Health Benefits of Sorghum



Many people are guilty of taking supplements indiscriminately. Did you know that consuming too much vitamin C has the potential to increase the amount of oxalate in your urine, increasing your risk of developing kidney stones? All of these vitamins are found in our foods. If you need supplements, your doctor will decide. I would like to add to what I said about Ofada rice last week. Some have undergone a transformation that almost looks like polished rice. The only way to reap the full benefits is to eat the original. I buy the one I eat from Ekiti State. Although I have to endure the pain of removing the stones, my joy is that all the parts of a bean I talked about last week are still intact and also that popular flavor of Ofada. For me, it is this flavor that makes it appetizing.

This week I will talk about another cereal from the millet family known as sorghum or guinea corn. It is botanically called Sorghum bicolor and belongs to the Poaceae grass family. His name is oka baba (Yoruba) and dawa/jero (Haoussa). It is an excellent source of vegetable protein. Indeed, it provides as much protein as Quinoa, a cereal renowned for its high protein content. Moreover, it is rich in antioxidants such as flavonoids, phenolic acids and tannins. A diet high in these antioxidants can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in your body. Half a cup of sorghum provides more than seven grams of fiber, or about 25% of the recommended daily fiber intake. A diet high in fiber helps manage weight, lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar and prevent constipation. For those looking for a gluten-free grain (gluten is a group of proteins found in certain grains that give food products a stretchy quality and structure), sorghum is a super healthy option. You can replace gluten-containing flour with sorghum in baked goods like bread, cookies, or other desserts. Sorghum is an important source of many vitamins (B1 and B6) and minerals (iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc), all of which contribute to good health.

Sorghum compounds called 3-deoxyanthocyanidins (3-DXA) are present in darker colors and to a lesser extent in whites. Scientists from the University of Missouri tested black, red, and white sorghum extracts and found that all three extracts had strong anti-proliferative activity against human colon cancer cells. Scientists from the University of Nebraska observed that sorghum is a rich source of phytochemicals and decided to study its cholesterol management potential. They fed varying levels of sorghum lipids to hamsters for four weeks and found that the healthy fats in the grain significantly lowered “bad” (non-HDL) cholesterol. The reductions ranged from 18% in hamsters fed a diet comprising 0.5% sorghum lipid to 69% in hamsters fed a diet comprising 5% sorghum lipid. The good cholesterol (HDL) was not affected. The researchers concluded that “grain sorghum contains beneficial components that could be used as food ingredients or dietary supplements to manage cholesterol levels in humans.”

Joseph Awika and Lloyd Rooney of Texas A&M University conducted an extensive review of dozens of studies involving sorghum and concluded that phytochemicals in sorghum “have the potential to significantly impact human health” . In particular, they cited evidence that sorghum may reduce the risk of certain cancers and support cardiovascular health.

Although the focus is on the grain, I would like to talk about the leaves. It’s called “poporo baba” and you can buy herbs from the women selling herbs in the market. The leaves consist mainly of carotenoids, flavonoids and phenolic acids with small amounts of chlorophyll, lycopene and beta-carotene. Leaf fatty acid profiles revealed that palmitic, stearic, oleic and linoleic acids predominated, each having more than five percent of the total fatty acids identified. It is cooked (add spices of your choice during cooking) and drunk as a tonic against anemia and general lack of vitality. In addition to its many uses as a medicine, the deep red color extracted from the leaves is used to dye baskets, goatskins, basketry materials, textiles, grass mats, wool, mud houses and as body paint. The leaves add flavor and give Waakye (a local dish made by cooking rice and beans with red sorghum leaves) its distinctive reddish-brown color. The leaves have been used in combination with three additional herbs in Nicosan Phytomedicine, approved in Nigeria for the treatment of sickle cell disease. A popular blood tonic has also been developed from the leaves.

Let’s see more of its benefits:

  • Contains energizing nutrients
  • May improve bone health
  • Helps fight inflammation and cancer.
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Slowly digested, this slows the rate at which glucose (sugar) is released into the bloodstream.
  • Inhibits cancer growth.
  • One of the most important micronutrients in sorghum is iron.
  • May have cardioprotective properties.
  • May help with weight management

In a study titled “Bioactive and Nutrient Compounds in Red Leaves of Sorghum bicolor (Guinea Maize) and Their Implications for Health”, by Abugri et al, the nutritional implication of these findings is that consumption of diets prepared with the leaves provide natural antioxidants. and essential fatty acids that could fight against cardiovascular diseases.

In a study titled “Anti-anaemic potentials of aqueous extract of stem bark of Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench in rats”, by Temidayo Oladiji et al, the results revealed that the administration of extract restored the anemic state in the iron deficient group and thus lend credence to its use in folk medicine in the management of anemia.

In a study titled “Pre-administration of a fermented sorghum diet provides protection against hyperglycemia-induced oxidative stress and suppresses glucose utilization in alloxan-induced diabetic rats,” by Olawole et al , consumption of a sorghum-based diet may protect against hyperglycemia and oxidative damage and may therefore serve as a functional food for the management of diabetes mellitus.

In a study titled “Antioxidant and Anticancer Activities of Proanthocyanidin-Rich Extracts of Three Varieties of Sorghum Bran (Sorghum bicolor)”, by Yingying Zhu et al, the results indicate that sorghum bran may be a valuable natural extract resource. of proanthocyanidins which exerts antioxidant effects and prevention of HCC (hepatocellular carcinoma).

In a study titled “Consumption of extruded sorghum associated with a calorie-restricted diet reduces body fat in overweight men: a randomized controlled trial”, by Pamella Cristine Anunciação et al, the conclusion is that extruded sorghum was found to be a good alternative to controlling obesity in overweight men.

You can cook the grain like you would cook rice and quinoa. It can be used as gluten-free flour in most recipes. Add the kernels to a heated skillet and watch them pop like popcorn. It is also made into syrup used to sweeten many processed foods. Like other cereals like oats, flaked sorghum is delicious as a cereal and in baked goods. Sorghum contains more crude protein than maize, so it’s not a bad idea if you use it to make your porridge (ogi/akamu) more than you will use maize.

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