Discover the 5 health benefits of Sorghum Flour.
Sorghum Flour is an ancient cereal grain that originated in parts of Africa and Australia more than 5,000 years ago.
The sorghum plant, a member of the grass plant family called Panicoideae, still provides much-needed nutrients and calories to impoverished populations living in these areas.
It is considered the “fifth most important cereal crop grown in the world,” according to the Whole Grain Council, and the third most important within the United States.
Due to its versatility as a food source, animal feed, and bioavailable fuel, sorghum grain is grown widely in the US today.
One of its growing commercial uses is in the gluten-free flour space, where both are included in store-bought flour mixed or sold alone as sorghum flour.
Why Sorghum Flour Is A Great Addition To Recipes
Sorghum is a 100 percent old grain that is ground into a fine flour that can be used in various ways for cooking and baking.
Although the U.S has historically been relegated to grain alternatives and sandwich substitutes like corn, quinoa, or potatoes, the growing awareness of gluten sensitivity and the trend toward a gluten-free diet in recent years has led to the sorghum flour to the center of attention.
Sorghum flour, which is beige or white, considered “sweet,” smooth in texture, and mild in taste, is now a popular ingredient found in many health food stores and supermarkets.
Although it is still difficult to find 100% whole grain sorghum grains in most stores, most well-stocked stores now sell gluten-free flour mixes, including sorghum flour, which are convenient, healthy, and perfect for baking and others. applications.
Like other whole grains, sorghum (which goes by the scientific name Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) is impressive in terms of its nutrient content, adding a good dose of protein, iron, B vitamins, and dietary fiber to the recipes.
Sorghum flour is also surprisingly high in antioxidants like phenolic compounds and anthocyanins, which help reduce inflammation and reduce free radical damage.
1/4 cup of sorghum flour has approximately:
• 120 calories
• 1 gram of fat
• 25 grams of carbohydrates
• 3 grams of fiber
• 0 grams of sugar
• 4 grams of protein
• 110 milligrams phosphorus (10 percent DV)
• 68 milligrams of iron (8 percent DV)
• 1-milligram niacin (6 percent DV)
• 0.12 milligrams thiamine (6 percent DV)
• Sorghum is a great substitute for wheat flour, and sorghum flour is a great baking ingredient for anyone who cannot tolerate gluten.
• While gluten protein can cause digestive and health problems for many people, including bloating, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, headaches, and other symptoms, gluten-free sorghum flour tends to be easier to digest and tolerate.
• In addition to avoiding gluten, there is another important benefit to using sorghum flour over wheat flour and certain gluten-free mixes: avoiding genetically modified (GMO) ingredients.
• Unlike corn and some wheat crops, sorghum grains are grown from traditional hybrid seeds that combine various types of sorghum grasses.
This is a natural method that has been used for centuries and does not require biotechnology, so it is non-GMO (non-GMO food) that does not carry the same risks. Why is this an important point?
Genetically modified foods are now linked to worsened allergies, learning disabilities, digestive problems, and inflammation.
• One of the biggest benefits of eating whole grains is that they retain all of their dietary fiber, unlike refined grains that are processed to remove parts like the bran and germ.
• Sorghum doesn’t have an inedible hull like other grains, so even its outer layers are commonly eaten.
• This means that it supplies even more fiber, in addition to many other crucial nutrients, and has a lower glycemic index.
• Fiber-rich foods are important for digestive, hormonal, and cardiovascular health. The high fiber content of sorghum flour also makes it “stick to the ribs” longer than other refined flours or flour substitutes, so you experience less of a “crash” after eating recipes made with sorghum.
• Antioxidants are found in anti-inflammatory foods and help scavenge free radicals which, when left unchecked, can lead to inflammation, aging, and various diseases.
• Sorghum is a rich source of several phytochemicals, including tannins, phenolic acids, anthocyanins, phytosterols, and policosanols, which means that sorghum and sorghum flour could offer similar health benefits to whole foods such as fruit.
• A 2004 study published in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry found that anthocyanin antioxidants are present in black, brown, and red sorghum kernels.
• Antioxidant activity and pH stability were found in sorghum at levels three to four times higher than other whole grains.
Black sorghum is especially considered a high-antioxidant food and had the highest anthocyanin content in the study.
• Sorghum grains also have a natural waxy coating that surrounds the grain and contains protective plant compounds, such as the type called policosanol, which research suggests has positive implications for heart health.
• Policosanols have shown cholesterol-lowering potential in human studies, sometimes even comparable to statins. The policosanol present in sorghum flour makes it a potential cholesterol-lowering food.
• Other research shows great potential for the phenolic compounds found in sorghum to help with arterial health, fight diabetes, and even prevent cancer.
Located primarily in the bran fraction, phenolics result in the plant having substantial antioxidant properties and non-enzymatic processes that help combat the pathogenesis at the root of many diabetic complications and cell mutations.
• Because sorghum flour is low on the glycemic index, higher in starch, fiber, and protein, it takes longer than other similar refined grain products to digest.
This slows down the rate at which glucose (sugar) is released into the bloodstream, which is particularly helpful for anyone with blood sugar problems like diabetes.
• Sorghum also helps fill you up and prevents spikes and dips in blood sugar levels that can lead to moodiness, fatigue, cravings, and overeating.
• Surprisingly, certain varieties of sorghum that are high in phenolic content and high in antioxidants have been shown to inhibit protein glycation, suggesting that they may affect critical biological processes that are important in diabetes and insulin resistance.
• A study conducted by the Department of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Georgia suggests a nutraceutical rationale for human consumption of sorghum as a natural way to reduce the incidence of diabetes through better control over glycation and other risk factors. diabetes.
• Eating a diet based on whole foods high in available phytochemicals is closely linked to better protection against common nutrition-related diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.
• Therefore, it is not surprising that epidemiological evidence suggests that consumption of sorghum reduces the risk of certain types of cancer in humans compared to other cereals.
• The high concentration of anti-inflammatory phytochemical antioxidants in sorghum are partly responsible, as is the high content of plant-based fiber and protein, all of which make it a potential natural cancer remedy.
• Sorghum contains tannins widely reported to reduce caloric availability and can help fight obesity, weight gain, and metabolic complications.
• The phytochemicals in sorghum also help promote cardiovascular health, which is critical considering that cardiovascular disease is currently the leading cause of death in the US and the ‘developed world’ in general.
Sorghum, also sometimes referred to in studies as bicolor sorghum (the plant species), has been an important food source for centuries.
The plant is considered durable, yields large amounts when harvested, and is heat resistant, making it a valuable crop in times of drought.
This is one reason why grains like sorghum have been a staple of poor and rural people for thousands of years, especially those living in tropical regions like Africa, Central America, and South Asia.
The oldest known record of sorghum comes from an archaeological excavation site at Nabta Playa, near the border between Egypt and Sudan, dating to around 8,000 BC.
After originating in Africa, sorghum grains spread through the Middle East and Asia via ancient trade routes.
Travelers brought dried sorghum grains to parts of the Arabian Peninsula, India, and China along the Silk Road.
Many years later, the first known record of sorghum in the United States comes from Ben Franklin in 1757, who wrote about how the grains could be used to make brooms.
Sorghum has many names around the world: milo in parts of India, guinea in West Africa, kafir maize in South Africa, dura in Sudan, mama in East Africa, jowar other areas of India, and kaoliang in China.
Historically, in addition to being grown to produce edible sorghum grains or flour, the grain has also been used to make sorghum syrup (also called ‘sorghum molasses’), animal feed, certain alcoholic beverages, and even low-energy biofuels.
Around the world, some of the ways sorghum is commonly consumed are unleavened, fermented flatbreads called jawar roti in India, porridge for breakfast or couscous served with dinner in Africa, and flour to thicken stews in parts of the world. Pacific Islands.
Sorghum is also used to make various fermented and unfermented beverages or simply as a fresh vegetable in some parts of the world.
In addition to its culinary uses for human consumption, sorghum is also considered an important feed for livestock in the US, not to mention it has promising ecological uses to provide sustainable and natural energy.
In recent years, the use of sorghum in the ethanol market has grown rapidly, with estimates showing that today about 30 percent of domestic sorghum is now destined for ethanol production.
Look for 100 percent sorghum flour that has not been bleached, enriched, or refined.
Ground sorghum flour can be used like other gluten-free grains to make homemade baked goods like bread, muffins, pancakes, and even beer.
In the United States, it is increasingly common to find sorghum flour in store-bought or commercially sold gluten-free baked goods, but making your own is always the best option.
This allows you to cut down on preservatives, sugar, and artificial thickening agents commonly used in packaged products.
When making recipes that call for wheat flour (such as when baking cakes, cookies, bread, and muffins), unbleached sorghum can be added or substituted for some of the all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour mixes.
In addition to providing nutrients and more fiber, an added benefit is that unlike some gluten-free flours (like rice flour or cornflour, for example), which can sometimes be crumbly, dry, or sandy, sorghum flour generally has a smoother texture and a very mild flavor.
It’s easy to incorporate some into sweet recipes or use a small amount to thicken casseroles, sauces, and other tasty recipes.
Most experts recommend adding 15 to 30 percent sorghum flour to your recipes to replace other flours (such as wheat flour).
Using 100 percent sorghum is usually not the best idea because it will not rise as well as lighter flours.
It works best when combined with another gluten-free flour like rice or potato starch.
You are likely to get the best results if you start with recipes that use relatively small amounts of flour in general, like brownies or pancakes, for example, instead of muffins or bread.
Note that gluten-free to “tie” ingredients and add to the texture of recipes, it is a good idea to incorporate a binder such as xanthan gum or cornstarch to add “stretch.” You can add 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum to a cup of sorghum flour for cookies and cakes, and a teaspoon per cup for pieces of bread.
Adding a little more oil or fat (like coconut oil or grass-fed butter) and extra eggs to recipes made with sorghum mixes can improve moisture content and texture.
Another trick is to use apple cider vinegar, which can also improve the volume of doughs made with gluten-free mixes.
Sure, you can make gluten-free brownies using sorghum flour, but why not keep things interesting and try making some traditional recipes that come from all over the world.
Take inspiration from places like Africa and the Middle East where savory bread, breakfast pudding, couscous, and omelets are made with sorghum flour.
Here are several ways to start using sorghum flour at home:
Total time: 15 minutes
• 1 cup gluten-free flour (use 15-30 percent sorghum flour)
• 2 eggs
• 1/4 cup coconut milk
• 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (optional)
• 1/2 cup berries or applesauce
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• Stevia to taste
• 2 tablespoons coconut oil
• Maple syrup
• Mix all ingredients (except coconut oil, syrup).
• Heat the coconut oil or butter in a skillet over medium heat. Place the mixture in the skillet and cook until bubbles form through the mixture (about 3-4 minutes).
• Flip the pancakes and cook another 3-4 minutes.
• Drizzle with Grade B maple syrup and serve.
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• While sorghum is a big step up from eating refined grain products, keep in mind that grains of all kinds are not the best for everyone.
• For many people, eating grains (and beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds too) is problematic when it comes to digestion and can contribute to disease-causing inflammation.
• One reason is that all grains naturally contain “anti-nutrients” that prevent some of the grain’s minerals and vitamins from being properly absorbed and utilized.
• One way to partially overcome this challenge is to sprout pimples. An important benefit of germination is that it releases beneficial digestive enzymes, which make all kinds of grains, seeds, beans, and nuts easier on the digestive system.
• This also helps increase the levels of beneficial flora in your gut so that you experience fewer autoimmune-type reactions when you eat these foods.
• Even after sprouting sorghum or other grains, it is best to keep them in small amounts and vary your diet. Get your nutrients, carbohydrates, fiber, and protein from a variety of sources such as vegetables (including starchy vegetables), fruits, grass-fed animal products, probiotic foods, and raw dairy.