Health Benefits of BuckwheatDespite its name buckwheat is not wheat but a nutrient-packed, gluten-free seed that is high in both protein and fiber. Its health benefits include cholesterol-lowering effects, anti-hypertensition effects and improving digestion by reliving constipation.
Buckwheat is usually found as raw “buckwheat groats” or in flour form. Both are highly nutritious staples to keep in your kitchen since there can be used in numerous ways. It's easy to add cooked groats to stews, soups or cold salads. Have a bowl of buckwheat for breakfast instead of oatmeal and use buckwheat flour in muffins and breads. Buckwheat pancakes is one of my favorites!
Buckwheat is Heart Healthy
Buckwheat groats contain high levels of rutin, which is a type of antioxidant. Antioxidants can help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals, which can cause oxidative stress, affecting lipid levels as well as triggering a variety of diseases. One study that evaluated the heart healthy benefits of buckwheat groats, revealed that individuals who consumed 100 grams of buckwheat per day had lower levels of bad LDL-cholesterol levels, and had higher levels of the good HDL-cholesterol levels when compared to individuals who did not regularly consume buckwheat. The fiber and magnesium content in buckwheat groats makes it a good choice for reducing the formation of plaque in the heart, and improving the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body.
Buckwheat helps in digesting food better because it is rich in fiber which adds bulk to bowel movements. It also helps bowels to move slowly and steadily through the digestive tract, and stimulate peristaltic motion. Fiber also helps to regulate bowel movements and reduce the occurrence of serious gastrointestinal issues, and colon and gastric cancer. It also helps lower the chances of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and diarrhea. Buckwheat’s neutral thermal properties help cleanse the intestines and strengthen them. This improves one’s appetite, and gets rid of dysentery and chronic diarrhea.
Balance blood sugar with buckwheatThe dietary fiber and resistant starches contained in buckwheat groats make them a good choice for diabetics. Since it takes the body a longer time to break down the complex carbohydrate, blood sugar levels rise evenly, preventing drastic spikes in blood sugar. Another compound in buckwheat groats is D-chiro-inositol, which helps to lower elevated glucose levels.
Relief from arthritis with groatsThe rutin in buckwheat groats contains anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the severity of arthritis and other inflammatory disease. One study revealed that a dose of 500 mg/day of flavonoids, such as those found in buckwheat groats, provided relief from arthritis that was more effective than the traditional drugs used to treat the condition.
Buckwheat beauty benefitsBuckwheat groats can help promote strong hair as well as healthy looking skin. Buckwheat contains high levels of B complex vitamins, which, when combined with the rutin contained in buckwheat groats, can help to prevent or reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles. It also has high amounts of selenium in it which is good for strengthening nails and teeth.
AnemiaBuckwheat is rich in iron, which is instrumental in forming red blood cells. A deficiency of iron leads to anemia, characterized by headaches, fatigue, mental slowness and other serious side-effects.
Blood pressureRutin in buckwheat helps cure high blood pressure. Rutin acts as a vasodilator which increases blood flow and reduces the chances of several types of heart problems and stroke.
Immune System HealthIts rich abundance of antioxidants has a great impact on the immune system, thereby protecting the body from disease. Its antioxidant components also eliminate free radicals, like selenium, tocopherols, flavonoids and phenolic acid.
With all its health benefits it's hard to not want to give buckwheat cereal to your babies but wait until he/she is at least eight months old.
One of my favorite buckwheat recipes is from Detoxinista.com
Easy Vegan Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
The best vegan buckwheat chocolate chip cookies! They are nut-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, naturally sweetened, and easy to make.
- 1 cup light colored buckwheat flour (healthiest is to grind sprouted buckwheat groats)
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (Enjoy Life Foods makes them with cane sugar)
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- In a large bowl, stir together the buckwheat flour, coconut sugar, oil, water, vanilla, salt, and baking soda. Then add in the vinegar, which will react with the baking soda to help the cookies rise a bit.
- Fold in the chocolate chips, then use a tablespoon to scoop the dough into 12 mounds spaced evenly apart on the lined baking sheet. Flatten each cookie with your hands, as these cookies will only spread slightly. Bake until the edges are firm, about 10 minutes at 350ºF. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.
If you'd like to replace some of the oil in this recipe, I've successfully made them using 1/4 cup melted coconut oil with 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce. In this case, please omit the water in the recipe. The resulting cookies will be softer due to the applesauce, like a cross between a cookie and a muffin top. If you'd like them to be firmer, place them in the fridge and serve cold.
We have buckwheat bars on sale at the office for your snacking pleasure. I have made buckwheat porridge as a substitute for oatmeal. Buckwheat pancakes are delicious too! So get creative and enjoy buckwheat!