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Anyone who grew up in southern Africa will recognise this grain. It is known as Sorghum in English, Mabêlê in Setswana, Mapfunde in ChiShona and Amazimba in IsiXhosa - to give but a few of its names.

Sorghum is a very popular staple across all of Africa - not just in the south - and is consumed as a soft porridge for breakfast, a stiffer pulp for lunch or dinner, and even brewed to make beer. Few, however, probably know just how nutritious the grain is.

Sorghum has high nutritional value, with high levels of protein and unsaturated fats, as well as minerals like phosphorus, potassium, calcium and iron. It also has more antioxidants than pomegranates or blueberries. Whole grain sorghum helps keep you fuller longer and provides beneficial dietary fibre for great digestive health. Sorghum is also gluten-free.

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.

Sorghum is the fifth-most produced grain in the world, behind wheat, corn, rice, and barley. The grain is easy to grow and is drought-resistant, grows well in dry climates, and requires less water than other grains like wheat.

Photo credit: Susie Blackmon

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