Health Benefits of Guinea Corn – Sorghum - Grace Ngo Foundation

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Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Health Benefits of Guinea Corn – Sorghum

Image result for images Guinea Corn – Sorghum
Sorghum, an ancient cereal grain that’s a staple crop in India and throughout Africa, has long been considered a safe grain alternative for people with celiac disease and gluten insensitivity. New molecular evidence confirms that sorghum is completely gluten-free, and reports that the grain provides health benefits that make it a worthy addition to any diet.
Gluten is the flexible protein in common grains like wheat, barley and rye that give them a chewy, springy quality when baked into breads or pastas. Gluten triggers inflammatory reactions in people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity that can cause abdominal pain and digestive issues, and eventually lead to joint pain and intestinal damage. For now, the only way to avoid gluten intolerance is to stick to a strict gluten-free diet.

Paola Pontieri of the Institute of Genetics and Biophysics in Naples, Italy, led a team of researchers in analyzing the recently published sorghum genome in order to confirm that the grain contains no gluten proteins. Their results, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, confirm that the gluten protein is absent in different varieties of sorghum.
They also find a variety of other sorghum health benefits, even for people without gluten intolerance. Sorghum has high nutritional value, with high levels of unsaturated fats, protein, fiber, and minerals like phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and iron. It also has more antioxidants than blueberries and pomegranates.
Recent research suggests that certain phytochemicals allow sorghum consumption to reduce the risk of colon and skin cancer more than other grains, and that other properties can promote cardiovascular health and lower cholesterol.
Certain sorghum varieties are more easily digestible than others, and American farmers have started to cultivate varieties that they call “food-grade” sorghum- the grain has historically been grown only for livestock feed in most countries.
Still sorghum is the fifth-most produced grain in the world, behind wheat, corn, rice, and barley. In the United States, only wheat and corn are produced in higher quantities. The grain is considered cheap and easy to grow, since it is drought-resistant, grows in dry climates, and requires less water than wheat.
Sorghum’s status as an alternative grain for people with gluten intolerance has made it more available as human food in the United States, and Pontieri’s team suggests that its high nutritional value and other health benefits recommend it as a replacement for rice or corn among the general population as well.
“Food-grade sorghums should be considered as an important option for all people, especially celiac patients,” their report concluded.
In nations with high sorghum consumption, the grain is often eaten as porridge or boiled like rice as a base for other dishes. The Ethiopian bread injera is made from sorghum, as are a variety of gluten-free beers.
The Whole Grains Council says that sorghum’s “neutral, sometimes sweet, flavor and light color” allow it to easily absorb other flavors, and recommends several recipes. In general, sorghum flour can be used as a wheat replacement in breads, pastas, cereals, and baked goods, with a bit of experimentation to mimic the springy quality of gluten
Sorghum May Inhibit Cancer Tumor Growth
Compounds in sorghum called 3-Deoxyanthoxyanins (3-DXA) are present in darker-colored sorgums, and to a lesser extent in white sorghum. Scientists at the University of Missouri tested extracts of black, red, and white sorghums and found that all three extracts had strong antiproliferative activity against human colon cancer cells.
Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry. 2009 Mar 11;57(5):1797-804
Sorghum May Protect Against Diabetes
Advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) are increasingly implicated in the complications of diabetes. A study from the University of Georgia Neutraceutical Research Libraries showed that sorghum brans with a high phenolic content and high anti-oxidant properties inhibit protein glycation, whereas wheat, rice or oat bran, and low-phenolic sorghum bran did not. These results suggest that “certain varieties of sorghum bran may affect critical biological processes that are important in diabetes and insulin resistance.”
Phytotherapy Research. 2008 Aug;22(8):1052-6
Sorghum is Safe for People with Celiac Disease
Up to one percent of the U.S. population (and about ½% worldwide) is believed to have Celiac Disease, an autoimmune reaction to gluten proteins found in wheat, barley and rye. While sorghum has long been thought safe for celiacs, no clinical testing had been done until researchers in Italy made a study. First, they conducted laboratory tests; after those tests established the likely safety, they fed celiac patients sorghum-derived food products for five days. The patients experienced no symptoms and the level of disease markers (anti-transglutaminase antibodies) was unchanged at the end of the five-day period.
Clinical Nutrition. 2007 Dec;26(6):799-805. Epub 2007 Aug 24
Sorghum May Help Manage Cholesterol
Scientists at the University of Nebraska observed that sorghum is a rich source of phytochemicals, and decided to study sorghum’s potential for managing cholesterol. They fed different levels of sorghum lipids to hamsters for four weeks, and found that the healthy fats in sorghum significantly reduced “bad” (non-HDL) cholesterol. Reductions ranged from 18% in hamsters fed a diet including 0.5% sorghum lipids, to 69% in hamsters fed a diet including 5% sorghum lipids. “Good” (HDL) cholesterol was not affected. Researchers concluded that “grain sorghum contains beneficial components that could be used as food ingredients or dietary supplements to manage cholesterol levels in humans.”
Journal of Nutrition. 2005 Sep;135(9):2236-40
Advantages of Sorghum over Maize in South African Diets
Sorghum has been widely consumed as a staple food and in beverages throughout Africa. More recently, corn has replaced sorghum in some areas. Researchers from the University of Witwatersrand Medical School in South Africa believe that “the change of the staple diet of Black South Africans from sorghum to maize (corn) is the cause of the epidemic of squamous carcinoma of the esophagus.” They link the cancers to Fusarium fungi that grow freely on maize but are far less common on sorghum and note that “countries in Africa, in which the staple food is sorghum, have a low incidence of squamous carcinoma of the esophagus.”
Antioxidants in Sorghum High Relative to other Grains and to Fruits
Joseph Awika and Lloyd Rooney, at Texas A&M University, conducted an extensive review of scores of studies involving sorghum, and concluded that the phytochemicals in sorghum “have potential to signiciantly impact human health.” In particular, they cited evidence that sorghum may reduce the risk of certain cancers and promote cardiovascular health.
Phytochemistry. 2004 May;65(9):1199-221
Sorghum May Help Treat Human Melanoma
Scientists in Madrid studied the effect of three different components from wine and one from sorghum, to gauge their effects on the growth of human melanoma cells. While results were mixed, they concluded that all four components (phenolic fractions) “have potential as therapeutic agents in the treatments of human melanoma” although the way in which each slowed cancer growth may differ.
Source: www.medical daily.com
www.wholegrainscouncil.org

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