Buckwheat – a nutrient-packed, gluten-free seed abundantly consumed in Asian countries for centuries – is now becoming increasingly popular in the U.S., Canada, and Europe due to its many health benefits.
While most people think of buckwheat as a whole grain, it’s actually a seed that is high in both protein and fiber. It supports heart and heart health and can help prevent diabetes and digestive disorders. In fact, buckwheat seeds also called “groats,” are so packed with nutrients and antioxidants−like rutin, tannins, and catechin −that they are often called “superfoods.”
Despite its recent rise to nutrition fame, buckwheat is actually an ancient grain with a long history. Today, buckwheat is a favorite amongst plant-based and gluten-free eaters alike since it provides a high source of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants – all with relatively few calories and practically no fat. A major benefit of buckwheat compared to other grains is that it has a unique amino acid composition that gives it special biological activities. These include cholesterol-lowering effects, anti-hypertension effects and improving digestion by relieving constipation.
Buckwheat, which has the genus species name Fagopyrum esculentum, 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. Some of the most popular ways to use buckwheat nutrition? Adding cooked groats to stews, soups or cold salads; replacing processed breakfast grains; and using buckwheat flour in muffins and bread, as well as to coat proteins.
Despite its name, buckwheat actually doesn’t contain any wheat or the protein gluten. Buckwheat is a member of the Polygonaceae family of plants and completely unrelated to grains that do contain gluten, like wheat, barley or rye. For this reason, it’s used in many gluten-free baked items to add bulk and nutrients without causing allergens or digestive issues.
Buckwheat Nutrition Facts: