Commonly thought of as a grain, buckwheat is actually a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb and sorrel. They are similar in size to wheat kernels but feature an unique triangular shape. Buckwheat is a great alternative to rice or other grains such as wheat for those who are gluten-intolerant.

Disease/Ailments:

Elevated cholesterol
High blood pressure
Cardiovascular disorders
Digestion
Type 2 Diabetes
Gallstone prevention

Health benefits:

Cardiovascular: Buckwheat’s lipid-lowering properties are largely due to rutin and other flavonoid compounds. These compounds help maintain blood flow, keep platelets from clotting excessively, and protect against free radical oxidation. All of these actions aid to lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure, thus protecting against heart disease.

Diabetes: Buckwheat along with other whole grains are a rich source of magnesium, a mineral that acts as a co-factor for enzymes involved in the body’s use of glucose and insulin secretion.

Gallstone prevention: Foods high in insoluble fiber has been shown to help avoid gallstones in women. This may be due to insoluble fiber’s ability to decrease intestinal transit time, which reduces the secretion of the bile salts. An excess of bile salt secretion contributes to the formation of gallstones.

Good source of:

Manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, tryptophan, magnesium

Purchasing, storing, and enjoying:

Purchasing: Buckwheat can be purchased pre-packaged or in the bulk section of your grocery store. Make sure if purchasing in the bulk section, the bin is covered and the store has a good product turnover. There should be no sign of moisture in the package or container.

Storing: Place buckwheat in a airtight container and store in a cool dry place where it can last for up to a year. Buckwheat flour should be stored in the refrigerator where it will last for several months.

Enjoying:

  • Buckwheat are cooked similarly to lentils and other legumes. Rinse grains thoroughly under running water to remove any debris. Add one part buckwheat to two parts boiling water or broth. After the liquid has returned to a boil, turn down the heat, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Buckwheat grains can also be eaten raw by soaking them in water for two hours and using them in salads with lemon and aromatic herbs.

Resources & recipes:

Buckwheat Tabbuoleh: http://ohsheglows.com/2011/04/01/buckwheat-tabbouleh/
Creamy Buckwheat porridge: http://www.fitsugar.com/Vegan-Buckwheat-Porridge-Recipe-19192476
Buckwheat Pancakes: http://www.gluten-free-vegan-girl.com/2013/02/whole-grain-gluten-free-pancakes-with-blueberry-sauce.html

 

References:

Anderson JW. Whole grains and coronary heart disease: the whole kernel of truth. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Dec;80(6):1459-60. 2004. PMID:15585755.

Cade JE, Burley VJ, Greenwood DC. Dietary fibre and risk of breast cancer in the UK Women's Cohort Study. Int J Epidemiol. 2007 Jan 24; [Epub ahead of print] . 2007. PMID:17251246.

Ensminger AH, Esminger M. K. J. e. al. Food for Health: A Nutrition Encyclopedia. Clovis, California: Pegus Press; 1986. 1986. PMID:15210.

Gabrovska D, Fiedlerova V, Holasova M et al. The nutritional evaluation of underutilized cereals and buckwheat. Food Nutr Bull 2002 Sep;23(3 Suppl):246-9. 2002.

He J, Klag MJ, Whelton PK, et al. Oats and buckwheat intakes and cardiovascular disease risk factors in an ethnic minority of China. Am J Clin Nutr 1995 Feb;61(2):366-72. 1995.

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About the Author

Ashley Kim

“Our bodies are our gardens—our wills are our gardeners.” – William Shakespeare

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