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Sorghum is a genus of numerous species of grasses, one of which is raised for grain and many of which are used as fodder plants, either cultivated or as part of pasture. The plants are cultivated in warmer climates worldwide. Species are native to tropical and subtropical regions of all continents in addition to the southwest Pacific and Australasia. Sorghum is in the subfamily Panicoideae and the tribe of Andropogoneae.

In contrast to many other cereal grains, sorghum is gluten-free, and the bran layers of dark-colored varieties are rich in phytonutrients with health-promoting properties.
Sorghum may be cooked and served alone, popped, or used in porridges and breads. A 1-cup, 192-gram serving of sorghum is energy-rich, providing 650 calories, 48 percent of your recommended daily intake, or RDI, for carbohydrates, mainly complex carbohydrates, and 48 percent of your RDI for fiber. Sorghum is rich in thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and trace minerals such as iron, phosphorus and potassium. The color of sorghum varies from white to red to black, and the bran of dark-colored varieties is rich in compounds called phenolic acids, tannins, anthocyanins and policosanols.

The bran layers of pigmented sorghum varieties contain antioxidants that may help protect against cancer development. Sorghum may slow and reduce carbohydrate digestion and absorption, which could help with blood glucose control in people with diabetes. Adding tannin-rich bran extracts of dark sorghum to corn and sorghum flour porridges lowers the estimated glycemic index of the porridges in simulated testing. Sorghum tannins interact with carbohydrates and cause the formation of resistant starch, which lowers starch digestibility. Sorghum extracts inhibit amylase, the enzyme produced with saliva and pancreatic juice that breaks down starch.

If you cannot tolerate gluten or have frequent allergic reactions after eating foods made with wheat, oats, barley or rye, sorghum is a gluten-free alternative staple grain. Sorghum appears to be safe for patients with celiac disease, an autoimmune condition of the small intestine that is aggravated by gluten.

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