Guinea corn, more commonly known as sorghum, is related to sugar cane, which is why it's sometimes used to make a sweet syrup. Although people in Asia and Africa often eat it as a cereal grain, sorghum is more commonly used as livestock feed in the United States. You can add variety to your diet by giving this nutritious, gluten-free grain a try, especially if you have celiac disease.
Basic Nutrition Facts
A 3/4-cup serving of cooked sorghum contains about 165 calories and provides approximately 3 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein and 36 grams of carbohydrates, including more than 3 grams of fiber, or about 13 percent of the daily value for fiber. Fiber helps fill you up without a lot of calories and may help lower your risk for cancer, constipation, high blood sugar and high cholesterol.
Vitamin and Mineral Content
Each 3/4-cup serving of cooked sorghum provides about 11 percent of the daily value for thiamine and riboflavin, 10 percent of the DV for iron, 20 percent of the DV for magnesium, 15 percent of the DV for phosphorus and 40 percent of the DV for manganese. Both riboflavin and thiamine help you turn the food you eat into energy. You need iron for producing red blood cells, magnesium for a healthy immune system, and phosphorus and manganese for forming strong bones.
Potential Health Benefits
Sorghum is rich in phytochemicals. Preliminary research shows these beneficial plant chemicals may help lower your risk for heart disease, obesity and cancer, according to a review article published in Phytochemistry in May 2004. Animal research shows that sorghum may help lower blood sugar levels, making it beneficial for diabetics, according to a study published in Nutrition Research and Practice in August 2012. Choosing sorghum over wheat or rice may help diabetics control their blood sugar levels because sorghum has a lower glycemic index, according to a study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture in 2014. The glycemic index estimates the effect of foods on blood sugar levels -- foods with lower scores typically have less of an effect on blood sugar levels.
Use in Cooking
You can use sorghum flour to make baked goods as long as you use it along with a gluten-containing flour or add a binder like xanthan gum. Another option is to cook the grain to use in place of rice or other grains. A cup of sorghum cooked with 4 cups of water for 25 to 40 minutes will give you 3 cups of cooked grain. For a fun treat, try popping sorghum grains like popcorn.
- Whole Grains Council: Sorghum June Grain of the Month
- Taste of Home: How to Cook Whole Grains
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Sorghum and Millets in Human Nutrition
- HealthAliciousNess.com: Nutrition Facts Comparison Tool
- Phytochemistry: Sorghum Phytochemicals and Their Potential Impact on Human Health
- Nutrition Research and Practice: Sorghum Extract Exerts an Anti-Diabetic Effect by Improving Insulin Sensitivity via PPAR-γ in Mice Fed a High-Fat Diet
- Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture: Glycaemic Index and Glycaemic Load of Sorghum Products
- University of Arizona Extension: Dietary Fiber
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.