Superfoods come and go - quinoa, kale, acai, bone broth, goji berries - all have had their superstar, superfood status day in the sun. Now it looks like another food – sorghum – is on the rise to be the next superfood you’ll be seeing more of in a grocery store near you.
Maybe you’ve never heard of sorghum but if you’ve grown up on a farm where cattle are raised, there’s a very good chance you have. But wait you may say, isn’t sorghum feed for cattle? Yes, but it can also be a food source for humans too. You see, sorghum has actually been a food staple around the world for thousands of years. It currently is a dietary source for more than 500 million people in 30 countries and is the fifth most important cereal grain crop in the world. It has taken it awhile but just recently sorghum is now having its turn wearing the banner of “superfood” here in the United States.
Sorghum’s history in the United States
Sorghum has been a crop grown and harvested in the U.S. for a long time. The first known planting of sorghum in the U.S. dates back to 1757 when Ben Franklin wrote about its use in producing brooms. The origin and early domestication of sorghum though took place in Northeastern Africa where the earliest known record of this crop comes from an archeological dig dating back to 8,000 B.C.
Sorghum is one of the most versatile crops around as it can be grown as a grain, forage, or sweet crop with a number of uses and adaptations. In fact, Jack Harlan, a well-known botanist, agronomist and plant collector, stated in 1971 that “sorghum is one of the really indispensable crops required for the survival of humankind.”
In the United States, sorghum has had as its primary use for being a livestock feed and for ethanol production. It is grown throughout the Sorghum Belt, which runs from South Dakota to Southern Texas, primarily on dryland acres. The state of Kansas leads the way as the top sorghum producing state (3.4 million acres) in the nation followed by Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Colorado.
Discovery of sorghum by consumers
Now sorghum has found its niche in the U.S. consumer food industry as the demand for this versatile, naturally drought tolerant crop has grown substantially. Consumers are discovering creative uses for sorghum in a variety of recipes making it a food in demand and can now be found in more than 350 product lines in the U. S. alone.
Sorghum is a grain that can be served like quinoa or rice and is very easy to use by cooking on the stovetop, in a slow cooker, the oven or a rice cooker. It can also be frozen and reheated without losing its flavor.
Nutritional power of sorghum
One of the prime reasons why sorghum has exploded recently on consumer’s food plates is the nutritional halo it has in providing key nutrients resulting in health benefits. Here is why sorghum lives up to its nutritional prestige – a half cup of sorghum provides the following:
· 11 grams of proteinwhich provides the building blocks for bone, muscle, skin and enzyme development
· 4.2 milligrams of iron – necessary for a strong immune system and oxygen-carrying capacity in the blood
· 2.8 milligrams of niacin – needed for improved blood circulation
· 275 milligrams of phosphorus – helps form healthy bones
· 158 milligrams of magnesium – aids in calcium absorption and body temperature regulation
· 336 milligrams of potassium – promotes healthy blood pressure
· 6 grams of fiber – improves digestive health and prevents constipation
In addition, sorghum is rich in antioxidants which may help lower your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and some neurological diseases. For those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, sorghum is perfectly acceptable to eat as it is naturally gluten-free.
To find out for yourself more information along with recipes on this next superfood on the horizon, visit www.simplysorghum.com.