Brilliant Buckwheat

Despite its somewhat misleading name–and its many associations with a “Li’L Rascals” character–buckwheat is a bit of a dark horse in the field of nutrition.  Russians have understood the health benefits of this food for centuries, and in due time, it will probably be as ubiquitous and celebrated as our good old quinoa.

Interestingly, buckwheat is not actually a cereal grain, but a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb and sorrel–hence, the confusion that might be caused thanks to the “wheat” part of its name despite there being absolutely no relationship to wheat whatsoever.  The triangular seeds, known as groats, make an excellent grain-like option for people who are sensitive (or allergic) to gluten, and can be easily made into a nourishing, energizing breakfast dish by just adding some hot water and eating it like a porridge.

Anderssen’s Flaxrolls uses this nutritious food source in every single one of our flaxroll wraps, meaning that you get whole-grain, high-fibre nutrition no matter which variety of wrap you choose.  Alongside flaxseed, brown rice, and chickpea flour, buckwheat is an essential component of our nourishing gluten-free wraps.  Combined with the countless health benefits of our fillings, you will always have the perfect nutrition combination.

The Buckwheat Basics

It’s surprising how little people know about this amazing food.  Buckwheat is extremely nutritious, containing complete proteins, vitamins, and minerals such as manganese and magnesium, the latter being essential for blood vessel relaxation, central nervous system regulation, and improved blood flow.  It also contains considerable quantities of zinc, one of the most important minerals for maintaining a healthy immune system and overall detoxification.

Buckwheat is low in sodium, rich in potassium, and, as mentioned above, because it is a flowering seed, contains absolutely no gluten.  The proteins in buckwheat are high in quality and volume, comparable in biological value to animal and dairy proteins–it has a higher protein value than rice, millet, wheat, and corn, and contains a considerable amount of the amino acids lysine and arginine, in which many cereal grains are deficient.

Buckwheat has been cultivated for centuries in Eastern Asia; the Japanese still enjoy their soba noodles, made from 100% buckwheat, which are steadily becoming a tasty, gluten-free alternative to wheat pasta in the Western world.

The health benefits of buckwheat are numerous.  While still somehow an underdog in the health-food field, you can be sure that it will soon emerge as a key figure in the world of nutritional healing, particularly for those seeking gluten-free alternatives to traditional wheat-flour and cereal products.  It is easily made into flour and used in gluten-free products such as noodles, cookies, and crackers–and did we mention Flaxroll wraps?

 

Improved Blood Sugar and Diabetes

Buckwheat is currently being tested as a natural means of lessening the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes, as the nutrients that are present in buckwheat may very well contribute to low blood sugar.  In various studies that measured the effects of consuming buckwheat versus wheat flour, test subjects had lowered blood sugar and insulin responses.  In fact, buckwheat far outpaces rice, corn, and wheat in almost every measure of nutrition and healthfulness, one reason for which is due to its very low glycemic index (the others are high on the glycemic index scale…meaning high blood sugar).

 

Gallstone Prevention

Anyone who has suffered from gallstones can verify that the discomfort and pain that frequently accompanies mealtimes is nothing to be underestimated.  Then, of course, there is the surgery to remove the gallbladder entirely, which can be excruciating, thanks to the internal organs being inflated with CO2.  According to a study published by the American Journal of Gastroenterology (a fun-sounding tome!), eating foods rich in insoluble fibre–such as buckwheat–can help prevent the formation of gallstones, particularly in women.

 

Cardiovascular Health

Paavo Airola, the famed nutritionist and author of several books about natural healing, met with a Russian scientist to discuss Russia’s relatively low incidence of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks (vodka consumption notwithstanding).  The scientist replied thusly:

“We attribute this to our regular eating of such foods as garlic and buckwheat.  Buckwheat supplies rutin, a bioflavonoid, which we have found to have a blood-pressure-reducing property, and a beneficial effect on the circulatory system.”  Rutin appears to have exceptional rejuvenating effects on the body, as circulation problems and cardiovascular disorders are at the root of many processes of physical deterioration.

The bottom line?  Including buckwheat into your diet can only benefit you in the long run.

Author: N.Bondoreff

 

*Note: This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for self-diagnosis, nor for self-treatment of conditions that should be interpreted and managed by a qualified health care provider.

Sources:

naturalfoodbenefits.com

livestrong.com

whfoods.com

healthyeating.sfgate.com

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