Sorghum is the New Quinoa

Updated: Oct 26, 2021

Sick of going through the same old staple food grind—rice, wheat, corn, perhaps your good old friends: the root vegetables?


If your answer is ‘Yes’ to the above, let me introduce you to the new wonder grain… sorghum.


What is sorghum?

Sorghum is an ancient cereal grain that comes in multiple varieties, the most common being white and yellow.¹ It originated in Africa and is considered a valuable staple food for many living in developing countries, like India and Ethiopia.² Only recently has extensive research been done on this grain. With new discoveries on sorghum’s many health benefits, Western food companies are finding ways to "reap" the most out of this grain ;).


So is it all hype or the real deal?

You bet it's the 'real deal'! And here's why...

health benefits of sorghum
The Benefits of Sorghum in a Grainshell

1. Cleanses the Body

Polyphenols are compounds in grains that primarily function as antioxidants.³ They have the power to reduce inflammation and ward off chronic diseases.⁴ And luckily for us, sorghum has the greatest diversity regarding the amounts and types of major polyphenols when compared to other cereal grains⁵ (e.g. wheat, oats, and rice). This means your risk of developing diseases like Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity is very much reduced.⁶




2. Stabilises Blood Sugar Levels

Sorghum has the superior ability of stabilising blood sugar levels (BSL) thanks to its slowly digestible starch (SDS) and resistant starch (RS) compounds.⁷ SDS has a low glycemic index. Meaning, unlike your white bread, you won’t be crashing so soon after eating. Comparatively, RS isn’t even absorbed into the bloodstream, which means it should have no effect at all on BSLs.⁸ An special ‘hooray’ for all us diabetics out there!



3. Weight Management

Sorghum helps maintain satiety levels because of the slow absorption rate of SDS.⁹ The more satiated you are, the more you are able to focus on your daily tasks. Because let's be honest, who wants their day to be interrupted by their body going into starvation mode?



The more satiated you are, the more you are able to focus on your daily tasks.


4. Anti-Cancer

Research shows that the phytochemicals in sorghum reduce the growth and spread of cancer cells.¹⁰ This is especially true for colon cancer.¹¹ These compounds force cells to essentially die through a process called apoptosis.¹²




5. Cardiovascular Disease Prevention

According to recent studies, consuming sorghum results in lower levels of "bad" cholesterol (LDL). ¹³ This can be linked to some of the lipids in sorghum, which help regulate cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular diseases, like coronary heart disease.¹⁴




6. Healthy Gut and Smooth Bowels

The fibre content of sorghum makes it great for maintaining regular bowel movements. 100 g of the grain comprises about 6.7 g of fibre.¹⁵ That’s an impressive 4 times more fibre than brown rice¹⁶, and close to 3 times more than the much beloved quinoa¹⁷. 75 to 90 percent of the fibre content is insoluble¹⁸, which translates to smoother toilet trips! You can also thank the RS in sorghum for producing good bacteria in your gut and improving your microbiome.¹⁹



Sorghum has 4 times the amount of fibre than brown rice, and nearly 3 times more than quinoa per 100 g.


7. Gluten Free

Sorghum is one of the only cereal crops to be considered naturally ‘gluten free’²⁰, making it a great option for celiacs or those simply looking for a gluten-free alternative.




Should Sorghum Be Your New Staple Food?

In a nutshell—YES! We’re all trying to find ways to be a little better about our food choices, and contrary to popular belief, being health conscious in the kitchen isn’t as difficult as it sounds.



Whether you’re gluten-intolerant or simply looking for a staple food alternative that can improve your quality of life, we think sorghum is the one for you.


What’s your current staple food and would you consider trying out sorghum? Comment below!






 

Food and health go hand-in-handours and the planet’s too. Support us in getting the word out to more people!

 



References

  1. Davidson, K., 2019. What is Sorghum? A Unique Grain Reviewed. [online] Healthline. Available at: <https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sorghum#origin> [Accessed 7 September 2021].

  2. Simply Sorghum. 2021. What Is Sorghum? | Meet Nature's Super Grain. [online] Available at: <https://www.simplysorghum.com/about/what-is-sorghum> [Accessed 7 September 2021].

  3. Thakur, M., Singh, K. and Khedkar, R., 2020. Functional and Preservative Properties of Phytochemicals. London: Elsevier Inc., pp.341-361.

  4. Xiong, Y., Zhang, P., Warner, R. and Fang, Z., 2019. Sorghum Grain: From Genotype, Nutrition, and Phenolic Profile to Its Health Benefits and Food Applications. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 18(6), pp.2025-2046.

  5. Girard, A. and Awika, J., 2018. Sorghum polyphenols and other bioactive components as functional and health promoting food ingredients. Journal of Cereal Science, 84, pp.112-124.

  6. Xiong, Zhang, Warner and Fang, Sorghum Grain. Pp.2025-2046.

  7. F. Tereffa, T. and M. Awika, J., 2019. Sorghum as a Healthy Global Food Security Crop: Opportunities and Challenges. Cereal Foods World, 64(5).\

  8. Nutrition Australia. 2014. Fibre. [online] Available at: <https://nutritionaustralia.org/app/uploads/2020/05/Fibre-2014.pdf> [Accessed 7 September 2021].

  9. Tereffa and Awika, Sorghum as a Healthy Global Food Security Crop, n.p.

  10. Thakur, Singh and Khedkar, Functional and Preservative Properties of Phytochemicals. pp.341-361.

  11. Xiong, Zhang, Warner and Fang, Sorghum Grain. Pp.2025-2046.

  12. Xiong, Zhang, Warner and Fang, Sorghum Grain. Pp.2025-2046.

  13. Xiong, Zhang, Warner and Fang, Sorghum Grain. Pp.2025-2046.

  14. Xiong, Zhang, Warner and Fang, Sorghum Grain. Pp.2025-2046.

  15. Nutritionvalue.org. 2021. Sorghum grain. [online] Available at: <https://www.nutritionvalue.org/Sorghum_grain_nutritional_value.html?size=100+g> [Accessed 7 September 2021].

  16. Nutritionvalue.org. 2021. Rice, cooked, long-grain, brown. [online] Available at: <https://www.nutritionvalue.org/Rice%2C_cooked%2C_long-grain%2C_brown_nutritional_value.html?size=100+g> [Accessed 7 September 2021].

  17. Nutritionvalue.org. 2021. Nutrition facts for Quinoa, cooked. [online] Available at: <https://www.nutritionvalue.org/Quinoa%2C_cooked_nutritional_value.html?size=100+g> [Accessed 7 September 2021].

  18. U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2018. Sorghum grain. [online] Available at: <https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169716/nutrients> [Accessed 7 September 2021].

  19. Nutrition Australia. 2014. Fibre. [online] Available at: <https://nutritionaustralia.org/app/uploads/2020/05/Fibre-2014.pdf> [Accessed 7 September 2021].

  20. Simply Sorghum. 2021. What Is Sorghum? | Meet Nature's Super Grain. [online] Available at: <https://www.simplysorghum.com/about/what-is-sorghum> [Accessed 7 September 2021]

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