictured above, comes in various hues, from light bronze to black. The darker the grain, the more antioxidants it contains. It’s also known as milo, and has a texture similar to a wheat berry.
- Forage sorghum is an overachiever, growing up to 14 feet tall, looking much like a corn stalk. It provides fodder for the livestock industry. Cattle are also fed grain sorghum.
- Sweet sorghum becomes the prized syrup when the canes are pressed and juice is extracted. While sorghum syrup is sometimes referred to as molasses, that’s just not accurate; molasses is made from sugar cane.
Image zoom Whole grain sorghum is about the size of a peppercorn. Photo by Leslie Kelly
2) It’s Hiding in Plain Sight
More than 8 million acres of sorghum was planted in the U.S. in 2015, up significantly from the previous year. It’s mostly grown in the nation’s breadbasket, with Kansas ranking no. 1 in production and Texas coming in second. Matthew Cox from Bob’s Red Mill near Portland, Ore., said the company is noticing an uptick in sales of the whole grain. “We have seen it rise dramatically in popularity since introducing it as part of the Bob’s Red Mill Grains of Discovery family of products, which was created to help broaden the availability and awareness of such lesser-known ancient grains.”
Image zoom Photo by Leslie Kelly
3) It’s So Good for You
Grain sorghum contains significant amounts of niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin, as well as high levels of magnesium, iron, copper, calcium, phosphorous, and potassium. A single serving of roughly half a cup has nearly half the recommended amount of dietary fiber, and nearly 11 grams of protein. Sorghum syrup contains iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium, and a tablespoon offers 300 milligrams of protein.
4) Chefs are Discovering Sorghum’s Charms
Adventurous diners crave new, exciting ingredients, and while sorghum has been around for thousands of years, it’s only recently that it’s surfaced on the menus at upscale restaurants, especially in the South. The dessert menu at Standard Foods in Raleigh, N.C., features sorghum as a showy finishing touch. The grain is popped like popcorn, tossed with sugar to caramelize it and served on top of a sweet potato cheesecake. Linton Hopkins has served sorghum-glazed pork belly at elegant Restaurant Eugene in Atlanta, Georgia. Josh Feathers, the chef at Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tenn., has paired sorghum with Benton’s country ham and artisan grits, pickled ramps on the side for a dish that’s Next Level comfort food. Bob’s Red Mill suggests cooking the grain like quinoa or barley and serving it instead of pasta in cold salads or adding it to soup.
Image zoom Sorghum can be popped like popcorn. Photo by Leslie Kelly
5) It Has a Cool History
Sorghum is an ancient grain, with roots growing wild in the Old World before being widely cultivated in North Africa, around 8000 B.C. It traveled along the Silk Road to the Middle East, Asia and beyond. In Australia, China, and India, it’s now a major crop, because it thrives in the dry conditions there.
6) It’s Useful Way Beyond Food
This versatile crop is also used to make ethanol, and to create durable building materials. It’s also an important grain for livestock feed and finds its way into pet food. One of the first references to sorghum in this country is credited to none other than Benjamin Franklin, who praised its ability to accomplish a clean floor. Yes, sorghum stems are used to make brooms. That stalk with seeds in your floral arrangement? Chances are it’s sorghum. Sweet!
7) Challenging to Find, but So Worth The Effort
Sorghum syrup is challenging to find outside the American South, but thanks to interwebs commerce, it’s easy enough to order online. Check out the special Bourbon Barrel Aged Sorghum from Oak and Salt Quality Goods in Louisville, Kentucky or the excellent Muddy Pond Sorghum from middle Tennessee, featured in an entertaining short film produced by the Southern Foodways Alliance. Sorghum grain and flour are available in supermarkets that carry Bob’s Red Mill products or you can order directly from that employee-owned company.
Recipes featuring some form of sorghum:
Image zoom Photo by Buckwheat Queen