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Did you know that “Beech wheat “or buckwheat is a famous dish prepared in India on Hindu fasting days? On the other hand, that in Kingwood, West Virginia, there is the famous Buckwheat Festival where people participate in various contests and where each year during the festival King Buckwheat and Queen Ceres are elected?
We know that buckwheat noodles are very popular in Japan, Korea and in northern Italy.
Moreover, buckwheat pancakes are famous in several countries and buckwheat is a great honey plant.
We may not know that buckwheat is used as a substitute in beer production and that buckwheat hulls are used as fills in homeopathic pillows.
The common buckwheat spread from Tibet and Central Asia to Middle East and Europe around 6000 BC. There are documents confirming that buckwheat was popular in Balkans around 4000 BC.
Then, what do we know about its health benefits?
What is Buckwheat?
Buckwheat is neither a cereal grain nor wheat; it is a seed. This plant belongs to Polygonaceae family, and is known by the scientific name Fagopyrum esculentum. Before rice and other cereal grains became popular, buckwheat was very famous and highly valuable in southeastern China and Himalayas. This short season ancient crop, that is similar to quinoa, needs well-drained soil to grow. The plant is cultivated as annual and it reaches about 45-60 centimeters in height. The seeds are pyramidal in shape, and feature three sides. Whit thick outer hull that is brown to gray, the kernel inside is white and nutty.
Nutritional Value of Buckwheat
100 grams of seeds (grains) provide 343 calories. Due to this buckwheat is excellent source of energy.
Buckwheat grains are rich with soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. 100 grams provide 26 percent of daily requirements of fiber. We need fiber to prevent constipation, to bind toxins, and to lower LDL cholesterol level.
Because is gluten free food, it is excellent for stomach for those who have various problems whit it.
Antioxidants such as rutin, tannis and cathechin are present in buckwheat. Rutin in particular have anti-inflammatory properties.
High amount of B-complex vitamins (riboflavin, and niacin) makes buckwheat very powerful and disease-preventing food.
Magnesium and cooper are important minerals that buckwheat contains. Cooper for the production of red cells and magnesium for blood vessel relaxation, headaches and against depression.
All the amino acids (especially lysine) that are necessary for human body are present in buckwheat; Lysine is mandatory for collagen production especially because human body does not produce it.
Advantages of Buckwheat and Health Benefits
This powerful gluten free food is highly recommended for optimum health due to its minerals and vitamins.
High quality digestible proteins may reduce plasma cholesterol, body fat and cholesterol gallstones. It is also extraordinary meat substitute.
Due to compound called rutin, buckwheat strengthens capillary walls
Rutin, that is present in buckwheat leaves, is used to treat high blood pressure.
This food has a glycemic index of 54 and it lowers blood sugars. Due to this, it may help treat diabetes as well.
It is effective for treating chronic diarrhea and dysentery.
Buckwheat is excellent for drawing out retained water and fluid from the body.
Due to the phytonutrient lingams, buckwheat protects against breast and other hormone dependant cancers.
Due to lingams, it protects against heart disease.
It is safe for people with celiac disease.
It is excellent for vegetarians.
Side effects of Buckwheat
There are no negative consequences of this food. However, flavonoid compound rutin may interact with routine medications.
This main source of food in Himalayan regions is very versatile when it comes to cooking and preparation. Flour made of buckwheat goes well with other cereals flours, seeds are consumed as rice or wheat, boiled, cooked, mashed. All in all and one can do pretty much everything with it. In a word, an excellent food that should be a part of everybody’s nutrition. For fun and for health, use this recipe and make delicious sweets.
Anderson J.W. (2004). Whole grains and coronary heart disease: the whole kernel of truth. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Dec; 80(6):1459-60.
Ensminger A.H., Esminger M. K. J. e. al. (1986). Food for Health: A Nutrition Encyclopedia. Pegus Press.
Gabrovska D., Fiedlerova V., Holasova M. et al. (2002) The nutritional evaluation of underutilized cereals and buckwheat. Food Nutr Bull, Sep; 23 (3 Suppl):246-9.
Wood, R. (1988). The Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Prentice-Hall Press.
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Last article update: 3/25/2019