(Natural News) Buckwheat, despite what its name suggests, is neither a cereal nor wheat product. It’s a fruit seed that comes from the buckwheat plant (Fagopyrum esculentum), and it is more closely related to rhubarb and sorrel. Buckwheat belongs to a food group commonly called pseudocereals – seeds that are consumed similarly to grains but don’t grow from grass, as other cereals do.
The seeds, also known as groats, have become a popular health food due to being rich in nutrients and antioxidants, leading some to consider buckwheat a superfood. (Related: Buckwheat is a nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich, and gluten-free alternative to common cereal grains.)
Buckwheat is a nutritional powerhouse
- Calories – 583 kcal
- Protein – 22.5 grams (g)
- Fiber – 17 g
- Sodium – 1.7 g
- Carbohydrates – 122 g
- Fat – 5.78 g
Buckwheat contains more minerals – like manganese, magnesium, and iron – than many common grains such as rice and corn. These are also absorbed well even after they’re cooked, thanks to buckwheat’s relatively low phytic acid levels, a common inhibitor of mineral absorption found in grains.
What makes buckwheat good?
Nutritionists consider buckwheat as a healthy alternative to wheat due to having a higher antioxidant content and lesser calories compared to other grains. People who regularly consume buckwheat enjoy the variety of health benefits it provides. Here is an overview of four main health benefits provided by this pseudocereal.
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Improves heart health
Buckwheat contains heart-healthy compounds like rutin and fiber. A study published in Food Research International found that buckwheat is the only source of rutin – a powerful antioxidant used to aid blood circulation – among pseudocereals.
Rutin has the ability to prevent the formation of blood clots in certain animals. Preventing blood clots can reduce the risk of developing conditions such as stroke and heart attacks.
Buckwheat is also a good source of dietary fiber. According to Dr. Cheryl Clark from Harvard Medical School, people with fiber-rich diets are less likely to develop heart disease. Fiber does this by lowering both blood pressure and cholesterol – both factors in determining heart health.
The dietary fiber in buckwheat supports the digestive system by helping food move through the digestive tract and adding bulk to stool. A study published in the Gastroenterology Review has also shown that dietary fiber can also reduce the risk of inflammatory bowel diseases.
Manages blood sugar
Buckwheat is a source of complex carbohydrates. These carbohydrates take longer to digest, which, in turn, have a less immediate impact on blood sugar levels. This causes blood sugar to rise slowly and remain stable for longer periods of time. Additionally, these carbohydrates also help in managing diabetes. A report published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that diets rich in fiber, a type of complex carbohydrate, help improve glycemic control and decrease hyperinsulinemia – abnormally high levels of insulin in the body.
Aids in weight management
A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that protein has a key role in body weight regulations. Researchers linked this finding to satiety, or the feeling of fullness after a meal. Foods that increase satiety can prevent hunger for longer periods of time, effectively cutting the total calorie intake a person consumes per day.
The findings show that high-protein foods, such as buckwheat, generally increase satiety more than carbohydrates or fat. However, the researchers noted that an increase in dietary protein intake should be accompanied by physical activity and a controlled diet.
Buckwheat is a healthful and diverse superfood with an excellent nutritional profile. Visit Superfood.news if you would like to learn more about food similar to buckwheat.