Grains make up the foundation of so many delicious dishes, but we tend to get stuck using the same ones over and over again. If you’re ready for a break from rice and quinoa, we recommend checking out sorghum. This gluten-free option has been around for centuries and can fight off inflammation, balance blood sugar, and might even help you lose a few pounds.
Sorghum is originally native to Africa and now grown all around the globe. Until recently, it was mainly used as feed for livestock, but us humans can benefit from the nutrient-packed grains, too! Along with its mild, earthy flavor, sorghum is a rich source of vitamin B6, magnesium, and iron.
Although the amount of carbs might make you wary (69 grams in half a cup, uncooked), it’s a complex carbohydrate that digests slowly and boosts our energy rather than weighing us down. It also has plenty of fiber (7 grams per half cup) and protein (10 grams per half cup). For reference, cooking half a cup of raw sorghum will puff up to about a cup and a half’s worth on your plate — so a little goes a long way.
The protein and fiber content make sorghum an excellent choice for anyone hoping to shed a few pounds. In fact, a study from 2019 compared two groups of participants who consumed the exact same level of calories, but one ate sorghum while the other ate wheat. Researchers found that sorghum was far more effective at reducing body fat percentage.
Half a cup of sorghum contains about 25 percent of the daily recommended intake for vitamin B6, which is another helpful nutrient for weight loss. It promotes certain enzyme productions in our body that metabolize proteins, fats, and carbs as energy.
You’ll also get around 37 percent of the daily recommended amount of magnesium and 18 percent of the daily recommendation for iron — two more minerals that aid in maintaining a healthy weight, plus getting a good night’s sleep and keeping our thyroids functioning properly. On top of all of those perks, a comprehensive review of studies highlighted how sorghum is high in antioxidants that work to fight off chronic inflammation and balance blood sugar.
Sorghum is gaining popularity, so there’s a good chance you can find it at your local grocery store. It’s also readily available online as whole grain (Buy on Amazon, $8.99) or ground into a flour (Buy on Amazon, $8.69).
The whole grains can be cooked and enjoyed similarly to quinoa — or popped like popcorn! The flour makes a great gluten-free replacement for baked goods. Whichever way you go, it’s clearly worth giving this ancient grain a try.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First For Women.
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