It’s no secret that grains are an important part of a healthy and balanced diet. From quinoa to brown rice, grains are certainly in the spotlight thanks to their nutritional profile and versatility.
But while there are some choices that have gone mainstream in popularity, there are others that deserve their moment to shine on our plates, too. Among the many grain options out there, sorghum is a grain that’s new to many of our kitchens but has been used in certain African and Asian dishes for years. And it’s certainly a grain to have on your radar.
Sorghum is a cereal grain that is circular and firm in texture even when cooked. And it can be enjoyed boiled, steamed, and even popped (yes, just like popcorn).
Here are some of the reasons sorghum is a grain worth knowing and loving.
Sorghum is nutritious
Eating a whole grain diet is a surefire way to add fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients to your diet. And if you’re trying to eat more whole grains, sorghum may be just what the doctor ordered.
When you delve into the nutritional value of sorghum, it’s easy to see just how nutritious this grain is. Whole grain millet is an excellent source of 12 essential nutrients, including iron and magnesium.
A serving of cooked whole grain sorghum provides more than twice the protein of a serving of quinoa, and 1/2 cup of cooked whole grain sorghum has almost twice the iron of a 3-ounce sirloin steak. This grain is also an excellent source of zinc, a nutrient that may support immune system health.
Eating sorghum may support heart health
With heart disease being the #1 killer of Americans, it’s no wonder people are focused on taking steps to support this aspect of their health. One way to do this is to treat chronic inflammation, as chronic inflammation is quite common in people with this heart condition. Sorghum appears to have anti-inflammatory benefits that may help combat this effect and in turn may support your heart health.
Sorghum also has nutrients emphasized in the DASH diet, including magnesium, potassium, and calcium, which may also support heart health.
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It can also support digestive health
It’s clear that fiber plays a key role in your digestive health. Whole grain sorghum is a naturally gluten-free grain, and half a cup of this grain provides more than 6 grams of fiber, which is almost 25% of the recommended daily fiber intake.
But sorghum isn’t just a source of fiber, it also provides a variety of fiber, from soluble to insoluble to prebiotic fiber to “fuel” live probiotics in your gut. In fact, recent studies have demonstrated the potential prebiotic activity of whole grain sorghum in the form of polyphenols found in the bran of sorghum grain.
Sorghum is naturally gluten-free
Celiac disease is the most common autoimmune disease in the United States. Among the many things people do to manage this condition, avoiding gluten is one of them. And unlike eating traditional bread or pasta, consuming sorghum is safe for those who avoid gluten in their diets.
According to the results of a study examining people with celiac disease, feeling food made from sorghum for five days did not lead to any symptoms of intolerance in these participants, and the level of anti-transglutaminase antibodies was unchanged at the end of the five-day period that confirms that this grain is safe for gluten-free diets.
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Sorghum is a whole grain worth trying
Sorghum is an unsung hero in the grain world, and including it in your dishes can easily add a boost of nutty flavor and nutritional value. From adding it to soups, to enjoying it in taco dishes, to using it as a simple cereal side, sorghum offers a lot in terms of nutrition, flavor, and versatility. So try something new and enjoy the unique texture and taste that sorghum has to offer.