Ancient grains are trending right now - and for good reason! Buckwheat is a nutritious pseudo-grain that can be prepared in a plethora of ways. This hearty seed is full of antioxidants, complete protein and fiber. Buckwheat is also gluten-free! This wheat alternative is a perfect addition to the diet of anyone who suffers from gluten intolerance.
1. Health Benefits of Buckwheat
1. Buckwheat is gluten-free!
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein substance in cereal grains that helps foods maintain their shape and elasticity. This can be bad for people who have an allergy to gluten or suffer from Celiac’s disease. Many people also choose to avoid gluten for dietary reasons.
What does it mean to be gluten-free?
The term gluten-free refers to a diet that does not contain gluten.
What is Celiac’s disease?
Celiac’s disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes individuals to react poorly to the digestion of gluten. People with Celiac disease suffer from eating foods that contain gluten in the form of gastrointestinal discomfort as well as gradual damage to the small intestine - there are a plethora of other symptoms, though some people don’t have any significant reactions. Celiac disease is a hereditary disorder, and it is estimated that 1 out of every 100 people in the world suffer from the disease.
In people with Celiac’s disease, gluten attacks the small intestine and damages the villi that are found lining the organ. These villi are crucial for nutrient absorption. Over time, this can cause a bigger issue than just discomfort… it means you aren’t getting the proper nutrients from your food!
How is buckwheat gluten-free?
Buckwheat is actually not a grain - it is a seed! This phenomenal seed is actually considered a pseudo-cereal because it has nutritional properties like a true grain, but it does not contain gluten. The taste and texture of buckwheat are very similar to the barley grain.
While buckwheat might not contain gluten like wheat, that doesn’t stop it from being a great imitator! Buckwheat can be used in baking, as a healthy carbohydrate instead of rice, or as a morning porridge. Even if you are gluten intolerant, you don’t have to avoid eating baked goods and cereals! Check out some of these buckwheat recipes for gluten free alternatives!
EAT SMARTER TAKE AWAY: Just because you can’t have wheat doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy baked goods and pastas! Buckwheat is gluten-free and a healthy wheat alternative!
2. Disadvantages of Buckwheat
1. Buckwheat can cause allergic reactions!
What are allergies?
Allergies are a condition where the bodies immune system reacts to a foreign substance.
What is the allergen responsible for buckwheat allergies?
The allergen typically responsible for allergic reactions to buckwheat is typically the proteins, 2S albumins, in the seed.
Buckwheat is related to rhubarb, which may also cause allergic reactions in those that react to buckwheat.
As buckwheat becomes a more popular wheat substitute, people who have buckwheat allergies need to be careful when trying wheat free products. Also, people need to be aware that buckwheat is used in pillows and bedding which can cause allergic reactions for people that aren’t even allergic to eating buckwheat!
This allergy is unusual, and can be commonly missed in allergy testing panels.
EAT SMARTER TAKE AWAY: Buckwheat, like any other food, can contain allergens that can cause discomfort and illness. If you have an allergic reaction to buckwheat seek medical attention immediately.
3. Top 100 Buckwheat Recipes
4. Buckwheat Recipes in Video
Buckwheat is a very nutrient dense addition to your diet. This plant protein is great for vegans and vegetarians, as well as the health conscious omnivore. Try a buckwheat stew, or use buckwheat flour to make a delicious gluten-free baked good. Buckwheat is gluten-free, packed with protein, and extremely high in minerals in all of its forms. Try some of these buckwheat recipes for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
5. About Buckwheat
What is buckwheat? Despite buckwheats namesake, buckwheat is not actually a wheat or a grass. This fruit seed is closely related to sorrel, rhubarb, and knotweed. This seed is ideal for people who have wheat sensitivities and gluten allergies. This pseudocereal is triangular in shape and is known for its similar appearance to beech tree nuts. Buckwheat is an ancient grain that is popular all over the world.
What kinds of buckwheat can you buy?
While buckwheat is less common in its whole form, it is gradually gaining popularity! Buckwheat in all of its forms makes a perfect substitute for wheat and grains for people who have celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
How do I choose the best “quality” buckwheat?
- When purchasing buckwheat groats try to make sure that they do not look like they are molding, or have any other growth on them. You can buy buckwheat groats in bulk.
- If buckwheat berries are labeled as “kasha” they are no longer raw, they have been roasted.
What is “organic” buckwheat?
Organic buckwheat includes any buckwheat grown not using synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, ionizing radiation, and are not genetically modified. In the United States a way to determine if buckwheat is organic is if it has a green USDA organic sticker or labeling.
6. Buckwheat VS Barley
Buckwheat and barley are similar in appearance, taste and texture. They are extremely similar in nutrition content with almost the same caloric value and. Buckwheat is slightly higher in fat and protein, while barley is slightly higher in carbohydrates and dietary fiber. The big difference comes down to gluten and amino acids. We vote that buckwheat beats barley nutritionally because it is gluten free and has a complete amino acid profile. While gluten may not deter everyone, the impressive amino acid content of buckwheat is good for everyone - especially vegans and vegetarians.
7. History of Buckwheat
An ancient gluten-free grain
Despite its namesake, buckwheat isn’t related to wheat at all! It is in fact, a pseudocereal, meaning it is gluten-free!
Origins of Buckwheat
For over 8,000 years buckwheat has been cultivated for its delicious taste and high quality nutrition. It is thought that buckwheat originated in Asia or Europe, but in modern time this grain can be found all over the world. The reason why buckwheat is such a popular crop is due to its short growing season, meaning that it is produced relatively quickly for a grain, and the fact that it also will grow in relatively harsh environments which is unsuitable to many other cereals.
8. Q&A of Buckwheat
How do you pronounce buckwheat?
Why is buckwheat sometimes called kasha?
Toasted buckwheat is commonly referred to as kasha. The name comes from a traditional European dish.
What is buckwheat related to?
Buckwheat is not actually a wheat at all! Buckwheat is a fruit seed. This seed is closely related to rhubarb and sorrel.
Is buckwheat gluten-free?
Yes! Buckwheat is a great wheat substitute because it is actually a seed. It does not contain any gluten. Try buckwheat flour as a replacement in your baked goods!
9. Nutritional Information
This is your nutritional information for 1 cup (170 grams) of buckwheat!
|Calories from Fat 48
|Total Fat 5.8g
|Saturated Fat 1.3g
|Polyunsaturated Fat 1.8g
|Monounsaturated Fat 1.8g
|Total Carbohydrates 122g
|Dietary Fiber 17g
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