Today, we’ll take a deep dive into a highly beneficial gluten-free grain substitute: buckwheat. Despite the name, buckwheat is unrelated to wheat. In fact, it’s totally gluten-free and alkalizing.
You’ll learn all about the benefits of this delicious and versatile food, and we’ll give you a 100% alkalizing recipe that’s perfect for balancing acidifying animal proteins.
What Is Buckwheat?
Buckwheat belongs to the category of foods known as pseudocereals. Even though they’re prepared and eaten like cereal grains, they’re actually seeds. As a result, they have the dense nutritional value of seeds with the versatility of a grain.
Buckwheat, an alkalizing pseudocereal, is mostly grown in the Northern Hemisphere and is commonly consumed in Eastern European and some Asian cuisines. It has gained popularity among individuals seeking gluten-free and healthy alternatives to less nutritious grains.
Buckwheat is an alkalizing pseudocereal. It can be prepared like a grain, but in fact, it is a nutrient-dense seed. It's common in many Eastern European and Asian cuisines and has become popular as a gluten-free alternative to less nutritious grains.
A Nutritional Breakdown Of Buckwheat
Buckwheat is growing in popularity in Western markets as people seek to replace gluten-containing foods with more nutritious alternatives. A single cup of buckwheat features a robust dose of fiber and protein, but very little fat and sugar.
That balance makes it highly satiating, providing healthy energy and a lasting feeling of fullness. As a plant-based source of protein, it's also a favorite among vegetarians, vegans, and anyone who is seeking to reduce the amount of animal products in their diet.
A one cup serving of buckwheat contains:
- Calories: 155
- Fat: 1g
- Sodium: 7mg
- Carbohydrates: 34g
- Fiber: 4.5g
- Sugars: 1.5g
- Protein: 5.7g
Additionally, buckwheat is a rich source of several minerals and vitamins that are listed in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program as Foundation Supplements:
- B Vitamins – Buckwheat is a good source of B Vitamins, especially niacin, which promotes healthy skin and nerve function, and riboflavin, which enhances the healing process and helps metabolize fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
- Manganese – This mineral supports healthy metabolism and the production of an antioxidant called superoxide dismutase (SOD). That makes manganese essential for preventing oxidative stress.
- Copper – Copper
is another component of superoxide dismutase. It also protects your bones and blood vessels and aids in the manufacture of collagen.
- Magnesium – Magnesium is involved in hundreds of metabolic processes, making it indispensable throughout the body. It regulates muscle function, nerve function, blood sugar, protein synthesis, bone formation, and more.
- Iron – Iron is essential for the creation and function of red blood cells. Iron deficiency, called anemia, contributes to many health problems, including bone loss.
Buckwheat is a great source of Fiber, protein, B vitamins, manganese, copper, magnesium, and iron. It's low in sugar and fat.
Health Benefits of Buckwheat
The strong nutritional profile of buckwheat has earned it a reputation as a health food. All of those powerful compounds add up to an impressive list of health benefits.
- Lowers Blood Sugar – Thanks to its high fiber content, buckwheat has a low to medium glycemic index, which means that it doesn't spike blood sugar levels. In a study with rats, buckwheat concentrate lowered blood sugar levels by 12 to 19 percent. 1
- Improves Heart Health – Many of the nutrients, minerals, and compounds in buckwheat are known to have heart health benefits, including magnesium, copper, fiber, and certain proteins. Buckwheat is also a source of the antioxidant polyphenol rutin. Rutin has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by preventing blood clots and reducing inflammation and blood pressure.2,3
- Antioxidant Content Benefits – In addition to rutin, buckwheat also contains the antioxidant quercetin. Quercetin has been shown to lower the risk of cancer and heart disease. The protection that antioxidants provide against oxidative damage protects the bone remodeling cycle.4
- Bone Health Benefits – Buckwheat provides Foundation Supplement minerals that work together to keep your bones strong and safe. The antioxidants in buckwheat protect the bone remodeling process, and fiber helps prevent bone-damaging inflammation.
Buckwheat offers benefits to your blood sugar levels, your heart, your antioxidant levels, and your bone health. These benefits derive from the Foundation Supplement minerals and vitamins in buckwheat, as well as several antioxidant polyphenols.
How To Cook Buckwheat
The most basic form of buckwheat, the buckwheat groat, is widely available. The groat is the buckwheat “grain” that you can cook similar to other grains. It requires soaking overnight in water, then cooking on high heat, resulting in a consistency similar to steel cut oats. You can prepare a bowl of buckwheat just like you do oatmeal, or other cooked grains.
In addition to making a great hot cereal, cooked buckwheat is an excellent grain to add to salads or soups.
You can also find toasted buckwheat in many grocery stores, sometimes called kasha. Kasha has a nuttier flavor than untoasted buckwheat and is a staple in many Eastern European dishes.
Buckwheat is also frequently used in many Asian cuisines. Soba noodles are traditionally made from buckwheat– giving them a heartier and more nutritious profile than pasta made from other grains.
Soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour, which is also commercially available as a substitute for wheat flour. Replacing wheat flour with buckwheat flour may require an adjustment since buckwheat contains more fiber than flour made from wheat. Seek out cooking recipes that call specifically for buckwheat flour to get the best results.
Buckwheat can be used as a hot cereal, as an addition to soups or salads, or in any place you would use another grain. Soba noodles are made from buckwheat, and buckwheat flour can be used as a substitute for wheat flour.
A Delicious And Easy Recipe Featuring Buckwheat
This stir-fry recipe is 100% alkalizing, making it an excellent way to balance acidifying animal proteins in your diet. This dish is bursting with color and flavor, and the buckwheat gives it a nutty, substantial base that will satisfy your taste buds and keep you satiated.
- 4 cups buckwheat groats, cooked
- 1 ½ cups broccoli florets
- 1 ½ cups cauliflower florets
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped (for garnish)
- Add oil to a large pan and heat over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add the onion and cook until it starts to turn slightly see-through. Then add the vegetables and seasonings (except parsley).
- Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Then add the cooked buckwheat and heat for 2 – 3 minutes.
- Sprinkle the chopped parsley and serve.
What This Means To You
Add buckwheat to your bone-building, pH-balanced diet. Introducing a new grain to your meals allows you to try a variation on all of your favorite grain-based dishes. That expands your facility in the kitchen and the variety in your diet.
To continue expanding your culinary horizons and building stronger bones, check out Bone Appétit, the Save Institute’s cookbook and meal planner. Inside you'll find over 200 recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and even dessert!
Consuming a pH-balanced diet not only contributes to better health, a good feeling, and an improved appearance; it can also be delicious. Keep exploring new foods and broadening your palate as you build stronger bones.