Benefits Of Buckwheat: 5 Reasons To Cook With This Ancient Grain

Benefits of buckwheat.
Buchwheat flour in a wooden measuring spoon

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“Consuming enough buckwheat can keep epileptic seizures at bay.”

Great for making bread, pasta, and pancakes – the nutty flavor of buckwheat makes it a great addition to every pantry. Contrary to popular belief, buckwheat is not a grain. It is, in fact, a seed that comes from the rhubarb family. Buckwheat’s nutritional quality makes it a favorite with nutritionists. Here’s a reckoner of the benefits it provides.

1. Aids Weight Loss

If you’ve been on a diet, don’t hesitate to add buckwheat to your meals.[ref]The Basics of Healthy Eating. Mississippi State Department Of Health.[/ref]  A cup of the seed provides 17 grams of fiber, which makes up for a whopping 68% of your daily recommended intake.[ref]Full Report (All Nutrients): 20008, Buckwheat. United States Department Of Agriculture.[/ref] Fiber may regulate hunger hormones, including ghrelin, and make you feel full. In addition to this, it may also slow down the movement of food through the gut and promote satiety. Both these benefits prevent overeating and aid in meeting daily caloric requirements.[ref]St-Pierre, David H., Rémi Rabasa-Lhoret, Marie-Ève Lavoie, Antony D. Karelis, Irene Strychar, Eric Doucet, and Lise Coderre. “Fiber intake predicts ghrelin levels in overweight and obese postmenopausal women.” European journal of endocrinology 161, no. 1 (2009): 65-72.[/ref] [ref]Holzer, Peter, and Aitak Farzi. “Neuropeptides and the microbiota-gut-brain axis.” In Microbial endocrinology: the microbiota-gut-brain axis in health and disease, pp. 195-219. Springer, New York, NY, 2014.[/ref] [ref]Cani, Patrice D., Elodie Lecourt, Evelyne M. Dewulf, Florence M. Sohet, Barbara D. Pachikian, Damien Naslain, Fabienne De Backer, Audrey M. Neyrinck, and Nathalie M. Delzenne. “Gut microbiota fermentation of prebiotics increases satietogenic and incretin gut peptide production with consequences for appetite sensation and glucose response after a meal.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 90, no. 5 (2009): 1236-1243.[/ref] [ref]Slavin, Joanne. “Fiber and prebiotics: mechanisms and health benefits.” Nutrients 5, no. 4 (2013): 1417-1435.[/ref]

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id="2">2. Improves Blood Sugar Control

High levels of sugar in the blood can lead to chronic diseases like type-2 diabetes and moderating the rise in blood sugar levels after meals can aid in the maintenance of good health. Since it’s a good source of fiber, buckwheat ranks low–medium on the glycemic index.[ref]Buckwheat.

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The University Of Sydney.[/ref] This indicates that the rise in blood sugar is slow and gradual after eating buckwheat.[ref]Zhang, Hong-Wei, Yong-Hong Zhang, Ming-Jun Lu, Wei-Jun Tong, and Guang-Wen Cao. “Comparison of hypertension, dyslipidaemia and hyperglycaemia between buckwheat seed-consuming and non-consuming Mongolian-Chinese populations in Inner Mongolia, China.” Clinical and experimental pharmacology & physiology 34, no. 9 (2007): 838-844.[/ref] [ref]He, Jiang, Michael J. Klag, Paul K. Whelton, Jing-Ping Mo, J. Y. Chen, M. C. Qian, P. S. Mo, and GUAN-QING He. “Oats and buckwheat intakes and cardiovascular disease risk factors in an ethnic minority of China.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 61, no. 2 (1995): 366-372.[/ref] [ref]Kawa, Julianne M., Carla G. Taylor, and Roman Przybylski. “Buckwheat concentrate reduces serum glucose in streptozotocin-diabetic rats.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 51, no. 25 (2003): 7287-7291.[/ref]

Studies have linked the consumption of buckwheat with lower blood sugar in diabetics by as much as 12–19%. This effect could be due to a unique soluble carbohydrate, namely D-chiro-inositol, which makes cells more sensitive to insulin, which is the hormone causes them to absorb sugar from the blood. In addition to this, certain components of buckwheat may prevent or delay the digestion of table sugar. Adding this seed to your diet can help you manage your blood sugar levels.[ref]Hosaka, Toshio, Yoshitaka Nii, Hiroyuki Tomotake, Takahiro Ito, Aya Tamanaha, Yukiko Yamasaka, Sayaka Sasaga et al. “Extracts of common buckwheat bran prevent sucrose digestion.” Journal of nutritional science and vitaminology 57, no. 6 (2011): 441-445.[/ref] [ref]Fonteles, M. C., M. Q. Almeida, and J. Larner. “Antihyperglycemic effects of 3-O-methyl-D-chiro-inositol and D-chiro-inositol associated with manganese in streptozotocin diabetic rats.” Hormone and Metabolic Research 32, no. 04 (2000): 129-132.[/ref] [ref]Ortmeyer, Heidi K., Joseph Larner, and Barbara C. Hansen. “Effects of d‐chiroinositol added to a meal on plasma glucose and insulin in hyperinsulinemic rhesus monkeys.” Obesity Research 3, no. S4 (1995): 605S-608S.[/ref] [ref]Yao, Yang, Fang Shan, Junsheng Bian, Feng Chen, Mingfu Wang, and Guixing Ren. “D-chiro-inositol-enriched tartary buckwheat bran extract lowers the blood glucose level in KK-Ay mice.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 56, no. 21 (2008): 10027-10031.[/ref]

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id="3">3. Promotes Heart Health

Since buckwheat lowers cholesterol, it may also prevent gallstones.[ref]Tomotake, Hiroyuki, Naoe Yamamoto, Noriyuki Yanaka, Hiroshi Ohinata, Rikio Yamazaki, Jun Kayashita, and Norihisa Kato. “High protein buckwheat flour suppresses hypercholesterolemia in rats and gallstone formation in mice by hypercholesterolemic diet and body fat in rats because of its low protein digestibility.” Nutrition22, no. 2 (2006): 166-173.[/ref]

Buckwheat

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packs in traces of heart-healthy compounds. It is the richest source of rutin, an antioxidant that may cut the risk of heart disease by preventing the formation of blood clots, decreasing inflammation and reducing blood pressure.[ref]Zhang, Zhan-Lu, Mei-Liang Zhou, Yu Tang, Fa-Liang Li, Yi-Xiong Tang, Ji-Rong Shao, Wen-Tong Xue, and Yan-Min Wu. “Bioactive compounds in functional buckwheat food.” Food research international 49, no. 1 (2012): 389-395.[/ref] It also contains certain types of proteins that bind cholesterol in the digestive system and prevent its absorption into the bloodstream.  In doing so, they lower blood pressure and improve blood lipid profile, including lower levels of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and higher levels of HDL (the “good” cholesterol).[ref]Jiang, P., F. Burczynski, C. Campbell, G. Pierce, J. A. Austria, and C. J. Briggs. “Rutin and flavonoid contents in three buckwheat species Fagopyrum esculentum, F. tataricum, and F. homotropicum and their protective effects against lipid peroxidation.” Food Research International 40, no. 3 (2007): 356-364.[/ref] [ref]Yang, Nan, and Guixing Ren. “Application of near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy to the evaluation of rutin and D-chiro-inositol contents in tartary buckwheat.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 56, no. 3 (2008): 761-764.[/ref] [ref]He, Jiang, Michael J. Klag, Paul K. Whelton, Jing-Ping Mo, J. Y. Chen, M. C. Qian, P. S. Mo, and GUAN-QING He. “Oats and buckwheat intakes and cardiovascular disease risk factors in an ethnic minority of China.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 61, no. 2 (1995): 366-372.[/ref] [ref]Kayashita, Jun, Iwao Shimaoka, Misao Nakajoh, and Norihisa Kato. “Feeding of buckwheat protein extract reduces hepatic triglyceride concentration, adipose tissue weight, and hepatic lipogenesis in rats.” The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 7, no. 10 (1996): 555-559.[/ref] [ref]Tomotake, Hiroyuki, Iwao Shimaoka, Jun Kayashita, Fumiyo Yokoyama, Misao Nakajoh, and Norihisa Kato. “Stronger suppression of plasma cholesterol and enhancement of the fecal excretion of steroids by a buckwheat protein product than by a soy protein isolate in rats fed on a cholesterol-free diet.” Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry 65, no. 6 (2001): 1412-1414.[/ref] [ref]Kayashita, Jun, Iwao Shimaoka, Misao Nakajoh, Michikazu Yamazaki, and Norihisa Kato. “Consumption of buckwheat protein lowers plasma cholesterol and raises fecal neutral sterols in cholesterol-fed rats because of its low digestibility.” The Journal of Nutrition 127, no. 7 (1997): 1395-1400.[/ref]

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id="4">4. Promotes Thyroid Health

Buckwheat allergy is common in people who are allergic to latex or rice. Its symptoms may include skin rashes, swelling, and digestive distress.

A cup of buckwheat packs in 2.210 mg of manganese, which accounts for 96.08% of your recommended daily intake.[ref]Full Report (All Nutrients): 20008, Buckwheat. United States Department Of Agriculture.[/ref] This makes buckwheat a vital addition to your diet, especially if you’ve been diagnosed with thyroid disorders. Manganese helps enzymes function and work properly in your body. It also plays a role in the production of thyroxine, a vital hormone that is required for the normal functioning of the thyroid gland. Thyroxine helps you maintain proper appetite, metabolism, weight, and organ efficiency. Hence, including buckwheat in your diet might help manage your thyroid hormones.[ref]Soldin, O. P., and M. Aschner. “Effects of manganese on thyroid hormone homeostasis: potential links.” Neurotoxicology 28, no. 5 (2007): 951-956.[/ref]

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id="5">5.  May Lower The Instances Of Epileptic Seizures

Epilepsy in adults over 35 is caused due to a stroke which decreases blood flow to your brain. And manganese, found abundantly in buckwheat, is known to enlarge veins and efficiently carry blood to tissues like the brain, in turn, decreasing the risk of a stroke and epileptic seizures.[ref]Liu, Shasha, Weihua Yu, and Yang Lü. “The causes of new-onset epilepsy and seizures in the elderly.” Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment 12 (2016): 1425.[/ref] In addition to this, part of the body’s manganese content is found in the brain with several studies suggesting that manganese levels may be lower in individuals with seizure disorders.[ref]Carl, George F., L. K. Blackwell, F. C. Barnett, L. A. Thompson, C. J. Kissinger, K. L. Olin, J. W. Critchfield, C. L. Keen, and B. B. Gallagher. “Manganese and epilepsy: brain glutamine synthetase and liver arginase activities in genetically epilepsy-prone and chronically seizure rats.” Epilepsia 34, no. 3 (1993): 441-446.[/ref] [ref] Consuming enough buckwheat can keep epileptic seizures at bay.