Have you ever heard of sorghum? Well, this is actually a broad term that denotes a whole genus of grasses native to subtropical and tropical regions all over the world. More than that, sorghum possesses a lot of essential nutrients that are all beneficial for our overall health, helping boost our energy levels, promote the development of red blood cells, build stronger bones, improve digestive health, control diabetes and prevent various types of cancer, among other things. There is more to sorghum than meets the eye! If you want to learn more, keep reading.
What is Sorghum?
As touched on earlier, sorghum actually refers to a whole genus of grasses. There are about 30 different species of sorghum, but only one is harvested for human consumption. The others are mainly used as animal food. The harvested variety, Sorghum bicolor, is native to Africa, but you can now find it all over the world. It’s mainly used in the production of molasses, as a syrup or as a grain, but it can also be helpful in the production of alcoholic beverages and biofuel. It is widely considered to be the fifth most important cereal in the world.
The sorghum plant is a strong grass that typically grows up to about 0.6-2.4 meters high, but there have been reports of it getting up to 4.6 meters! Its leaves and the stalks have a white waxy coating, and its central portion is sweet and juicy. The leaves are about 5 centimeters broad and 76 centimeters long, and tiny flowers grow from its panicles. Sorghum seeds vary in color, size and shape, but they are smaller than wheat seeds.
Sorghum is extremely versatile and perfect for those who are allergic to wheat, making it a perfect staple food around the world. Because of its vast health benefits, it’s a great substitute for various types of cereals, grasses and grains consumed all over the world.
Nutritional Value of Sorghum
Sorghum is a storehouse when it comes to its nutritional content. It can provide vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin and niacin, and it also has high levels of potassium, phosphorus, calcium, copper, iron and magnesium. Adding this to your diet will give you about half of your daily protein needs and significant amount of dietary fiber. Please refer to the table below for a broader look at the nutritional value of sorghum.
|Total fat||3.46 grams|
|Vitamin C||0 milligrams|
|Vitamin B6||0.44 milligrams|
|Vitamin B12||0 micrograms|
|Vitamin A||0 International Unit|
|Vitamin E||0.5 milligrams|
|Vitamin D||0 micrograms|
|Saturated fats||0.61 grams|
|Monounsaturated fats||1.13 grams|
|Polyunsaturated fats||1.56 grams|
|Trans fat||0.01 grams|
Health Benefits of Sorghum
Here are some of the most wonderful health benefits of sorghum:
- Helps boost energy The niacin in sorghum is essential in helping the body transform food into usable energy. By metabolizing and breaking down nutrients, the body can keep energy levels stable throughout the day.
- Helps prevent anemia. The iron, copper, calcium and magnesium content of the sorghum helps increase the absorption of iron in the body. This can help reduce and prevent anemia.
- Helps improve bone density. The magnesium in sorghum is essential for maintaining calcium levels, since it increases the body’s calcium absorption.
- Helps control diabetes. The rich tannins in the sorghum bran inhibiting the body’s starch absorption. This may be beneficial in regulating glucose and insulin levels.
- Helps prevent cancer. This is one of the best health benefits of sorghum. The bran layer of the sorghum grain contains significant levels of unique antioxidants that aren’t found in other foods.
- Helps improve digestion. There is about 48% of the recommended daily fiber intake in sorghum. This is very beneficial for keeping the food moving through the digestive tract rapidly. It also prevents diarrhea, excess gas, stomach aches, constipation, bloating and cramping.
Sorghum really is beneficial for the overall health. Still don’t believe it? Add it to your diet and see for yourself!