Guinea Corn: Nutritional Facts and Health Benefits

Guinea corn (Sorghum bicolor) is a nutritious cereal grain that belongs to the Poaceae family. It might be less known in the food market, but it is the fifth most-produced grain in the world after barley, rice, wheat, and corn. (1)

It is believed to be originated in Africa and is cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical regions worldwide as a major food crop. Asia, Central America, and Australia are the primary producers of this grain. (2) 

Various names like millet, sorghum, jowar, milo, durra, kafir corn, and orshallu represent guinea corn worldwide. (2) 

Guinea corn has been a meal for more than 5000 years. (2) It is a healthy grain packed with natural nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and flavonoids. (3) It’s a gluten-free grain, beneficial for people with celiac disease. It is also high in energy and protein. (4) 

Guinea corn is a small round grain usually seen in white or pale yellow color. Red, brown, black, and purple grains are also found. (3) The grain is small, ranging from 2-4 millimeters in diameter. The flavor of this grain is naturally sweet. 

Guinea corn is a grain, so it is usually cooked for consumption. It can be cooked like quinoa and rice and popped like popcorn. Steamed or boiled guinea corn is a suitable ingredient for salads. As the flour of guinea corn can be used to make bakery items, the gluten-free property of this grain can be an excellent replacement for wheat flour. Despite being used as a food source, this grain is also used to make animal fodder, biofuels, and alcoholic beverages. (2) 

Nutritional Facts 

Guinea corn is a nutritious grain food that is high in several vitamins and minerals. This grain’s nutritional components and antioxidant properties help boost immunity and balance physical and mental health. (5)

Guinea corn is high in proximate components. It is packed with water, calories, protein, carbohydrates, and dietary fiber. The calories in this grain (329 kcal/100 g) are much higher than quinoa (120 kcal/100 g). It is also a good source of fat (3.46 g/100 g). Syrups are also made from this grain because it is rich in sugar content (2.53 g/100). (3) The analysis of this grain, along with daily adult requirements, are (6,7)

NutrientsAmounts (Per 100 grams)Daily Adult Requirements
Water12.4 g
Calories329 kcal2000-2,500 Kcal
Protein10.6 g50-70 g*
Carbohydrates72.1 g300-375 g
Dietary fiber6.7 g25-30 g
Sugar2.53 g

* National Academy of Medicine recommends that adults get a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day. 

Vitamins: Guinea corn serves as a good vitamin source. It contains B vitamins, folate, and glutamic acid. It also contains lysine (0.229 g/100 g), histidine (0.246 g/100 g), and pantothenic acid (0.367 mg/100 g). Niacin in guinea corn (3.69 g/100 g) is much higher than that of oats (0.993 mg/100 g). 

NutrientsAmounts (Per 100 grams)Daily Adult Requirements
Vitamin B60.443 mg1.3 mg to 1.7 mg
Thiamin0.332 mg1.1 mg – 1.2 mg
Riboflavin0.096 mg1.1 mg – 1.3 mg
Niacin3.69 mg14 mg – 16 mg
Folate20 mcg400 mcg
Glutamic acid2.44 g

* Adequate intake (AI) level determined by National Academy of Medicine. 

Minerals: Guinea corn is a mineral-dense grain that contains a good amount of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and iron. The potassium in guinea corn (363 mg/100 g) is higher than in oats (350 mg/100 g), both belonging to the Poaceae family. Other minerals like sodium (2 mg/100 g), zinc (1.67 mg/100 g), manganese (1.6 mg/100 g), and selenium (12.2 mcg/100 g) are also present in small quantities.

NutrientsAmounts (Per 100 grams)Daily Adult Requirements
Calcium, Ca13 mg1,000 – 1,200 mg
Magnesium, Mg165 mg310-420 mg
Phosphorus, P289 mg700 mg
Potassium, K363 mg2,600 – 3,400 mg*
Iron, Fe3.36 mg8 mg-18 mg

* Adequate intake (AI) level determined by National Academy of Medicine. 

g-gram, mg-milligram, mcg-microgram, IU-International units, kcal-kilocalorie

Health Benefits

Guinea corn serves as a good source of nutritional components. It contains protein, dietary fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus in good quantity. It also contains phytonutrients like tannins and phenols, which show anti-inflammatory properties. (1) Being a gluten-free grain, it benefits people with celiac disease and supports overall health. (2) The significant health benefits of the grain are: 

  1. Can be safe for celiac diseases: Guinea corn can be a suitable replacement for gluten-containing grain, especially wheat-based products. It is naturally gluten-free and is beneficial for people with gluten intolerance (a disease where bloating, inflammation, and abdominal pain is seen after consuming gluten). (3)
  1. Can prevent cancer: Guinea corn contains phenolic compounds like tannins, which are believed to show anti-cancer effects, mainly on breast cancer. (1) This grain also contains antioxidants that show positive effects against stomach cancer and esophageal cancer. (2)
  1. Can support digestive health: Millet is a good dietary fiber source, preventing gastrointestinal difficulties like constipation and inflammation in the gut. (5) Consumption of gluten-containing food can cause inflammation, indigestion, bloating, and nausea. This gluten-free grain can ease these symptoms and support digestive health. (2) 
  1. Can be good for heart health: Guinea corn contains many phytochemicals like phenols and tannins. These phytochemicals can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. (1) other compounds like antioxidants, niacin, iron, and magnesium can balance the rate of blood flow in the heart and the cholesterol level, which is suitable for a healthy heart. (5)
  1. Can boost immunity: Guinea corn is packed with antioxidants like phenols and tannins, which can reduce oxidative stress. Reducing oxidative stress can build immunity against diseases like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and diabetes. (5) Calcium and magnesium in this grain support bone health. Iron and copper regulate blood circulation and reduce the risk of anemia. (2)

Guinea corn is high in nutritional components that benefit our health in various ways. However, the ones with grasses and grass pollen allergies are suggested not to consume this grain. (1) Immature grain of this plant contains a toxic compound, hydrogen cyanide, which can cause respiratory problems. (2)

  1. Sorghum: Should you use it? pros and cons, nutrition information, and more [Internet]. WebMD. WebMD; [cited 2023Jan18]. Available from: 
  2. Jowar: Nutrition, health benefits, Ayurvedic uses, uses for skin, weight loss and recipes [Internet]. Netmeds. [cited 2023Jan18]. Available from: 
  3. Davidson K. What is sorghum? A unique grain reviewed [Internet]. Healthline. Healthline Media; 2022 [cited 2023Jan18]. Available from: 
  4. Adepoju, Oladejo. (2012). Nutrient Composition, Antinutritional Factors and Contribution of Enriched Dry Guinea Corn (Sorghum sp) Leaf Extract to Nutrient Intake of Nigeria consumers. 
  5. Millet: Types, benefits, uses, and more [Internet]. Medical News Today. MediLexicon International; [cited 2023Jan18]. Available from: 
  6. Fooddata Central Search Results [Internet]. FoodData Central. [cited 2023Jan18]. Available from: 
  7. Institute of Medicine 2006. Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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