Sorghum Meal (Maltabella)

Category: Cereals & Porridges

Sorghum MealGluten-Free – Unrefined

The use of this unrefined product will result in a slow but steady release of sugar (energy) into the bloodstream.  This will keep your energy levels constant throughout the morning and will prevent light-headed feelings. Highly recommended for use by hypoglycaemics.

PREPARATION: Bring 3 cups water to boil. Stir in 1 cup [sorghum] and 1 tsp salt.

METHOD 1: (recommended) pour mixture into a glass baking dish and bake at 160Deg. Celsius for 1 hour. Stir once after 15 minutes.

METHOD 2: Simmer on low heat for 1 hour. Serve together with honey (soy) milk and your favoured selection of nuts, seeds, raisins etcetera.

More Info

Sorghum is, unfortunately, best appreciated in third-world countries, although it is gaining popularity in Western countries as a wholesome food – not just animal feed.

It has traditionally been used for making porridge and beverages, but it is also used today for making breads, pancakes, dumplings and couscous. It can be combined with wheat to make bread, added to other grains to make wholesome porridge or eaten as a cooked porridge by itself. Whole-grain, unrefined sorghum is one of the healthiest breakfast cereal alternatives to the sugary, refined instant cereals that are so popular especially in Western countries.

The whole sorghum grain consists largely of carbohydrates, but it also boasts plenty of good protein, plenty of vitamins and minerals, very little fat and a miniscule amount of bad, saturated fat, with little sodium and zero cholesterol. The rest of the grain is fibre. Sorghum supplies a lot of phosphorus, iron and potassium, significant amounts of magnesium and calcium, and even some zinc. A cup of sorghum also supplies significant proportions of the RDA of several important B vitamins – thiamin, niacin and riboflavin.

If you want a healthier alternative to the sugary instant cereals in the breakfast aisle at the supermarket, try sorghum. It is good for energy, for building and maintaining healthy living cells, and for fighting off diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and intestinal disorders.

Description and Origin

Sorghum (sorghum vulgare) is a genus consisting of about 20 species of cereal grass native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Eastern Africa, although there is one species native to Mexico. It can withstand very dry conditions and has the curious but useful ability to stop growing for a while during periods of drought. It is cultivated in various parts of the world, including Africa, Southern Europe, Central America, Australia and Southern Asia, and as can be expected it is therefore known by many different names: durra, Egyptian millet, feterita, guinea corn, jowar or juwar, kaffir corn, milo, shallu, Sudan grass and, in South Africa, by the popular brand names mabela and maltabella.

It is the fifth largest cereal crop in the world (after wheat, rice, maize and barley) but the second most important in Africa. Sorghum grains are very similar in structure to maize, but they are smaller and oval in shape and come in red and white varieties. The grain has a hard, floury endosperm and a large, fat-rich germ.

Using Sorghum

Sorghum has traditionally been used for making porridge and beverages, but it is also used today for making breads, pancakes, dumplings and couscous. It can be combined with wheat to make bread, added to other grains to make wholesome porridge or eaten as a cooked porridge by itself. Whole-grain, unrefined sorghum is one of the healthiest breakfast cereal alternatives to the sugary, refined instant cereals that are so popular especially in Western countries.

Nutritional Content

The whole sorghum grain consists of about 12% protein, 75% starch, 4% fat and 4% minerals. The rest of the grain is fibre. Sorghum also supplies a lot of minerals – one cupful contains 55% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of phosphorus, 47% of iron, 19% of potassium, 5% of calcium and even some magnesium and zinc. A cup of sorghum also supplies significant amounts of the RDA of several important B vitamins – 30% for thiamin, 28% for niacin and 16% for riboflavin.

Sorghum is low in sodium and saturated fat and completely cholesterol free.

 Nutritional Info
 Calories  353 Kcal
 Total Fat  3,44 g
 Sodium  104 mg
 Carbohydrate  73,85 g
 Dietary Fibre  2,42 g
 Protein  9,87 g

Health Benefits

Proteins are the building blocks of living organisms. Your body needs them to build every structure that it consists of – finger nails, cells, tissue, enzymes, hormones, bones and everything else. Protein is also important for generating energy. What many people don’t realize, however, is that you don’t need a whole lot of it to get the maximum benefit. For example, just 3 to 4 ounces (85 to 114 grams) of a protein-rich food will suffice. No matter what the adverts say, you can manage without that quarter-pound burger, especially considering the amount of saturated fat that comes with it. The more protein you can get from unrefined, low-fat, low-cholesterol cereals such as whole-grain sorghum, the better for your overall health.

Sorghum also provides a better quality of carbohydrates – not the quick-fix, unhealthy sweetness of refined sugars, but the slow-release, diabetic-friendly working of complex carbohydrates.

Like all B vitamins, thiamin is an important nutrient for proper nervous system function, including memory retention, producing mental energy, and manufacturing and repairing brain tissue. Studies have shown that giving sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease large amounts of thiamin can produce some improvement in their mental performance. The abundance of thiamin-rich foods today is also a major reason why a debilitating disease known as beri-beri is so rare today. Niacin, another B vitamin, is also essential for digestive system functions and for metabolizing proteins and carbohydrates. Riboflavin is believed to aid healthy eyes, skin, nails and hair.

Phosphorus is a working buddy of calcium and is essential for building healthy teeth and bones. In fact, phosphorus plays many other important roles in the body, such as releasing energy from the food we eat, facilitating smooth and proper muscle function and delivering oxygen to the muscle.

Iron is an antioxidant mineral. In other words, it fights off free radicals – oxygen molecules that lose electrons so that they become unstable and stabilize themselves by ‘stealing’ electrons from healthy cells, thereby damaging tissue throughout the body, thus causing any of a number of diseases. Thanks to this antioxidant power, iron is essential for helping to build resistance to stress and disease. Boosting iron through proper nutrition makes good sense, for example for menstruating women, who are a high-risk group for iron deficiency. Iron is also an integral component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells, and is part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism. Pregnant women and lactating mothers require more iron than usual, and so do growing children and adolescents.

Potassium is important for maintaining the acid-alkaline balance in the blood and essential for cardiac, skeletal and smooth muscle contraction and a normal heart beat, making it an important nutrient for normal heart, digestive, and muscular function. Studies have shown that it helps control blood pressure and keep it at a normal level. It also helps the kidneys to function at a normal level.

Considering the importance of calcium for bone and tooth formation, heart function, blood coagulation, muscle contraction and prevention of such conditions as osteoporosis, even that 5% of the daily requirement is not a bad start!

Some more good news, especially for those with concerns about such conditions as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, cancer and digestive tract disorders, is that sorghum is low in sodium, very low in saturated fat and completely cholesterol free.

General Hints and Cautions

You can best benefit from sorghum by choosing the whole-grain variety over the refined one. Experts actually recommended buying the whole grain and milling it into flour in your own home.

Vast amounts of the nutrients in this wholesome grain are lost because of excessive heat used in the cooking process. It may be advisable to avoid this by cooking the sorghum slow, on low heat, avoiding overcooking and baking in the oven instead.


Sources Consulted

Diet & Health – New Scientific Perspectives, by Walter Veith, Ph.D., Southern Publishing Association

The Doctor’s Book of Food Remedies, by Selene Yeager and the Editors of Prevention Health BooksTM, 1998, Rodale Inc.

The Doctor’s Book of Home Remedies, by the Editors of Prevention Health BooksTM, 2002, Rodale Inc.

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