Integrative Nutrition Blog

Superfood Spotlight: Why Buckwheat Deserves More Attention

May 23, 2016

Image via Shutterstock

Buckwheat might just be one of the most underrated grains of all time, although that could be partly due to the fact that it’s not actually a grain at all, it’s a fruit seed related to rhubarb and sorrel!

Naturally gluten-free - despite its name - buckwheat makes a great alternative to wheat when you’re also looking to expand your horizons beyond rice and quinoa. It is common in Russian, Polish, and Asian cuisine and cultivated across Europe and in the United States.

 Here are just some of the nutrients you’ll find in buckwheat:

  • It is rich in minerals like manganese, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus
  • It is also abundant in digestion-friendly fiber
  • It contains protein (all eight essential amino acids) making it great for vegans too
  • It has phytonutrients galore
  • It contains water-soluble, fat-soluble, and insoluble antioxidants
  • Contains a variety of vitamins, especially B vitamins 

These nutrients have an incredibly beneficial effect in the body. They are known to:

  • Lower cholesterol
  • Maintain healthy blood flow and heart function
  • Prevent platelets from clotting excessively
  • Balance blood sugar and lower the risk of diabetes
  • Support the function of the many enzymes
  • Reduce the effects of harmful free radicals
  • Have a rejuvenating effect
  • Lower the risk of cancer, especially breast and colon cancer
  • Reduce inflammation, an underlying cause of many diseases
  • Contribute to balanced gut flora and overall digestive health
  • Support energy, growth, and muscle synthesis, which is great for both kids and adults
  • May help mitigate depression, anxiety, and headaches

You can find buckwheat in raw or roasted “groats” in the bulk aisle of your health food store, as well as in flour form.

Here are just some of the ways you can enjoy buckwheat:

  • Make traditional kasha by rinsing and cooking groats with 2 parts water or stock to 1 part buckwheat, then eat with a little and your favorite veggies on the side.
  •  Sprout your grouts like you would other grains or legumes, then toss over salads, mix into sandwiches, or eat them by the handful!
  • Make buckwheat pancakes or crepes using buckwheat flour.
  • Make buckwheat porridge for breakfast by cooking the groats and then adding your favorite milk or milk substitute, along with cinnamon, vanilla, and other mix-ins you’d like!
  • Add to soups and stews for additional texture and robust, earthy flavor.
  • Try buckwheat noodles in place of regular noodles as a side dish or noodle bowl.

Want even more buckwheat recipe ideas? This should help.

Do you eat buckwheat? Share your favorite way of having it in the comments! 

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