November 19, 2019 · Written by Foodtolive Team
All about Buckwheat: Nutritional Facts and Health Benefits
Buckwheat is a common ingredient in many European and Asian recipes. It is a gluten-free alternative to cereal grains and can be ground into oats, flour, noodles, or drank as a tea.
It primarily is harvested in Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Central, and Eastern Europe.
This food is considered a “pseudocereal,” which is a type of grain that doesn’t grow on grasses but is eaten like regular cereal grains. Quinoa and amaranth are other common pseudocereals.
When you’re shopping in the store, you’ll come across two types of buckwheat: common and Tartary. Both are excellent sources of antioxidants and minerals and have many health benefits.
Here are the nutrition facts and health benefits of buckwheat.
Here is the breakdown for 3.5 ounces, or 100 grams of raw buckwheat:
- Calories: 343
- Carbs: 71.5 grams
- Protein: 13.3 grams
- Fiber: 10 grams
- Fat: 3.4 grams
Although comprised mostly of carbs and starches, buckwheat doesn’t cause spikes and drops in blood sugar and has a low glycemic index number. This is due in part to soluble carbs that moderate blood sugar after eating.
Additionally, buckwheat is high in fiber, which is proven to benefit many bodily functions. It helps fuel healthy gut bacteria, which affect numerous functions outside of the colon and digestive system.
Buckwheat may not have a high vitamin content, but it is a rich source for minerals compared to other cereal grains, particularly Tartary buckwheat.
The main minerals found in buckwheat include:
- Manganese, which is necessary for a healthy metabolism, growth, and antioxidant defense.
- Copper, which is a nutrient that many Westerners lack in their diet. Small amounts of this mineral promote heart health.
- Magnesium, which is associated with a decreased risk of some chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
- Iron, which is a critical nutrient that transports oxygen from the blood to the muscles and promotes many bodily functions.
- Phosphorus, an important compound for cellular development and tissue repair.
Buckwheat is low in phytic acid, so the body absorbs the minerals in buckwheat better than in other types of grains.
Buckwheat’s nutritional value is just one reason why more people are making this grain a regular part of their diet. It can help improve your blood sugar, heart health, and support your immune and digestive systems.
1. Balanced Blood Sugar
Controlling blood sugar is essential not just for diabetes prevention, but for overall health.
Maintaining consistent blood sugar throughout the day helps to sustain energy levels and stop feelings of hunger, especially during the mid-afternoon slump.
The fiber in buckwheat stops sudden rises in blood sugar levels after meals, which makes it a particularly safe choice for people with diabetes.
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2. Improved Heart Health
Buckwheat contains many heart-healthy minerals, which, along with a healthy diet and lifestyle, can help protect the body’s cardiovascular system.
It also has large quantities of rutin, an antioxidant that can diminish the chance of heart disease by stopping blood clots, lowering inflammation, and decreasing blood pressure.
Lastly, buckwheat can benefit the body’s blood lipid profile, which is a risk factor for heart disease.
3. Supports the Immune System
The flavonoids, tocopherols, selenium, and phenolic acid in buckwheat are useful compounds for fighting free radicals in the immune system.
These antioxidant compounds work by binding with neutral receptors in the body before harmful free radicals can. This keeps the free radicals from causing damage that can weaken the immune system.
4. Healthy Digestive System
The high fiber content of buckwheat is great for promoting healthy digestion by fueling gut bacteria.
Besides helping with regularity, constipation, and IBS, buckwheat has been shown to prevent gallstones.
Gallstones occur when digestion is slow, and a buildup of acid bile secretion occurs. The bile is responsible for breaking down the food, so it continues moving through the digestive system.
Eating more fiber means the body needs less acid bile secretion for digesting food, which means less of a risk for developing gallstones.
5. Helps Build Stronger Bones
Bone health deteriorates with age. However, buckwheat may be able to slow down this process thanks to the zinc and selenium it contains.
Besides protecting bone health, selenium is also beneficial for healthy teeth and nails.
Easy Ways to Add Buckwheat to Your Diet
Add extra nutrition to homemade bread, pancakes, and other baked goods by making them with buckwheat flour.
Soak and drain raw buckwheat groats and enjoy them as is, or boil them to make a filling salad. Buckwheat works as a great substitute for rice in a stir-fry or similar dishes.
For breakfast, buckwheat porridge is a healthy alternative to traditional grain cereals. Add berries for added natural sweetness.
The Food to Live Store has a range of buckwheat products for any recipe or meal additive you can think of. Order today and see how fast buckwheat can become your new favorite staple!