Buckwheat is a type of seed that belongs to a food group called pseudocereal, which are seeds consumed as cereal grains, but they don’t grow on grasses. Quinoa is another example of pseudocereals. Buckwheat kernels are pale tan-to-green (roasted buckwheat kernels are also known as kasha, a staple food in Eastern Europe). Buckwheat is not related to wheat; hence, it is gluten-free. It may be used in buckwheat teas or processed into flour, noodles, and groats (kernels). Groats are used in the same way as rice in several traditional European and Asian dishes. Buckwheat has a high mineral and antioxidant content, resulting in several health benefits. The nutritional value of buckwheat is considerably higher than that of many other grains. Carbs are the main dietary component of buckwheat. Protein, many essential minerals, and antioxidants are also present. Buckwheat is safe to be eaten by everyone except for a small percentage of people that may be allergic to it. Buckwheat allergy is more common in those already allergic to rice or latex.
Nutritional benefits of buckwheat:
- Buckwheat is low in sugars.
- Buckwheat has a low glycemic index.
- Buckwheat is rich in minerals.
- Buckwheat is rich in protein.
- Buckwheat is low in cholesterol.
- Buckwheat is rich in antioxidants.
Nutrition facts of buckwheat:
The nutritional value of 100 grams of raw buckwheat is:
- Calories: 343
- Water: 10%
- Protein: 13.3 grams
- Carbs: 71.5 grams
- Sugar: 0 grams
- Fiber: 10 grams
- Fat: 3.4 grams
- Minerals: Manganese, copper, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus. All these minerals play an essential role in the growth and maintenance of body tissues.
- Plant compounds that are antioxidants: Rutin, quercetin, vitexin, and D-chiro-inositol.
Health benefits of buckwheat
Buckwheat has several benefits:
- Improved blood sugar control: Buckwheat has a low to the medium glycemic index (causes a slower rise in blood sugar after meals), hence safe for patients with diabetes to eat, and is beneficial to those who want to improve their blood sugar balance. Maintaining good blood sugar balance helps in maintaining good health.
- Good for heart health: Magnesium, copper, fiber, certain proteins, and plant compounds, such as rutin, help in maintaining good heart health. Buckwheat has the highest amount of rutin, an antioxidant amongst cereals and pseudocereals. Antioxidants protect the body tissues from oxidative stress and slow the process of aging. Rutin protects the heart, reduces the risk of formation of blood clots in the blood vessels, reduces inflammation and blood pressure. Buckwheat has also been found to reduce cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease.
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Wronkowska M, Soral-Smietana M, Krupa-Kozak U. Buckwheat, as a Food Component of a High Nutritional Value, Used in the Prophylaxis of Gastrointestinal Diseases. European J Plant Sci and Biotech. January 2010. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/274254656_Buckwheat_as_a_Food_Component_of_a_High_Nutritional_Value_Used_in_the_Prophylaxis_of_Gastrointestinal_Diseases