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8 Health Benefits Of Sorghum: Time For Some Grainy Goodness

Health Benefits Of Sorghum

Sorghum is rich in essential nutrients like magnesium, iron, thiamine, niacin, and vitamin B6. It is also a good source of fiber and antioxidants. This gluten-free grain can help control blood pressure and blood sugar. It may even help tackle obesity and prevent cancer.

Sorghum packs quite a healthy punch for such a small grain. This nutritious food, a staple in parts of Africa and India, comes in many varieties. The wholesome grain is quite versatile too, moving past its traditional use in porridges to finding a place in breads, cereals, and even breakfast or snack bars.12 If you are keen to try out sorghum, we’ve got the benefits lined up to convince you!

1. Is Rich In Essential Nutrients

Sorghum is a nutrient-dense grain. Just 100 grams of the grain brings you 10.6 grams of protein. This grain is also rich in minerals like magnesium and iron, with 100 grams providing 39.2 % and 18.6% of your daily value requirement, respectively. But that’s not all. Sorghum is also rich in B vitamins like thiamine, niacin, and vitamin B6, with 100 grams meeting more than 20% of the daily value of these important nutrients. From metabolism and cell division to energy production, these nutrients are involved in many vital bodily functions.3 4

2. Is A Good Source Of Fiber

Sorghum contains a fair amount of fiber. A diet rich in fiber is linked to a lower risk of stroke, heart disease, bowel cancer, and diabetes. It can also make you feel fuller, aid digestion, and ward off constipation. Adults should ideally get about 30 grams of fiber every day. So if you’re looking to up your fiber intake, sorghum can pitch in. Depending on the variety, 100 grams of this grain can give you anything between 8.8–11.1 grams of fiber.5 6

3. Contains Protective And Anti-Aging Antioxidants

Sorghum contains bioactive compounds such as anthocyanins and phenols which have antioxidant properties.7 This means that they can curb the damaging effects of free radicals. We’re all exposed to free radicals produced by the body when food is turned into energy or through contact with environmental toxins, alcohol, and processed foods. These harmful compounds are thought to have a part in aging as well as a wide array of illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.8 It is therefore important to tank up on antioxidant-rich foods which can boost your body’s defenses against free radicals. Choose whole-grain rather than refined sorghum since the antioxidants are present mainly in the bran.

4. Is Gluten-Free

If a gluten allergy or celiac disease is causing your body to reject gluten, you need to explore other whole grains. Cue sorghum! This grain is gluten-free and can help you sidestep the digestive issues gluten intolerance can cause. Even if you want to shake things up a bit and eat gluten-free foods once in a way, sorghum can be a nutritious alternative to wheat.9 10

5. Helps Tackle Obesity

Sorghum can be your ally in your weight loss efforts. One animal study looked at the effect that resistant starch from sorghum on subjects fed a high-fat diet. It was found effective in both preventing and treating obesity. Resistant starch present in sorghum can stimulate the secretion of leptin, the hormone which staves off hunger by letting your brain know that you’re full. It also works by improving intestinal flora, a community of microorganisms in your gut that helps your digestive system function optimally.11

6. May Help Control Blood Pressure

In addition to cutting back on salt, you also need adequate amounts of potassium to help reduce high blood pressure and prevent hypertension. And sorghum can contribute to meeting your potassium requirements – just 100 grams can give you 7.7% of the daily value for this mineral. Moreover, research shows that a protein known as kafirin present in sorghum can be broken down into constituents which inhibit the angiotensin-converting enzyme. This enzyme plays a role in narrowing your blood vessels, so by countering it, sorghum can help relax your blood vessels and lower blood pressure.12 Including sorghum in your daily diet may, therefore, help keep your blood pressure under control.

7. Helps Manage Diabetes

Animal studies show that sorghum extracts can improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar.13 Certain varieties of sorghum bran which have a high phenolic content have also been found to inhibit protein glycation, that is the binding of a protein molecule and a sugar molecule. How does this help people with diabetes? Protein glycation is thought to play a role in the development of many diabetic complications such as diabetic neuropathy, retinopathy, nephropathy, and arterial abnormalities.1415

8. May Protect Against Cancer

Epidemiological evidence shows that the consumption of sorghum is linked to lower incidences of gastrointestinal cancer. And research indicates that extracts from sorghum can induce detoxifying enzymes that can help fight cancers. Sorghum was also found to display antiproliferative activity against cancer cells thanks to its antioxidant properties.16 Including this grain in your diet may, therefore, offer you some protection from cancer.

Happy Cooking With Sorghum!

Sorghum grain can be served like rice or quinoa. Use 3 cups of water to cook 1 cup of sorghum – it’s that simple! Sorghum flour can also be used to make breads and rotis. If you want to use sorghum flour for baking, remember to add a binder such as xanthan gum since this grain doesn’t contain gluten. Half a teaspoon of xanthan gum for a cup of flour will work for cookies and cakes while a teaspoon might be needed for breads. Egg whites and cornstarch can also be used as binders.17 You can also knead sorghum flour with hot water and roll out traditional unleavened Indian flatbreads like jowar ki roti or jowar bhakri.

References   [ + ]

1. What is Sorghum?. United Sorghum Checkoff Program.
2. Grain Sorghum (Milo). Purdue University.
3, 6. Basic Report: 20067, Sorghum grain. United States Department of Agriculture.
4. Labeling Daily Values. National Institutes of Health.
5. How to get more fibre into your diet. National Health Service.
7. Awika, Joseph Mobutu. “Sorghum phenols as antioxidants.” PhD diss., Texas A&M University, 2000.
8. Antioxidants: What You Need to Know. American Academy of Family Physicians.
9. Coeliac disease. National Health Service.
10. How to Bake Gluten-Free with Sorghum. University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
11. Shen, Rui-Ling, Wen-Li Zhang, Ji-Lin Dong, Gui-Xing Ren, and Ming Chen. “Sorghum resistant starch reduces adiposity in high-fat diet-induced overweight and obese rats via mechanisms involving adipokines and intestinal flora.” Food and agricultural immunology 26, no. 1 (2015): 120-130.
12. Kamath, Vasudeva, Sajeeda Niketh, Arun Chandrashekar, and P. S. Rajini. “Chymotryptic hydrolysates of α-kafirin, the storage protein of sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) exhibited angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitory activity.” Food Chemistry 100, no. 1 (2007): 306-311.
13. Park, Ji Heon, Sun Hee Lee, Ill-Min Chung, and Yongsoon Park. “Sorghum extract exerts an anti-diabetic effect by improving insulin sensitivity via PPAR-γ in mice fed a high-fat diet.” Nutrition research and practice 6, no. 4 (2012): 322-327.
14. Brownlee, MD, Michael. “Advanced protein glycosylation in diabetes and aging.” Annual review of medicine 46, no. 1 (1995): 223-234.
15. Farrar, Johnetta L., Diane K. Hartle, James L. Hargrove, and Phillip Greenspan. “A novel nutraceutical property of select sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) brans: inhibition of protein glycation.” Phytotherapy research 22, no. 8 (2008): 1052-1056.
16. Awika, Joseph M., Liyi Yang, Jimmy D. Browning, and Abdul Faraj. “Comparative antioxidant, antiproliferative and phase II enzyme inducing potential of sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) varieties.” LWT-Food Science and Technology 42, no. 6 (2009): 1041-1046.
17. Cook with sorghum to add simple goodness to your meals. United Sorghum Checkoff Program.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.