One of the rare cereals that do not have any major side effects, Sorghum has been considered to be a part of a healthy diet for centuries. Regular consumption of sorghum grains has numerous health benefits, chief among them being prevention of cancer thanks to the rare antioxidants present in the bran layer of the grain. The high dietary fiber content of this cereal makes it extremely effective for improving digestive health while also getting rid of LDL cholesterol which in turn promotes cardiovascular health. Sorghum is found to be rich in tannin which generates rare enzymes that break down carbohydrates and prevent sugar massed form spiking the glucose levels in the body, thereby protecting you form diabetes. The combination of rich concentration of calcium and magnesium works like a charm for improving bone health, while similarly the combination of copper and iron improves blood circulation in the body. Sorghum makes for a wonderful alternative food for people suffering from gluten energy. It is also extremely beneficial for maintaining stable energy levels in the body throughout the day.
Sorghum, popularly known in India as Jowar, is a cereal grain, which is found mostly in tropical and subtropical climates. Sorghum has been a part of the human diet for more than 5000 years, with its uses being traced through several civilizations across the world. It is often referred to as the fifth most important cereal crop grown in the world, with its benefits being recognized far and wide. Apart from being a healthy cereal and a gluten free alternative for wheat, sorghum is also used for animal fodder.
Sorghum is one of the most commonly used cereal grains in the world and a lot of that is thanks to the rich nutritional value it offers to the consumer. Sorghum is found to be rich in vitamins and minerals, along with providing great protein content and making up for a large portion of your dietary fiber intake. For every 100 grams of sorghum cereal, you get about 3.5 grams fat, out of which only 0.6 grams is saturated fat. You get about 72 grams of carbohydrate in every 100 grams of sorghum, with sugar making up 2.5 grams and dietary fiber making up 6.7 grams of the carbohydrate content. The protein value that can be obtained from every 100 grams of sorghum is about 11 grams, which makes up around 22% of the recommended daily values. Calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium and sodium are found in the quantities of 53.8 mg, 8.4 mg, 551 mg, 672 mg and 11.5 mg respectively per 100 grams sorghum. Vitamins like thiamin, niacin and riboflavin are also found in rich quantities in sorghum.
One of the most important benefits of sorghum grain is that it can help in preventing cancer. Sorghum grains have a bran layer which contains rare antioxidants that are extremely important for the body. These antioxidants, found in very few other food world over, have been found to be highly beneficial in reducing the chances of developing certain types of cancer, with esophageal cancer being the chief among them. As compared to the people who consume wheat or corn, consumers of sorghum stand a far lower chance of developing these cancers as the antioxidants present in the grain eliminates free radicals that promote the development of cancerous cells.
The high dietary fiber content of sorghum makes it one of the best foods in the world for improving digestion and taking care of the digestive system. A single serving of sorghum can contain up to 48% of a person’s recommended daily intake of dietary fiber, which helps the digestive system in keeping the movement of food along the system completely smooth. This also prevents bloating, cramping, excess gas, constipation, diarrhea and general stomach aches.
Another huge benefit of the high dietary fiber content in sorghum is the direct improvement it makes for heart health. The high quantity of fiber imparted by sorghum into the body helps in scraping off LDL cholesterol, or bad cholesterol as it is popularly known. This improves heart health greatly and can protect the body from several cardiovascular conditions like heart attack, stroke and atherosclerosis.
It is often found that excessive carbohydrates can break down into sugar compounds in the body and lead to serious increase in glucose levels, which in turn leads to diabetes. The people who are already suffering from diabetes have it even worse as these sugars attack the system directly. The bran of sorghum is found to be rich in tannin, which secretes enzymes that actually reduce the absorption of sugar and starch in the body. This helps a great deal in regulating the glucose and insulin levels in your body, leading to a higher protection from diseases like diabetes. For the people already suffering from diabetes, regular consumption of sorghum grain, and the regulated levels of glucose and insulin that result from it, makes sure that there aren’t regular spikes and plunges in the glucose levels in their body. This makes sure that there are no diabetic shocks or other health complications that can occur from these conditions.
The whole world is waking up to the harmful effects of a gluten allergy, which occurs mainly due to consumption of wheat based products. This allergy can lead to Celiac disease, which is a serious auto-immune disease. With wheat being used in a large number of food items across the world, it can be a huge problem for people suffering from even the slightest of gluten allergies. Sorghum grains make for wonderful alternatives for wheat in the diets of people who are allergic to gluten. It relieves the body of inflammation, nausea and serious intestinal damage that gluten can cause in the cases of gluten allergy.
Sorghum grains are found to be rich sources of calcium and magnesium, with both the minerals being extremely beneficial for the health of your bones. Calcium is directly related to the health of your bones, forming an integral part of the development and strength of bones. The magnesium content found in sorghum grains regulates and maintains calcium levels in your body as it makes sure that the calcium absorption is enhanced in the body. Both these minerals are important for the development of bone tissue and also help in speeding up the healing of damaged bones and maintenance of strength of aging bones. These minerals also help in preventing diseases like arthritis and osteoporosis.
Sorghum is a rich source of niacin, or vitamin B3. Niacin is an integral component to transform food into energy form usable by the body. If the body breaks down and metabolizes nutrients into energy, it keeps the energy levels in your body stable throughout the day. This is where niacin kicks in and makes sure that your body has consistent energy levels throughout the day instead of sudden spikes and falls that are generally provided by sugar boosts. Sorghum grains can offer up to 28% of the recommended daily intake of niacin in one helping.
Among the many minerals sorghum grains are found to be rich in, copper and iron are two of the main ones. In a similar way that magnesium and calcium work together to offer greater strength to bones, copper and iron work together to improve blood circulation in the body. Iron is extremely important for the development of blood cells. Copper enhances the absorption of iron into the body, increasing the development of red blood cells, stimulating cellular growth and repair, and overall increasing the circulation of the blood. It also decreases the chances of developing anemia. Another boost provided by the rich concentration of these two minerals in sorghum grains is the enhanced hair growth on the scalp. You can gain up to 58% of the recommended daily intake of copper in a single helping of sorghum grains.
The cancer fighting antioxidants present in the bran of sorghum grains also help in treating melanoma. The tanning effect of sorghum is effective in preventing melanoma by inhibiting the growth of pigment containing cells on the skin.
Considered to be the fifth most important cereal in the world, sorghum grains’ applications run far and wide. The most common application is in flour form used in several breads, making it an extremely important alternative food for people suffering celiac disease and gluten allergies that are caused by consumption of wheat. Sorghum is also used for manufacturing sorghum syrups and sorghum molasses. The grains are also used to produce various alcoholic beverages and biofuels across the world. Apart from the uses for humans, sorghum plants are also used as fodder for cattle.
Unlike a large number of foods out there, there are no considerable side effects of sorghum. The only risk one can probably look out for is the risk of being allergic to the grains, but even such cases are extremely rare. Like with every good thing, caution is advised and people should always have sorghum in moderation without going overboard.
Sorghum plants have been found to have originated in tropical and subtropical parts of Africa and Australia more than 500 years ago. Today, the plant is widely grown in Africa, Australia, USA, India and more.