The two main sorghum species, Sorghum vulgare and Sorghum bicolour, locally known as guinea corn are the most extensively grown cereal grains in Nigeria. With an estimated annual production volume of 7.0 million tonnes, Nigeria is the third main sorghum-producing country in the world, and the largest in West Africa where it accounts for around 71% of the total sorghum output.
Sorghum is mainly used in the production of alcoholic beverages in Nigeria, but it is also consumed as a grain in the Northern regions of the country. It is used to produce molasses and syrup in other parts of the world, and since it is gluten-free, it can be eaten by those with wheat intolerances.
Health Benefits of Sorghum
- Nutrient dense: Sorghum is a nutritional powerhouse as it is rich in protein, dietary fibre, and in micronutrients including, B-vitamins, magnesium, iron, copper, potassium and calcium.
- Prevents cancer growth: Sorghum is a rich source of phenolic compounds, especially 3-deoxyanthocyanidins and tannins that prevent the growth of colon and breast cancer cells.
- Promotes digestive health: Sorghum is rich in fibre, providing up to 48% of the daily recommended intake. Consequently, it can help to prevent common digestive problems like cramping, constipation, bloating and diarrhoea.
- Protects against diabetes: Sorghum contains flavonoid compounds that prevent excess absorption of starch by the body, helping to regulate glucose and insulin levels.
- Protects against heart disease: Sorghum contains phytochemicals that reduce the levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol. With its high content of fibre, sorghum also plays a role in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
Per 100g (on average), sorghum provides: 329kcal, 72g carbohydrates, 10.6g protein, 3.5g fat, and 6.7g fibre.