Buckwheat Benefits

Buckwheat
Latin Name

Fagopyrum Esculentum

Also Known As

Beechwheat, Blé Noir, Silverhull Buckwheat and Trigo Sarraceno

Origin

Southeast Asia

Parts Used

Seeds (Groats)

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

This nutrition packed and gluten free seed has been abundantly consumed in Asian countries for centuries. Buckwheat is now gaining notoriety in the UK, Europe, the US and Canada for its myriad of health benefits.

This ancient grain is thought to have originated in Southeast Asia, and has played an important part in providing health benefitting nutrition to humanity for the best part of 8,000 years.

Buckwheat Benefits

Heart Health

Buckwheat is especially mineral dense – just one serving provides a whopping 30% of the RDA of the heart-healthy mineral magnesium. Magnesium is an essential mineral for the heart which has the highest magnesium requirement of any other organ. The heart simply cannot function properly with insufficient amounts of magnesium – high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and cardiac arrest are all potential side effects of magnesium deficiency.

Another heart-healthy compound found in buckwheat is “rutin” – this bioflavonoid has potent antioxidant properties and has long been used to aid blood circulation. It’s thought that rutin can help strengthen and increase flexibility in blood vessels, such as arteries and capillaries. There is research to show that rutin can prevent the formation of blood clots which in turn will lower the chances of developing life threatening conditions such as heart attacks and strokes.

Stabilises Blood Sugar

Its protein characteristics enhance buckwheat's ability to reduce and stabilize blood sugar levels following meals—a key factor in preventing diabetes and obesity. It has a low glycaemic index, meaning the carbohydrates found in buckwheat are absorbed into the bloodstream slowly, supporting sustainable energy and satiety. This helps to fight imbalances in blood sugar levels which can lead to all manner of health issues if not kept in check.

A study found that when diabetic patients consumed buckwheat for a two month period, they experienced improvements in blood sugar control and reduced insulin resistance without any form of medication.

Nutrient Dense

Buckwheat is richly furnished with antioxidants – not only from the plant flavonoids, it contains the highly antioxidant minerals; copper, manganese and selenium.  Antioxidants act as therapeutic agents against free-radical damage, also called reactive oxygen species or “oxidative stress.” They support cellular function by protecting DNA from damage and preventing inflammation – the precursor to almost all chronic disease.

Buckwheat is also a great source of the all-important B vitamins; B2, B3, B5 (pantothenic acid) and B9 (folate). Crucial to the mood, central nervous system and health of the brain – B vitamins can be difficult to incorporate into a vegan/vegetarian diet without supplementation.

Although only a source of protein, the protein found in buckwheat is of very high quality – it is a complete protein (containing all the essential amino acids) and is especially high in lysine.

Typical Use

Buckwheat is the perfect substitute for rice or couscous. 

Use Buckwheat Flour to make gluten free breads, pancakes and crackers.

Folklore and History

Though it is thought to have originated in Southeast Asia, buckwheat's first real debut took place in the Balkan area of Europe around 4000 BCE. Unlike many other ancient grains, buckwheat has a rich history in the United States. It was common in colonial times, with its popularity peaking in 1866 although by 1960 it had severely declined.

The buckwheat plant also boasts a unique characteristic - it is used to make honey. Its aromatic flowers are especially attractive to bees and buckwheat’s late season honey used to be of great importance in the USA, primarily in the northeast. However, this dark, strong honey’s popularity declined along with the decline of buckwheat as a food, and is now so uncommon it would probably be hugely expensive honey.

Buckwheat
Constituents

Vitamins: B2, B3, B5 (Pantothenic Acid) and B9 (Folate)

Minerals: Phosphorus, Copper, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Iron, Zinc, Selenium

Phenolic Compounds: Rutin, Quercetin, Kaempferal-3-rutinoside

Precautions

Do not use if you have an allergy to buckwheat. Stop use immediately if you experience; skin rash, itching, swelling or difficulty in breathing.