December 18, 2020 4 min read
Buckwheat is one of those foods that have been around for ages but have suddenly become popular due to a rediscovery of their health benefits. Technically, buckwheat isn't related to wheat and is not even a real grain! It's a fruit seed related to sorrel and rhubarb but is considered a grain because it is used in a similar manner to other grains. It has a great number of health benefits, which has led people to consider it as a superfood. Here are some of them.
Buckwheat is an important source of plant protein. Although it's not a complete protein, it has 12 amino acids that support muscle synthesis and growth, among other functions. It has higher levels of proteins than most whole grains and can be paired up with another plant protein to complete the amino acid profile.
Antioxidants like flavonoids in buckwheat protect the cells from damage by free radicals, which cause harmful inflammation that can lead to some forms of cancer. Enterolactones produced by the action of gut bacteria on buckwheat also help prevent some types of hormone-related cancers such as breast cancer.
Gut bacteria also ferment fiber in buckwheat to produce some types of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) like butyrate, which nourish the cells in the colon and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Whole grains are an excellent source of dietary fiber but many people can't eat them because of allergies or gluten-intolerance. Buckwheat doesn't have this problem because it's gluten-free, so it's a great alternative to other gluten-containing cereals. However, sometimes buckwheat gets contaminated with gluten from other products, so you have to make sure your supply comes from a non-contaminated source.
Buckwheat is rich in dietary fiber, which helps food move smoothly through the gut. This relieves symptoms of indigestion and keeps you full for a longer period of time. This is useful for weight management as the more full you feel the less you will eat.
Because fiber doesn't get digested, it ends up intact in the colon, where beneficial gut bacteria break it down as a source of food. This makes buckwheat a good prebiotic.
Because buckwheat is high in fiber, it takes time to get absorbed into the blood. This means that your blood sugar levels will rise slowly, as opposed to a sudden spike, which happens when you eat food with high refined sugar content.
Because it prevents a sudden rise in blood sugar levels, buckwheat helps to manage diabetes and improves insulin resistance.
Buckwheat has many phytonutrients, one of which is rutin. Rutin helps to keep blood pressure stable, which is good for heart health. It also reduces Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL), or bad, cholesterol, which builds up in the arteries leading to a high risk of stroke and heart disease.
Another type of phytonutrient called plant lignans is converted by friendly gut bacteria from enterolactone which also protects against heart disease.
The gall bladder is a small organ in the abdomen that stores a digestive fluid called bile. Sometimes hard deposits of various sizes form in the gall bladder, perhaps due to too much cholesterol or bilirubin in the bile, or poor emptying of bile from the gall bladder. These are gall stones.
Buckwheat is rich in dietary fiber, which not only helps food move along nicely in the intestine but also reduces the excessive release of bile acids. This in turn reduces the probability of gallstones forming.
Buckwheat contains more minerals compared to other whole grains like rice, corn, and wheat. What's more, the minerals present in cooked buckwheat groats are better absorbed because buckwheat is low in phytic acid. This is a compound commonly found in many grains that are known to inhibit the absorption of minerals. Here are the most common minerals found in buckwheat:
Buckwheat has a number of compounds that give it numerous health benefits. In fact, it has more of these compounds than other whole grains. Here are some of them.
Buckwheat seeds are called groats, and they can be included in the diet in a number of ways:
Whether you like it raw, cooked, or baked, buckwheat is highly nutritious and comes packed with abundant health benefits. It's a worthwhile addition to the diet.