What is the grain Sorghum?

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Sorghum is the fifth most important cereal (after wheat, oats, corn and barley) cultivated in the world. Scientifically known as Sorghum bicolor, it belongs to Poaceae family. They are mostly cultivated in tropical regions and are completely free of toxic chemicals. Wild Sorghum plant reaches soaring height of six feet or two meters tall. However, for easy harvest, many dwarf breeds have been specially designed for cultivation. In Africa, traditional towering Sorghum is still grown for  stalks which are used for various purposes. There is another species of Sorghum, called Sweet Sorghum, essentially cultivated for the manufacture of Sorghum syrup. In Sweet Sorghum, instead of seeds, the stalks of the plant are harvested. They are crushed like beets or sugar cane to produce  syrup, which further is cooked and reduced to concentrate the natural sugars and packaged for sale. Earlier Sorghum consumption was limited to disadvantaged groups, and the coarse grain was often referred as “poor people's crop".

 

What is the History of Sorghum? 

Sorghum originated in Africa and was vastly cultivated in Egypt during the ancient times. Although the crop has reached southern Asia and America, Africa is still the largest producer of Sorghum. In United States, Sorghum was probably brought by the African slaves who used to cultivate it in the southern states. Traditional recipes of Sorghum along with broom corn were incorporated into American cuisine by the 19th century and Sorghum was widely used to brew beers.

 

What are the Uses of Sorghum?

Around the world, Sorghum is consumed both by humans as well as animals. Sorghum is usually eaten with the hull which has the majority of its nutrients.

  • Sorghum is most favored by people who are gluten intolerant. It can be made into porridge along with other foods. Sorghum is rather neutral in flavor or slightly sweet making it compliant to a variety of dishes.
  • Sorghum flour can be prepared into porridge and flatbreads. 
  • Cracked Sorghum grains can be cooked alike rice
  • Sorghum is used to make alcoholic beverages.
  • During green stage, Sorghum can be cooked like sweet corn.
  • Sorghum can be used to make sweet syrup.
  • Sorghum is also used as animal feed in United States. Livestock are fed on the seeds, stalks, and leaves.
  • In the United States, Sorghum starch is made by a wet milling method which is used in certain industrial applications such as paper making and adhesives. 
  • Rich in protein, iron and fibre, Sorghum is extensively used as key ingredient for staple starch in much of the developing countries.

 

What are the Nutrients present in Sorghum?

  • Sorghum has a high fibre content. One cup serving of Sorghum contains 12.1 g of dietary fiber.
  • Sorghum is a rich source of different minerals like phosphorous (one cup provides 55 % of RDA), potassium( one cup provides 19 % of RDA),iron (one cup provides 47% RDA) and calcium(one cup provides 5.4 % RDA).
  • Sorghum also fulfills 0.5 % of daily recommended sodium intake.
  • Sorghum also has small amounts of various B vitamins. One cup serving sorghum ( 100 grams) provides 38 mg of thiamine, 4.3 mg of niacin and 0.15 mg of riboflavin.
  • One cup serving of Sorghum provides 43.5% of daily protein recommended intake.
  • Sorghum is extremely low in fat and contains no cholesterol at all. Like all other cereals it has fairly good amount of carbohydrates, meeting 47.8 % of recommended daily intake.

 

What are the Health benefits of Sorghum?

Sorghum is widely used  to render immunity to the body. Sorghum has several benefits such as:

  • Sorghum strengthens and energizes the immune system.
  • Sorghum helps in elimination of toxic wastes from the body.
  • Sorghum increases endurance and staying ability.
  • Sorghum assists in blood cells building.
  • Sorghum is a natural antioxidant supplement.
  • Sorghum helps in relieving appetite loss, food allergies, diarrhoea and aids rapid recovery.
  • Sorghum is known to stimulate cardio-vascular system and promotes free flow of blood that aids in lowering cholesterol levels.

 

What are the Side-effects of Sorghum?

  • Brown Sorghum grain ( with seed coat ) contain tannin. It may be difficult for the human body to absorb other nutrients.  
  • Sorghum grain is susceptible to mycotoxin production and fungal growth. Only well preserved cereals must be considered for consumption.
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