Tired of the daily cereal options, we have a befitting alternative that is not only scrumptious but also rich in nutrients. Buckwheat is a gluten-free, fiber-rich cereal that does not grow on grasses and hence known as pseudo cereal. Here is an insight into buckwheat and everything that this nutrient-rich cereal:
What is Buckwheat and where does it come from?
Buckwheat is a grain similar to quinoa. It has properties same as that of cereals but does not belong to the grass family. Just like other cereals, buckwheat also provides protein, fiber, and energy. It is extremely beneficial for people having any celiac disease because it is gluten-free and also people having gluten intolerance should include buckwheat or buckwheat flour in their diets. Other than this advantage, buckwheat has other numerous advantages like it keeps heart-healthy, weight loss management, and diabetes management.
This small-sized grain belongs to a food group called pseudocereals. According to its name Buckwheat is not related to wheat. This grain is used as the main ingredient in several European and Asian traditional dishes. They are almost cooked in the same way as rice.
Types of Buckwheat
There are 2 types of Buckwheat:
- Fagopyrum Esculentum (common Buckwheat)
- Fagopyrum Tartaricum (Tartary Buckwheat)
Both of these types are commonly harvested in Northern Hemisphere, like Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Central, and Eastern Europe.
History of Buckwheat
Common buckwheat history dates back to around 6000 BC and was commonly found in Yunnan, a province of China. It was first cultivated in Southeast Asia and gradually spread out to Central Asia and Tibet. After Asia and Tibet, the cultivation of this grain reached the Middle East and Europe.
In China, the oldest remain of buckwheat grain was found in 2600 BC, whereas buckwheat pollen was found in Japan that dates back to 4000 BC.
In 2006, a wide variety was developed by Canada that was planted on large scale in China.
Nutritional facts of Buckwheat
The following nutritional facts are for 100 gm of buckwheat:
- Energy 343 kcal
- Carbohydrates 71.5 gm
- Fats 3.4 gm
- Protein 13.25 gm
- Vitamin B1 0.101 mg
- Vitamin B 3 7.02 mg
- Vitamin B6 0.21 mg
- Vitamin B9 30 µg
- Calcium 18 mg
- Iron 2.2 mg
- Magnesium 231 mg
- Phosphorus 347 mg
- Sodium 1 gm
- Zinc 2.4 mg
- Copper 1.1 mg
- Selenium 8.3 µg
Benefits of Buckwheat
- Improved Digestion: Because of its high content of plant-based dietary fiber, buckwheat is an excellent agent to boost up the digestion. Fiber incredibly supports the digestion of food efficiently and makes the food pass through the digestive tract easily. The fiber content of the buckwheat gives the feeling of fullness and this aids in weight loss and prevents our bodies from any cardiovascular diseases. Researches have shown that nutrients in buckwheat are beneficial for colon health. The gut bacteria in the colon ferment the starch obtained from buckwheat and turn them into short-chain fatty acids called butyrate. This short-chain fatty acid greatly increases gut health and eliminates the colon cancer risk. 1 cup of this grain contains 14-16 mg of niacin which is mandatory for transforming carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into energy which can be used by the body’s cell.
- Controlling Diabetes: Buckwheat is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates that balances the blood glucose level of the body. Complex carbohydrates take a longer time to get digested and thus keeps the sugar level in the blood stable for more time. Buckwheat has a lower level of GI and this makes it safe to eat for people suffering from Type 2 diabetes. In addition, buckwheat delays the digestion of the regular table sugar which makes it safer to be consumed by patients having diabetes.
- Gluten-Free: Buckwheat flour is used in the same way as that of wheat and barely but because of its naturally gluten-free quality, this flour can be used by people having celiac diseases or grain insensitivities. Anyone suffering from any digestive disturbances i-e leaky gut syndrome should include this profounding grain or its flour in their diet because of its gluten-free property that makes it the ultimate healthy choice for people having gluten allergies.
- The best source of Vegetarian Protein: Buckwheat is not only a rich source of vitamins and minerals but also an ultimate supplier of plant protein. Every 100 gm of buckwheat serving contains almost 14 gm of protein that supports muscle synthesis and growth. The same amount of buckwheat contains 12 different amino acids which greatly helps in certain body functions and cell development. Though the protein count is much lower than other beans and legumes but has higher protein content than most whole grains. To attain the maximum health benefits from buckwheat, it can be cooked as a whole-grain until the grain becomes tender. Besides cooked grains, buckwheat flour can also be used as an alternative to other flours in making pancakes or any baked goods.
- Healthy Heart: Buckwheat is a rich source of Rutin as compared to other cereals and pseudocereals and this Rutin aids in lowering the risk of heart diseases. This compound also prevents the clotting of blood within the veins that ultimately decrease the inflammation and blood pressure level. Many small pieces of research have shown that buckwheat improves the blood lipid content that elevates the heart disease risk. A study conducted on 859 adults, showed that people who eat buckwheat have low blood pressure level and refined lipid profile. A good lipid profile keeps bad cholesterol (LDL) at the lower level and good cholesterol (HDL) at a high level. There is a type of protein found in buckwheat that holds together the cholesterol within the digestive system that does not allow the cholesterol to be absorbed in the bloodstream.
Side effects of Buckwheat
As buckwheat flour or other products made with buckwheat does not cause any side effects but some people might experience certain allergy symptoms like:
- Skin rashes
- Swelling in mouth
- Digestive distress
- In worst cases severe allergic shock
All the above-mentioned allergies are uncommon.
After reading this article about buckwheat, we came to know that buckwheat is a healthy and soulful food product. A range of products can be made with this buckwheat because of its excellent nutritional profile. It has high protein content which greatly provides health benefits like digestion and keeps the heart-healthy. As it is gluten-free, it is advantageous for people with celiac diseases. But if anyone faces any allergic reactions, its use should be stopped at once.