Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) is a herbaceous plant belonging to the Polygonaceae family. Buckwheat is a pseudocereal, which means it is neither a cereal nor a member of the grass family. Some examples include quinoa and amaranth. Even though it has the word ‘wheat’ in buckwheat, they are not similar. It is a three-sided grain-like seed.
This pseudocereal is native to China. It is also widely produced in Ukraine and Russia. In China, different soups, jelly noodles, porridge, and desserts are made using buckwheat and sold as street food. In Eastern Europe, buckwheat groats are a part of the traditional diet. Buckwheat is a common ingredient in a range of dishes worldwide. It is not only used to make snacks and desserts but also honey, vinegar, liquor, and tea. It provides a delicious taste with several health benefits. However, the cooking method is important to remember to enjoy most of its nutritional advantages. Methods such as steaming and sauteing are a few healthy ways of cooking buckwheat.
Buckwheat has received more attention recently after its health benefits became popular. Buckwheat comprises immense health benefits and combats several health conditions. It is gluten-free, and hence you can include them in gluten-free diets. Vegans and vegetarians can also benefit from its taste and nutritional content.
Nutritional Facts of Buckwheat
The USDA provides this nutrition value for 100g of raw buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum)
- Energy: 333 kcal
- Carbohydrate: 62.2 g
- Protein: 13.3 g
- Fat: 2.22 g
- Fibre: 2.2 g
- Iron: 2 mg
- Potassium: 311 mg
- Calcium: 67 mg
Health Benefits of Buckwheat
Buckwheat contains a good amount of fibre. Also, dietary fibre intake improves overall metabolic health. It is no secret that fibre regulates bowel movements. People suffering from constipation can include buckwheat in their diet. It will not only soften the stools but also eases bowel movements.
Eating buckwheat porridge or salad gives a long-lasting feeling of fullness due to the fibre present, which assists in weight loss. Buckwheat also contains a good amount of protein. According to studies, protein helps in increasing metabolism and reducing hunger. Therefore, combining protein and fibre will help you in your weight loss journey.
The glycemic index of buckwheat ranges from medium to low. The glycemic index is a value used to measure 50g grams of a particular food that elevates your blood sugar by what number on a scale of 0-100 (low GI- 55, medium GI- 56-69, High- 70 above).
Raw buckwheat mostly has a low glycemic index ( GI-10.7); therefore, foods comprising a low glycemic index are suitable for people because they tend to release sugar at a much slower rate. In addition, the protein and fibre in this pseudocereal help manage blood sugar levels. According to studies, buckwheat is diabetic-friendly.
Buckwheat is naturally free from gluten. Therefore people suffering from gluten intolerance or celiac disease can consume it without hesitation. In addition, it contains immense antioxidants that reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.
Healthy for Bones
Buckwheat has a significant amount of calcium present in it. Calcium reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis. Therefore, daily consumption of buckwheat assists in strengthening the skeletal structure and connective tissue.
Nutrients and antioxidants present in buckwheat control blood pressure. Studies show that incorporating buckwheat into the diet prevents hypertension for most. However, more detailed research is required to build a stable answer; because even though surveys have shown a decreased blood pressure for most but not for all.
The HealthifyMe Note
Buckwheat contains a significant amount of fibre (2.2 g), calcium (67mg) and protein (13.3 g) per 100g serving. As a result, it prevents constipation, is weight-loss friendly, helps prevent and regulate diabetes, is naturally gluten-free, promotes bone health, and controls blood pressure.
Adverse Effects of Buckwheat
Buckwheat is generally safe; however, people who are allergic to buckwheat must avoid it. It causes a severe allergic reaction in some people, including breathing problems, skin rashes, low blood pressure, itching, swelling, and runny nose. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a health expert before including it in your daily diet.
Ways to Use Buckwheat
- Buckwheat porridge is a fortifying option in contrast to standard breakfast grains.
- Buckwheat groats make a phenomenal expansion to a plate of mixed greens. Heat the buckwheat groats in salted water before adding mixed greens to the serving.
- Buckwheat biscuits or bars snack is also acceptable.
- Buckwheat waffles, shortbreads, and puddings are some other options.
- Buckwheat Salad
Total time: 30 minutes
- Buckwheat: ¾ cup (200 g)
- Water: 1.5 cup (370ml)
- Cucumber: ½
- Salt: to taste
- Yellow pepper: 1 large
- Cherry tomatoes: 1.5 cups (200 g)
- Olive oil: 1 tbsp
- Rinse the buckwheat groats and place them in a saucepan.
- Add the water and salt and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low-medium and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Wash and cut the vegetables into chunks.
- Transfer them into a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
- Pour a tablespoon of olive oil and mix well.
- Taste the cooked buckwheat, and mix it with chopped veggies. Serve warm or cold!
Nutritional Facts (per serving):
- Energy: 337 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 58 g
- Protein: 10 g
- Fats: 9 g
Note: You can customise the recipe. You can also change the ingredients and the portion to an individual’s liking.
- Buckwheat Porridge
Total time: 30 minutes
- Roasted buckwheat groats: 1 cup
- Water: 3 cups
- Salt: 2 pinches
- Coconut milk:125 ml
- Fruits for garnish (optional)
- In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add uncooked buckwheat groats. Cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes (or until water is absorbed). Turn off the heat, add the salt and let it sit for 10-12 minutes more.
- Top with fruits and serve as a porridge.
Nutrition per Serving
- Energy: 145 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 30 g
- Protein: 5 g
- Fats: 1 g
- Healthy Buckwheat Pancakes
Servings: 8 pancakes
Total time: 25 minutes
- Buckwheat: 1 cup (120g)
- Baking powder: 20 g
- Salt: to taste
- Cinnamon: 1 tsp
- Almond or cashew milk: 180 ml
- Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice: 2 tsp
- Honey: 2 tbsp
- Vanilla extract: 1 tsp
- Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl until well combined.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and gently fold until all the flour is wetted.
- Let the batter rest for 8-9 minutes while you heat a non-stick pan or skillet over medium heat.
- Spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray, then scoop the batter onto the pan in scant 1/4 cup portions.
- Let cook until bubbles appear all over each pancake, and the edges start to look dry and cooked; this should take 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Repeat until you’ve used all the batter; you should get about eight pancakes.
- Enjoy right away topped with your favourite pancake toppings or store in the fridge or freezer. Then, you can reheat the leftovers in the oven.
Nutritional value of 4 pancakes
- Energy: 290 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 63 g
- Protein: 8 g
- Fats: 3 g
- Fibre: 7 g
The HealthifyMe Note
Buckwheat is a fibrous and nutrient-rich ingredient. The nutrient profile of buckwheat is impressive since it contains a reasonable amount of antioxidants, protein, fibre, potassium, iron, and calcium. Buckwheat is also gluten-free.
It would help if you stored uncooked buckwheat or buckwheat flour in an airtight container as moisture, heat, and air contribute to their degradation. Keeping it in a dry and dark place will increase its shelf life. You should not store cooked buckwheat in the fridge for not more than 3-4 days. You must discard it if there is any unacceptable odour, sour taste, or change in its look.
In conclusion, healthy food choices promote the well-being of every individual. Buckwheat is perfect for people willing to lose weight or manage diabetes and high blood pressure. Buckwheat has a high amount of complex carbohydrates, which are a good energy source. It is a fantastic food for athletes. It also comprises high-quality protein containing essential amino acids and fibre that help combat constipation issues. Due to buckwheat’s nutrient-dense profile, it provides various health benefits.
It is suitable for vegetarians, non-vegetarians and people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Buckwheat can work as a substitute for white rice. Choosing healthy over other unhealthy foods builds a healthy immune system that helps prevent diseases. Including buckwheat in your diet will assist in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is it safe to eat buckwheat every day?
A. Certainly, it is safe to eat buckwheat every day. Eating buckwheat regularly reduces bad cholesterol levels, boosts immunity, and prevents health issues. However, too much consumption is not beneficial; therefore, one must practice portion control.
Q. What are the benefits of eating buckwheat?
A. There are several health benefits of consuming buckwheat. It prevents constipation, and hypercholesterolemia, is diabetic friendly, supports bone health, lowers high blood pressure, assists in weight loss, and is gluten-free.
Q. What are the side effects of buckwheat?
A. There are hardly any side effects of buckwheat; however, if a person is allergic to it must avoid its consumption. Some common allergy symptoms of buckwheat include breathing problems or asthma, skin rashes, a sudden fall in blood pressure, itching, swelling, runny nose, etc. Therefore, rice allergy individuals must consult a health expert before including it in their daily diet.
Q. Is buckwheat healthier than rice?
A. Yes, buckwheat is healthier than white rice. Buckwheat contains a significant amount of protein, carbohydrate, fibre, calcium, antioxidants, and many more; these are not found in white rice.
Q. Which is better: oats or buckwheat?
A. Both oats and buckwheat are loaded with nutrients. However, oats have a higher nutrient value as compared to buckwheat. Therefore, oats can aid in managing health conditions better than buckwheat.
Q. Is buckwheat good for belly fat?
A. There is no such food that directly reduces belly fat. With physical activity and necessary dietary modifications, one can lose weight. However, buckwheat is rich in protein and fibre, thus, suitable for weight loss. Buckwheat assists in your weight loss journey.
Q. Is quinoa better than buckwheat?
A. Yes, quinoa being a superfood, is better than buckwheat. Quinoa is nutrient-dense and has immense health benefits. Both quinoa and buckwheat are full of protein. However, quinoa has a higher amount of protein content than buckwheat.
Q. Is buckwheat anti-inflammatory?
A.Buckwheat comprises a good source of bioactive compounds that have shown anti-inflammatory effects. As a result, people often use buckwheat to treat inflammatory bowel diseases(IBDs).
Q. Is buckwheat good for weight loss?
A. Certainly, buckwheat is suitable for weight loss. The fibre and protein in buckwheat provide a long-lasting feeling of satiety, reducing cravings and overconsumption.
Q. Do I need to soak buckwheat before cooking?
A. Soaking the buckwheat before cooking makes it softer and easier to cook. It consumes less time. However, you can also exclude the soaking part- just a thorough rinse of buckwheat groats under running water before you start cooking.
Q. Is buckwheat good for bodybuilding?
A. Buckwheat is high in complex carbs that boost the body with energy. Therefore it is an excellent food for athletes. Furthermore, it is also a good source of protein. Consuming buckwheat before or after an exercise assists in providing energy and strength. Therefore it is suitable for bodybuilding.
Q. Is buckwheat a prebiotic?
A. Prebiotics are a type of dietary fibre that feeds the good bacteria in the gut, allowing the gut bacteria to produce nutrients that support a healthier digestive system. Buckwheat is prebiotic.
Q. Is buckwheat a carb or protein?
A. This carbohydrate-rich food acts as a fuel to the brain and muscles. Buckwheat has a significant amount of protein; however, it mainly comprises healthful complex carbohydrates. Buckwheat is primarily carbs.
Q. Is buckwheat a protein?
A. The carbohydrate content in buckwheat is much higher than protein. According to USDA, 100 g of buckwheat contains 62.2 g of carbohydrates and 13.3 g of protein. Therefore, buckwheat has more carbohydrates than protein.