Many folks think buckwheat is a grain but it is actually a seed of a broadleaf plant domesticated in southeast Asia over 8000 years ago. Today Russia is the leader in buckwheat production.
A cup of buckwheat flour contains 12 grams of fiber. Fiber helps to keep the digestive system healthy and can reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, according to The Harvard School of Public Health. Buckwheat also contains the antioxidant rutin, which can improve circulation and help to prevent blood vessels from becoming blocked.
More Protein than Most
Buckwheat has more protein than rice, wheat, millet or corn and is high in the essential amino acids lysine and arginine, in which major cereal crops are deficient. Its unique amino acid profile gives buckwheat the power to boost the protein value of beans and cereal grains eaten the same day. Yet, buckwheat contains no gluten—the source of protein in true grains—and is therefore safe for people with gluten allergy or celiac disease.
The specific characteristics of buckwheat proteins, and the relative proportions of its amino acids, make buckwheat the unsurpassed cholesterol-lowering food studied to date. Its protein characteristics also enhance buckwheat’s ability to reduce and stabilize blood sugar levels following meals—a key factor in preventing diabetes and obesity. Like the widely prescribed “ACE” hypertension drugs, buckwheat proteins reduce the activity of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), thereby reducing hypertension.
Has rutin, a phytochemical that strengthens capillary walls. Also D-chiro-inositol, a component of the secondary messenger pathway for insulin signal transduction found to be deficient in Type II diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome.
A buckwheat protein has been found to bind cholesterol tightly. It is being studied for reducing plasma cholesterol in people with hyperlipidemia. H. Tomotake, I. Shimaoka, J. Kayashita, F. Yokoyama, M. Nakajoh and N. Kato. (2001). “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 (6): 1412ñ4. doi:10.1271/bbb.65.1
Buckwheat is not related to wheat but has been used as a wheat substitute for gluten-free beer.