Because of its drought-tolerant properties, sorghum has been a staple food in certain dry regions of Africa for centuries. But it also has a few other special properties that makes it so popular in the health scene. It’s a gluten-free grain (great for those suffering with celiac disease and gluten insensitivities), but is also a slow-digesting starch. This means it makes you feel more satisfied and could prevent a spike in your blood sugar levels.

Something you might not necessarily associate with grains, are polyphenols. These antioxidant compounds (mostly found in red wine and dark chocolate), are abundant in sorghum. Not only are these polyphenols plentiful in sorghum, but they are also more diverse than those found in other cereal grains. Why do we care about polyphenols? Well, more and more evidence is showing that polyphenols protect against inflammation – a condition said to be the precursor to many other diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, and perhaps even cancer).

Sorghum’s nutritional profile does not disappoint either. It’s high in unsaturated fats, protein, fiber, vitamins B1 and B6), and minerals (especially phosphorus and magnesium). For years, quinoa has been known as a high-in-protein grain. But certain varieties of sorghum may actually have the same amount (if not more) protein than quinoa – and it’s much cheaper!

Sorghum is not only good for the consumer, but could benefit the farmer too. The grain is not expensive, easy to grow, and requires less water than many other grains (hence its drought-resistance). Certain varieties are even grown as feed for farm animals!

Traditionally, sorghum is eaten as a porridge, or serves as a base for other dishes (similar to rice). But it’s a versatile grain.  Sorghum beer is a tradition in Africa – it has a slight sour taste and is usually consumed at room temperature (no ice-cold beer necessary!). It’s also used in baked goods, breads, and pastas, but due to the lack of gluten it might be difficult to work with.

So, are you keen to try sorghum?