As the name suggests, most of us tend to think that buckwheat is a form of wheat. However, it turns out that buckwheat is actually a plant that’s related to other plants like rhubarb instead of grass based plants. It was many thousands of years ago that buckwheat was domesticated in China and was used in a large variety of ways. After all that time, buckwheat has still held up as an important plant that’s cultivated for its use in foods, drinks and even furniture.
Many of your favorite foods are actually based on buckwheat, including pasta and pancakes. Buckwheat plays an important role in someone’s diet, and has been included more and more in recent years because buckwheat itself doesn’t contain gluten. That makes it an alternative to wheat. Switching wheat for buckwheat can do some tremendous things for your body, too. To show you, we’ll take a look at the nutritional value and proven health benefits you get from eating buckwheat.
Nutrition of Buckwheat
Each one ounce serving of buckwheat contains just under 100 calories, and you get a nice kick of protein with 3.7 grams and more than 10 percent of your daily recommendation of dietary fiber. Buckwheat isn’t exactly packed in vitamins, but it does provide some very important ones that you might not be getting. The most abundant vitamin here is niacin, with 10 percent of your daily recommendation.
Riboflavin is the next most abundant at seven percent daily value, with smaller amounts of thiamin, vitamin B6, folate and pantothenic acid at just under five percent. In terms of minerals, you’ll find between 10 to 20 percent daily value in magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese with the latter being the most abundant. Coming in around five percent are minerals that include calcium, iron, potassium, zinc and selenium. There’s only one gram of fat in each serving of buckwheat with no cholesterol and a blend of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Good For the Heart
Millions of people are worried about their heart health, as factors such as family history, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are incredibly common. Buckwheat is one of those foods that can fit easily into a heart healthy diet, and helps you by containing more rutin than any other food. If you’re not familiar with rutin, this antioxidant has been shown to lower blood clotting, while reducing both inflammation and blood pressure.
Buckwheat contains plenty of other antioxidants to boost the effectiveness of your heart, while also lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol in your system and even raising the HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Some of the vitamins that also aid your heart include magnesium, phosphorus and manganese, which all combine to balance blood pressure and remove triglycerides from your blood. In fact, one study showed that those who ate buckwheat on a daily basis reduced their chances of heart disease by more than 10 percent.
When you want to control your blood sugar, you have to increase your fiber content while balancing your carbohydrate intake. Buckwheat is a great way of doing that, as it contains more fiber than carbs, putting it very low on the glycemic index. Even the carbohydrates within buckwheat are complex ones, which are friendly for diabetics. Doctors specifically suggest buckwheat for diabetics since it strengthens the capillaries, improving organ function to balance your blood sugar more effectively.
Studies have backed up the positives of buckwheat, with those that get buckwheat on a daily basis being able to balance their glucose and insulin levels even with diabetes. Buckwheat was also able to provide a natural energy boost without spikes and crashes throughout the day. The studies even showed that getting your blood sugar down to a normal level only took around one hour.
Digestion for Weight Loss
Buckwheat provides a high amount of fiber in each serving with more than 10 percent of the recommended daily amount, which is great news for your digestive system. Buckwheat will introduce more probiotics into your gut that will keep you regular, while removing harmful bacteria that can cause irregularity, constipation and discomfort. This will also help you feel more full, leading to a huge boost for any weight loss plan.
Eating the recommended serving size of buckwheat won’t bring too many calories into your diet, especially when you consider how many nutrients you’re getting in return. Plus, there’s protein in each serving of buckwheat, and it’s the type that’s easily digested to help you build more muscle and burn more fat. For those that don’t eat meat, buckwheat is a great source of protein compared to other vegetarian options.
Buckwheat can help you avoid a wide range of diseases, with studies showing that it has a large effect on preventing cancer. Antioxidants such as rutin can be hard to find outside of buckwheat, and these are helpful in fighting off free radicals that can damage your body’s cells and cause diseases such as cancer. Fiber also plays a role, as it’s been linked to a reduction in chances of colon cancer.
Other forms of cancer that buckwheat has been shown to prevent includes breast cancer because of the high amount of enterolactone. This compound allows your body to manage hormones more efficiently and control these forms of cancer. You’ll even see a reduction in nagging minor illnesses such as the cold or flu because of antioxidants and an increase in vitamins and minerals.
Buckwheat contains a surprising amount of minerals in each serving, and many of these are great for your bones. While the calcium total isn’t high, your body won’t even be able to effectively use calcium unless you’re getting enough phosphorus and magnesium, two minerals that are abundant in buckwheat. Combined with the high amount of B vitamins, and you’ll be able to build stronger bones and avoid osteoporosis down the road. This will also apply to your teeth, keeping them strong for years to come so you can avoid having to get dentures.
Summing it Up
Even for the healthiest foods, we always have to look to see if there are any side effects you must know about. Naturally, there are going to be some people who are allergic to buckwheat, but are there any other negative side effects? If you’re not used to fiber in your diet, eating buckwheat might cause some temporary discomfort since it contains more than 10 percent of your daily recommended value in each serving.
Doctors also say that you should speak with your personal doctor first before eating buckwheat if you’re pregnant or nursing. Also, buckwheat can lower your blood sugar levels, which sounds like a good thing but might not be the best for people with low blood sugar already. That means you’ll also want to avoid buckwheat if you’ve recently had surgery or have one coming up. With that said, most people will be able to easily add buckwheat to their diet as long as they aren’t allergic, which leads to the great health benefits that we’ve seen above!