Despite its name, buckwheat does not actually contain any wheat or gluten for that matter. Nonetheless, it is a nutrient-dense seed that has been an integral part of Asian diets for centuries. Also, it is becoming increasingly popular in the United States as well as Canada and Europe.
Because of its elusive name, many people think of it as a whole grain. However, it is actually a seed with concentrated amounts of both fiber and protein. This makes it a smart choice for plant-based as well as gluten-free eaters. The seed has a well-balanced nutritional profile and offers a wide array of overall health benefits.
Buckwheat Health Benefits
It’s no wonder this pseudo-grain is making a name for itself on the health food scene. Not only is it packed with nutrients, but it also delivers a number of unparalleled health benefits. This ancient seed has been found to do the following.
Support Heart Health
The seed contains an important phytonutrient, rutin, that is an antioxidant and supports overall cardiovascular health. It effectively supports improved circulation, helps lower blood pressure, and reduces cholesterol.
The seed also contains protective phenolic compounds and other antioxidants that fight cancer and other diseases of the heart, liver, brain, and digestive system. These antioxidants also help reduce oxidative stress and promote cellular function.
Promote Muscle Development
It also serves as a great source of plant-based proteins that actually contains twelve amino acids. These amino acids are responsible for supporting energy, growth, and muscle development. This tiny seed contains more protein than any other form of wheat, rice, millet, or corn at roughly 11-14 grams per every 100 grams.
This unique food contains roughly six grams of fiber per one cup serving. Fiber is important for the body as it supports satiety. It also improves the transition of food through the digestive tract, which a is major component when it comes to regular bowel movements. Additionally, it provides protection against cancer, infection, and other negative symptoms of the digestive tract.
Compared to other carbohydrates and whole grains, it is very low on the glycemic index. The carbohydrates that are found in the seed are complex and absorbed slowly into the bloodstream. This provides a feeling of fullness sooner than normal and supports more sustained energy.
As it isn’t even a grain, it contains zero gluten. Therefore, it is safe for individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. It can effectively replace other gluten-containing grains, such as wheat, wheat berries, barley, rye, or oats.
Buckwheat Nutritional Value
While carbohydrates are the main dietary component of this seed, it also contains a healthy combination of protein and several minerals and antioxidants. In fact, the nutritional value of this ancient food is actually considerably higher than several other grains.
Although a seed, it consists mainly of carbs. Roughly 20 percent of its volume consists of carbohydrates in the form of starch. Even so, this food ranks low to medium on the glycemic index, so it is not likely to cause unhealthy spikes in blood sugar levels like other carbohydrates.
It also contains a healthy amount of fiber or food components that the body cannot digest. Fiber is good for the colon as it promotes healthy digestion and the movement of waste through the body. The fiber in the seed is concentrated in the husk. This is the part that coats the seed and gives it its unique flavor.
This ancient food source also contains a sizeable amount of protein. Because of its well-balanced amino acid profile, the nutritional value of the protein in this pseudo-grain is extremely high. It is most rich in lysine and arginine.
Vitamins and Minerals
Additionally, it is a richer source of vitamins and minerals than other cereals, including corn, rice, and wheat. Some of the most common nutrients found in this food include:
In addition to the other benefits of its nutritional profile, it also contains several antioxidant compounds. In fact, it contains more antioxidants than several other cereal grains. Some of the common plant compounds found in buckwheat are:
• D-chiro inositol
If you’re not already eating buckwheat, you should be. Not only is it one of the healthiest foods available, but it also tastes good, is easy to prepare, and is relatively inexpensive. While it is not a grain, it is typically used as one and is very easy to work with. This pseudo-cereal grain comes in several forms, including groats (raw or toasted), noodles, and flour. One of the simplest uses of this ancient seed is making a grain-free, hot cereal with raw groats. However, some people bake with it or use it in various other ways. Here are a few easy recipes you may want to try.
• 1 cup raw groats
• 3 cups water
• Stevia, liquid
• Cardamom, powdered
Place groats and water in a 1-quart saucepan. Heat mixture on low for 45 minutes or until it has a porridge-like consistency. Add stevia and cardamom to taste.
• 1 cup sprouted buckwheat
• 1/3 cup dried currants or raisins
• 1 tablespoon sea salt crystals
Combine all ingredients and store in a cool, dry place. For people who are always on the go, the mix can be packed in snack-sized Ziploc bags.
• 1 cup toasted groats or kasha
• 2 cups vegetable broth
Place ingredients in a 1-quart saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Let sit covered for 10 minutes. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
If you haven’t already, begin incorporating buckwheat into your diet on a regular basis. Aim for roughly twice a week. Note how you feel and the impact you notice on your overall health, digestion, and weight. You’ll also likely notice differences in your overall amount of pain, mobility, blood sugar levels, and skin appearance. Share your experience with this unique superfood from how you use it to your favorite benefits of it.