Buckwheat is often considered a tasty alternative to wheat. Have you heard about this pseudo-cereal? I am sure you must have, but the name would have been different. It is known as papparai in Tamil, okhla in Punjabi and kuttu in Hindi. Did you know that buckwheat is a completely gluten-free food?
It is widely consumed as flour in many parts of India during the days of fasting such as Navaratri, Janamashthami, Ekadashi, and Shivaratri. Buckwheat is used to prepare savories like kuttu ki puri or kuttu pakoras in India. This is also popularly used in Japanese and Korean cuisines for making noodles, bread, pancakes and porridge. Buckwheat flour obtained from the leaves and flowers can be used to make medicine. This pseudo-cereal is not related to wheat.
Buckwheat is packed with nutrients and good amounts of energy. The flowers of the buckwheat plant have a pleasant fragrance with rich, pungent, malty, molasses and an earthy taste. These are used for manufacturing a strongly flavored, dark brown-colored honey. Buckwheat honey is used as treacle in bakery and barbecue.
Buckwheat honey has many antioxidant compounds along with many other vitamins and minerals. This can lower the effects of free radicals that cause arthritis and cancer.
Buckwheat Benefits for Health:
1. Rich Source of Protein:
Buckwheat is a good source of high-quality protein that is very easy to digest. This can also be a very good substitute for meat.
2. Fat Alternative:
Buckwheat starch acts as fat in processed foods. Buckwheat is widely used in bakery for this reason.
3. Lowers Blood Pressure:
This contains good amounts of rutin. It can be obtained from the leaves of the buckwheat plant. This acts as a medicine to cure high blood pressure.
Buckwheat hulls are popularly used as pillow stuffing. This helps to cure allergies from dust, feathers and pollen.
5. Helps in Diabetes:
New research has found buckwheat to be helpful in managing diabetes. This has a glycemic index of 54, which can lower blood sugar slowly unlike rice or wheat.
6. Good for Digestion:
The neutral thermal properties of buckwheat help to cleanse and strengthen the intestines. This indirectly improves the appetite, and cures dysentery and chronic diarrhea.
7. Draws Out Excess Fluid:
Buckwheat benefits to draw out the excess fluids and retained water from the swollen areas of your body.
8. Buckwheat is A Warming Food:
Buckwheat is a yang food that is beneficial when consumed during the cold winters. Make this a part of your diet during winters for best benefits.
Buckwheat doesn’t contain gluten and is not a grain. This is good for celiacs and gluten-sensitive people.
10. Reduces Cholesterol:
Consume buckwheat regularly to reduce the risk of high cholesterol and hypertension. It can also lower LDL and increase HDL. This helps to prevent body fat, plasma cholesterol, and gallstones.
Buckwheat is a rich source of flavonoids like rutin. These can act as antioxidants, protecting you from diseases caused due to Vitamin C deficiency.
The flavonoids in buckwheat help to maintain proper blood flow. They prevent the platelets from clotting and also inhibit the oxidation of free radicals into harmful cholesterol oxides.
13. Contains Magnesium:
This pseudo-cereal contains magnesium, which can relax the blood vessels and improve circulation. Buckwheat also helps you to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.
14. Lowers Blood Sugar Level:
Buckwheat also helps an individual to maintain his/her blood sugar levels. It is suggested to make this a part of your regular diet in moderate quantities to keep a check on your blood sugar levels. Buckwheat can lower the levels of glucose and insulin. It can satisfy your hunger and prevent diabetes.
15. Controls Childhood Asthma:
This grain has good amounts of insoluble fiber that helps avoid gallstones in women. Furthermore, the fiber is also beneficial for childhood asthma.
16. Protects Against Breast Cancer:
Buckwheat has phytonutrient plant lignans that get converted to mammalian lignans in your intestines. Enterolactone is useful to protect women from breast cancer.
17. Good for Postmenopausal Women:
Regular intake of buckwheat is essential for postmenopausal women as it lowers the risk of high blood pressure, breast cancer, high cholesterol and other cardiovascular diseases.
18. Prevents Liver Disorders:
Buckwheat has loads of vitamin B-complex and is best for people with liver disorders and other related illnesses.
19. Low-Calorie Food:
Buckwheat is high in inositol, which makes this a low-calorie and well-balanced food. Buckwheat lowers fat accumulation and can help maintain the body’s metabolic rate.
20. Benefits of Buckwheat for Skin and Hair:
Buckwheat is rich in B complex vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine and folate. These essential vitamins give you healthy skin and hair. In addition, the rutin content in buckwheat has antioxidant properties to reduce the signs of premature ageing. This also contains high-quality protein that is required for good hair growth. This protein has amino acids which are required for healthy hair and nails.
21. Improves Gut Health:
Buckwheat is one of the best sources of fiber and can be used to prepare porridge. This dish is best for the gut. Buckwheat protein exhibits fiber-like effects to fight off constipation and cancer.
22. Improves Skin Elasticity:
Buckwheat is a rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids that can enhance your skin’s elasticity. It can keep your skin younger-looking for long.
23. Prevents Skin Damage:
Vitamin B is best for the skin, nails and hair, and can also lower skin damage caused due to sun exposure and other environmental factors. Buckwheat has riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamine, and folate that help prevent skin damage.
Buckwheat Honey Benefits:
24. Protects Against Heart Disease:
Buckwheat honey has flavonoids that reduce the risk of cancer and heart-related diseases. Polyphenol, the antioxidant present in honey is the chemical that adds color to it.
25. Prevents Cough:
Honey prepared from buckwheat can be very beneficial in case of coughs. It is often administered to babies and even adults suffering from cough.
26. Low Hypoglycemic Index:
Buckwheat honey can be useful to regulate your blood sugar levels. It has a good hypoglycemic index.
27. Moisturizing and Nourishing:
Honey has anti-bacterial properties that are beneficial for your skin. It can even be mixed with other ingredients to moisturize and nourish your skin to help regain its softness.
28. Acts As A Healer:
Honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can quickly heal wounds, foot ulcers and burns.
29. Mix This With Your Food Or Drinks:
This can be the best sweetener and flavoring agent for your food and drinks. You can also add buckwheat honey to your favorite tea!
Interesting Facts about Buckwheat:
- Preston County Buckwheat Festival is held every year.
- Buckwheat is related to sorrel and rhubarb.
- Buckwheat seedlings grow very quickly.
- It is also a substitute for other grains in the preparation of gluten-free beer.
Buckwheat Nutrition Facts:
- This contains good quality protein, with 9 essential amino acids including lysine.
- Buckwheat is a very rich source of iron.
- This has (80%) carbohydrate content.
- Buckwheat is a very good source of antioxidants.
- This also contains many minerals and vitamins including copper, zinc and niacin.
- It is also very high in rutin.
History of Buckwheat:
- Buckwheat has been consumed since the 8th century BC.
- It was discovered among the wild where it grew naturally.
- Buckwheat is native to Northern Europe and Asia.
- It was produced in China, followed by Europe and Russia.
- This was introduced to the U.S. by the Dutch in the 17th century.
How to Store Buckwheat:
- You can store this in an airtight container.
- Always put the jar in a cool, dry place.
- Buckwheat flour can be stored in the refrigerator.
Tips for Cooking Buckwheat:
- Rinse it thoroughly under running water to remove any dirt.
- This can also be milled into flour.
- You can roast the whole groats to make a dish.
- Buckwheat groats when roasted, taste delicious.
- Buckwheat is the best substitute for grains.
- In Japan it is used to make Soba noodles, a traditional dish.
- Buckwheat is also widely added to chocolate bars.
Side Effects of Buckwheat:
1. Gluten-free buckwheat products such as soba noodles can be bought by checking the label.
2. Buckwheat must not be taken by people with spleen qi deficiency.
3. Always check with an allergy specialist before feeding buckwheat to your child.
4. Buckwheat is safe for adults.
5. Sometimes, it can increase the risk of sunburn.
6. Re-exposure to buckwheat can cause a runny nose, asthma, skin rash, itching, swelling, or even a fatal drop in blood pressure.
7. It is not advised to feed buckwheat honey to your young children to prevent botulism.
1. Millet & Buckwheat with Sunflower Seeds:
- 1/4 cup buckwheat
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 3/4 cup millet
- 2 1/2 cups water
- Sauté the sunflowers seeds in a pan that has a tight-fitting lid.
- Add buckwheat and millet to this.
- Sauté till its golden brown
- Mix sea salt and water.
- Bring this to a boil.
- Cover with a lid.
- Simmer till all the water gets absorbed
2. Buckwheat with Sunflower Seeds:
- 1 cup buckwheat
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Sauté the sunflowers seeds in a pan.
- Add buckwheat.
- Sauté till golden brown.
- Mix sea salt and water.
- Bring this to a boil.
- Cover with a lid.
- Simmer till the water gets absorbed.
3. Soba Soup:
This is prepared from buckwheat noodles.
- 1/4 – 1/2 lb soba (buckwheat noodles)
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 1/4 cup mugi miso
- 1 piece Kombu
- 1 small piece Wakame
- 1 inch piece ginger root, peeled and grated
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cups water
- Wash the Kombu and Wakame thoroughly.
- Put this in a pot with water.
- Add the ginger.
- Boil for 10 – 20 minutes.
- Rinse the seaweed.
- Chop Wakame and put this back in the water.
- Sauté onion and add to the stock with the carrot.
- Boil for 6 minutes
- Add soba.
- Boil and add 1 cup cold water
- Repeat 3 times by adding three cups of water.
- Boil for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Add miso.
- Let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Serve in bowls.
- Sprinkle some “Fried Tofu” for garnish.
4. Buckwheat Khichdi:
- 1 cup buckwheat
- 1 tbsp ginger-green chili paste
- 2 tbsp peanuts
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup sour curd
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 cup potatoes
- Clean and soak the buckwheat for 2 hours.
- Mix the curd with 1½ cups water.
- Keep this aside.
- Heat the oil in a pan
- Add cumin seeds.
- Add the potatoes and cook on medium flame.
- Add the powdered peanuts, ginger-green chili paste, and cook.
- Mix with the curd mixture, salt and buckwheat.
- Cook on low flame for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Garnish with some coriander and sesame seeds.
- Serve this hot with peanut kadhi.
USDA Buckwheat Nutrition Chart:
|Buckwheat, Nutritional value per 100 g.|
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||3.40 g||17%|
|Dietary Fiber||10 g||26%|
|Folates (B9)||30 µg||7.5%|
|Niacin (B3)||7.020 mg||44%|
|Pantothenic acid||1.233 mg||25%|
|Riboflavin (B2)||0.425 mg||33%|
|Thiamin (B1)||0.101 mg||8.5%|
|Vitamin A||0 IU||0%|
Disclaimer: It is always suggested to consult a doctor before following any advice.
There are numerous benefits of consuming buckwheat. Enjoy buckwheat and its amazing benefits for your body, skin and hair health.