Buckwheat is cultivated for its grain-like seeds. It makes for a very useful cover crop as well which helps in arresting soil erosion and restoring the rich nutrients of the soil.
Though the name of this grain uses the term “Wheat”, it is related to the family of sorrel or rhubarb and is a fruit seed. Buckwheat is the seed part of the plant it grows on and is therefore called pseudo-cereal also.
Buckwheat has a very short season and needs less fertile soil and cooler climates. The flowers of buckwheat are exceptionally fragrant and the honey made out of them is known for its beautiful and strong flavor.
These seeds are triangular in shape and resemble the beech nut that has lent the name to this grain. This seed comes covered with a hard shell and are consumed in the form of flour.
It is a healthy food, and many innovative ways have been found to include it in our regular diet. It is more flavourful than wheat and does not contain gluten.
Scientific name: Fagopyrum esculentum
Nutritional Value of Buckwheat
Buckwheat has an impressive placard of essential nutrition for our body. Apart from high fiber content, it is also an excellent source of carbohydrates.
Buckwheat gives higher calories and carbohydrates than the widely consumed wheat. It can easily serve as an excellent alternative to the traditional wheat.
In every 100 grams of buckwheat, you would find the following:
|Calories||343 Kcal (Kilo Calories)|
|Carbohydrates||72 g / 24%|
|Fat||3.4 g / 5%|
|Dietary fiber||10 g / 40%|
|Proteins||13 g/ 26%|
|Potassium||460 mg/ 13%|
Buckwheat is an ideal companion with meat rich diet as the fiber content complements the low fiber diet of meat. Apart from the carbohydrates, it is a mineral rich grain that has a substantial content of Potassium and Magnesium.
Buckwheat also adds to your daily requirement of dietary Iron. The
Vitamin and calcium content of buckwheat are low which it makes up for as a rich source of carbohydrates and is a high energy grain.
It is also a protein-rich grain that contains all the nine essential amino acids.
Health Benefits of Buckwheat
For people who are allergic to gluten, buckwheat can prove to be a super worthy substitute for traditional flour. Gluten can induce stomach upset and diarrhea in people who are allergic to it.
Due to its valuable nutritional value buckwheat has numerous health benefits that maintain our health and combat some lifestyle-related ailments.
Here we will introduce you to these proven health benefits of buckwheat that you never thought existed!
Buckwheat is 40% fiber. Therefore, it goes without saying that it helps in maintaining a healthy digestive system.
Our body has a daily requirement of roughage in the form of dietary fiber, and this grain can fulfill most of it in one time meal.
For Men under 50 years, the daily consumption of fiber must clock at 38 grams that decrease to 30 as they age over 50.
On the other hand, women need about 25 grams of fiber if under the age of 50 and 21 if they are over 50.
The fiber or roughage makes your stools soft and heavier preventing constipation.
Good bowel movement cleans the intestines keeping the digestive system in a healthy shape. A fit digestive system means healthy metabolism that keeps your weight in check.
For small children also, this fibrous grain can provide relief from constipation. One has to bear in mind that a lot of water must accompany the intake of fiber.
Wrap Up: Buckwheat has high fiber content in it. Dietary fiber regulates healthy bowel movement which keeps your entire digestive system healthy and prevents constipation.
2. Fights Water Retention
Fluid retention is a condition where your body retains water in cells causing your body to bloat up. This bloating appears as swelling of feet, face, hands and legs.
Women about to have their menstrual periods or to go through pregnancy are prone to this condition much more than the others.
The usual causes of fluid retention include hormonal imbalances, liver related disorders, low water intake and kidney problems.
The lymphatic failure is one of the major and primary causes of severe water retention.
Buckwheat is known to have flavonoids, especially Rutin. Rutin strengthens the lymphatic vessels and supports their functionality.
Therefore, any water retention caused by lymphatic failure can be effectively tackled by a dose of buckwheat. The digestion related water retention can also be alleviated by the fiber content of this healthy grain.
Wrap Up: Buckwheat has an anti-oxidant flavonoid called Rutin which betters the lymphatic function reducing and regulating the fluid retention in our body. It also helps in reducing the fluid retention resulting from sluggish digestive system by maintaining healthy bowel movements.
3. Gift For The Heart
Have you ever wondered what exactly keeps our heart beating? If you just started wondering then let us tell you, it is “potassium.” This mineral keeps the muscles throughout your body moving in the right manner and aids them in their role.
The main movement of your muscles and nerves is all enabled by Potassium. Buckwheat is a rich source of this Potassium.
People suffering from arrhythmia and other issues related to irregular heartbeat are prescribed potassium supplements and diet rich in this mineral.
Buckwheat can make up for deficiency of potassium in our body very effectively. The everyday quantity required of potassium is about 4.7 mg per day.
Apart from keeping your heart beating regularly, the dietary fiber in Buckwheat controls the cholesterol levels in the body as well.
Cholesterol has a tendency to build plaque in the arteries and eventually block them severely. The soluble fiber in this miracle grain can bring down the Low-density lipoproteins that are also known as “bad cholesterol” in the body which can damage the heart and arteries if not managed in time.
The magnesium in buckwheat relaxes the blood vessels and improves the blood circulation. The condition of narrowing of arteries and veins can be treated effectively with magnesium.
These three contents make Buckwheat is a complete “heart food” which not only keeps your heart beating but also keeps your arteries and overall blood circulation healthy.
Wrap Up: Buckwheat facilitates the function and movement of muscles including heart muscles as it has almost 13% of Potassium in its composition. It can help in allaying irregular heartbeat resulting from the deficiency of this mineral. The fiber and magnesium portion of Buckwheat controls the level of Bad cholesterol in the body and ensures well-functioning arterial network to ensure cardio- vascular fitness.
4. Diabetes Management
Diabetes is essentially a lifestyle disease which is becoming increasingly common amongst people over 40 years of age. In some cases, even children are falling prey to what is called “juvenile diabetes.”
Though regular medication in the form of insulin shots is given in some cases of uncontrollable diabetes mostly it is managed by changes in lifestyle and eating habits.
New studies have shown that buckwheat may help in lowering the blood sugar levels post the meal significantly if included in the diet. Presently the experiments are being carried out on rats, and the results are showing a lot of promise.
About 12%-19% fall in sugar levels after the meal have been reported consistently after consuming buckwheat.
Buckwheat’s effect on lowering sugar levels is being attributed to a compound called chiro-inositol. This substance increases insulin sensitivity and leads to better ingestion and disposal of glucose in the body.
Apart from sugar levels, chiro-inositol is also known to check hormonal imbalances and regulating ideal blood pressure in the body.
Wrap Up: The chiro-inositol in buckwheat can help you in lowering the post-meal blood sugar levels significantly. Though there are still studies being carried out in this area but the results seem to be highly skewed towards buckwheat.
5. Best Partner For Weight Loss
Obesity, weight issues and related ailments are increasingly becoming a challenge in today’s world. Our eating habits coupled with hectic and unhealthy lifestyle has made them all the more tough to overcome.
Junk food, alcohol and lack of physical activity is fuelling these problems and have taken a turn for the worse as they are inflicting both young and the old alike.
Buckwheat is high on fiber and energy quotient whereas the fat content in it is quite reasonable and healthy.
Therefore, this grain is bound to make you feel full even with consumption of smaller portions but without compromising on the energy that you need.
Most of the dietary regulations get you feel hungry and keep you dissatisfied.
Even the body is not able to adjust to such dietary regimen for long and usually tends to damage the metabolism of your body eventually.
It is the reason weight loss is something that has to happen without going hungry.
Many people who tend to go on crash dieting frequently wonder as to why they are still putting on weight and fats layer?
The mechanism of the body also works in a way that it begins to store fats if it is made to go hungry for prolonged periods; this worsens the condition.
The protein and magnesium content of this grain is also higher than most of the other regular grains that we consume. If you want to opt for a diet that contains no meat than buckwheat is the best “go to” option because of the high protein in it.
Even with all the constraints and restraints of the weight loss regime, eating buckwheat will ensure that your electrolyte levels, blood pressure, and sugar levels remain in balance, and you do not go hungry at all.
Wrap Up: Buckwheat is a complete diet food which contains low fat, high fiber, high proteins and magnesium. It keeps your stomach full and helps you in controlling the eating urges. It provides you with high energy while you diet without compromising on health.
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6. The Magnesium Factor
About 300 biochemical functions of the body need magnesium. As mentioned earlier, it is required for the precise movements of muscles.
Its role in maintaining a good bone health and healthy immune system is well known.
It helps in synthesizing protein in the body so no matter how much protein intake you have, it is of no use if there is no magnesium to break it down and absorb in the body.
Because of its varied role in our bodily functions, magnesium is responsible for maintaining almost all of our organs healthy.
Magnesium is an abundant element which is present in our bones. About 50%-60% of magnesium in our body is in the bones and rest is contained in the blood serum and soft tissues.
In an adult, the daily dietary allowance of magnesium is about 400 mg in males and 310 mg in females.
Buckwheat is one of the highest magnesium containing grains. About 57% of its total nutrients comprise of this element.
Wrap Up: High magnesium content in buckwheat translates into good bone health, healthy blood pressure and optimum muscle function. The high energy and protein intake in buckwheat is also synthesized by the magnesium present in it making it a well-rounded nutritious grain. It is a key ingredient that regulates the heart beat by aiding heart muscles.
7. 9 amino acids for a complete protein
Amino acids are organic compounds made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. They are present in our body in the form of proteins and are the second largest component of our muscles and tissues.
Amino acids are also famously referred to as building blocks of our body. They are a carrier of neurotransmissions in our body, peptide bonding, catabolism, and biosynthesis.
There are nine amino acids in our body; they are Tryptophan, Threonine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Valine and Histidine.
Any food item that contains all these amino acids in right, quantities is called a complete protein.
Very few food ingredients have all the nine amino acids and buckwheat is one of them. It has all these nine amino acids and is an especially rich source of Lysine which is not an abundant amino acid in most of the other grains.
Wrap Up: Buckwheat contains all the nine amino acids required by our bodies. In this sense it is called the complete protein. Since most of our protein needs are met by meat which is also high on fats, buckwheat makes for a great alternative source of proteins for non-vegetarians and substitute for vegeterians.
How to include it in your diet
Buckwheat can make for a very healthy start of your day. A bowl full of buckwheat porridge is a hearty meal which provides you with a lot of energy to keep you going.
Buckwheat flour is another variant that can be used to make the conventional bread, waffles or pasta, definitely a much healthier option on refined flour. The puffed buckwheat can be used as sprinkling or crispies in a chocolate bar.
Soba noodles are made out of buckwheat, and you can create appetizing and healthy salads with it by using fruits and raw vegetables.
Buckwheat is quite versatile and can be added to almost every kind of food. Apart from being used in noodle form, the boiled and strained buckwheat can also be used in making healthy salads.
Buckwheat can also make your junk food healthier by adding it as one of the ingredients in your burger; just mash it up with potato or meat whatever you are making your burger.
How to Store it?
Buckwheat is usually available in grocery stores and supermarkets. They come packed in raw, parboiled and flour form. It is best stored in a cool place with its shell on in raw form. If you have ground it into flour, then it is better to refrigerate it and store in an airtight container. The soaked and cooked buckwheat must be eaten within a day, or it goes stale.
Roasted buckwheat releases fats and can become rancid rapidly; this is why the raw form of it is best suited for storage. The shelled raw buckwheat if stored properly, can last almost up to a year. Even the food items made from buckwheat need to be refrigerated if you plan to use them for extended periods.
What more to it?
Buckwheat is more costly than the other grains like wheat. It is widely used in the diets in Himalayan and East Asian regions particularly Japan and Tibet.
In India, it is commonly eaten during fasting because of the health benefits and anti-oxidant properties that it possesses. In some parts of the world viz.
Himalayan region and Chinese plateau, buckwheat was the first staple that was eventually replaced by rice and wheat. A very healthy anti-allergic grain, a bowl of buckwheat consumed every day can be proved a healthy for you!
Know about all healthiest nuts around the world at Top 20 Healthiest Nuts Health Benefits And Facts to get maximum benefits.