Sorghum properties, nutritional values and culinary uses

Sorghum can be a substitute for potatoes or rice in the kitchen.

Sorghum is an ancient gluten-free cereal cultivated thousands of years ago in Africa. It is mainly grown for fodder, but is also increasingly used in the food industry. Sorghum grains have a high pro-health potential. They can be used in the treatment of colon cancer, melanoma, dyslipidemia and problems with carbohydrate metabolism.

Sorghum belongs to ancient cereals, which were cultivated already 8 thousand years BC in Egypt and Sudan, and 3-5 thousand BC in the areas of Ethiopia. From South-East Africa, sorghum spread to the whole of Africa, and the sea routes reached the Middle East, India and China. This cereal grows wild or is grown in many regions of the world with a tropical and subtropical climate, as well as moderate warm – in India, Africa, Australia, the United States, Central and South America.Currently, the largest producer of sorghum is the United States, where it is the third most important grain.In the world, sorghum is ranked 5th in terms of production volume and accounts for only 2 percent of all crops grown.It is also the basis of food in many countries of Africa and Asia.In Poland, sorghum crops are very small, few farmers deal with them, and their area does not exceed 100 ha. Due to the fact that sorghum is one of the most efficient cereals in cultivation, and at the same time cheap, very resistant to drought, fungi and molds, and also easily adaptable to environmental conditions, it is considered to be the cereal necessary for the survival of humanity.It is estimated that due to the deterioration of climatic conditions for the growth of cereals in Poland, more and more farmers will decide to grow sorghum, especially in sandy areas with a small amount of rainfall.


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Sorghum cultivars

Sorghum occurs in many varieties.Red and orange are classically grown cereals, cream and white are most often used for flour, and black and brown are varieties very rich in antioxidants, which are used in various ways in the food industry.Sorghum belongs to the gluten-free cereals that can be used in the diet of people suffering from celiac disease, allergies and gluten intolerance.Sorghum is also used for the production of groats and flour, but it is primarily a feed for livestock and raw material for the production of ethanol.About 1/3 of the production is spent on biofuels.Sweet sorghum is a raw material for the production of sweetening syrup – formerly an important sweetener used in households, and now a component in the production of whiskey and rum.

Sorghum – nutritional values

In terms of calorific value, sorghum resembles other grains and provides 329 kcal in 100 g. It consists mainly of carbohydrates and contains a lot of fiber – 6.7 g, which supports the work of the digestive tract, regulates the rhythm of bowel movements and accelerates the excretion of toxins from the body.100 g of sorghum cover the protein demand by 21 percent. Amino acids, which are present in it in the highest concentration, are leucine and tryptophan (essential amino acids), and deficient is lysine. Sorghum contains little fat, most of which are unsaturated fatty acids, including omega-3 (65 mg / 100 g) and omega-6 (1.3 g / 100 g). This cereal is a good source of B vitamins (mainly niacin, thiamine and vitamin B6), which participate in energy changes, accelerate metabolism and control the functioning of the nervous system. Manganese abundantly present in sorghum is an essential component of bones, also affects sexual performance and fertility, thyroid work and protection against free radicals. High magnesium content in cereals promotes bone health, and the presence of iron and copper reduces the risk of anemia, increases energy levels and promotes faster hair growth. Sorghum contains a lot of potassium and very little sodium, thanks to which it has a beneficial effect on blood pressure and the level of retained fluids in the body.The composition of grains contains bioactive phyto-antioxidants, such as lignans, phenolic acids, plant sterols and saponins. Their antioxidant activity is similar to berries – one of the strongest plant antioxidants. Thanks to the rich composition of sorghum, it reduces the risk of colon cancer more than other cereals, reduces cholesterol levels in blood and supports the functioning of the circulatory system.


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Sorghum and genetic modifications

The safety of sorghum was confirmed in laboratory tests and in tests on humans.Sorghum is commonly regarded as a plant that has not been subjected to genetic modification, but research is being carried out on modified sorghum, which is to solve the problem of hunger in Africa.At least one large company in the United States (Monsanto) uses genetically modified sorghum to increase its nutritional value and make it more soil friendly.However, it is not taken into account that the crossing of modified species with wild sorghum may lead to the extinction of natural varieties.

Health properties of sorghum

Sorghum belongs to cereals with high pro-health potential.Due to its rich composition, the research environment checks the impact of sorghum on various diseases.The healing effects of gluten-free grain confirmed scientifically

inhibiting the growth of colon cancer cells

3-deoxytanine (3-DXA) – a powerful antioxidant found in sorghum seeds responsible for antiproliferative activity (inhibiting cell division) against human colon cancer cells.Most 3-DXA is found in black and red varieties, but the compound is also present in lower concentrations in light grains. Sorghum grains have a 3-4 times higher antioxidant potential than other grains.

Protection against insulin resistance and diabetes

Sorghum, in contrast to wheat, rice and oats, due to the high content of antioxidants, inhibits the glycation of proteins (the process of attaching glucose to proteins, causing them to age).Advanced end-products of glycation greatly influence the problems associated with diabetes, which is why some sorghum species may have a beneficial effect on processes related to the risk of diabetes and insulin resistance.

Lowering blood cholesterol

Studies on hamsters have shown that a diet enriched with fat from sorghum reduces the total cholesterol and bad LDL cholesterol in the blood, while not affecting the decrease in good HDL cholesterol.In animals fed for 4 weeks with a diet of 0.5 percent sorghum fat, LDL dropped by 18 percent, and 5 percent of fat – by 69 percent.Research suggests that sorghum seeds can be used as a component of cholesterol lowering supplements in humans.


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Support for melanoma treatment

Phenolic sorghum ingredients can slow down the development of cancer melanoma cells, as confirmed in studies on human cancer cells.It turns out that in regions of South Africa, where sorghum in the diet has been replaced with maize, there has been a strong increase in the incidence of cancer of skin epithelial cells.


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