Amazing Benefits of Buckwheat and How to Cook It
Buckwheat is very beneficial for our health; this gluten-free, nutrient-rich ingredient boosts your heart health, reduces blood pressure, prevents cancers, manages diabetes, improves digestion, balances cholesterol levels and makes immune system stronger. It’s rich in minerals, proteins and antioxidants that help improve hair and skin health. If you need more reasons to try this amazing grass (yes, its grass!), below you can find its main health benefits and recipe ideas.
What Is Buckwheat?
Despite the name, buckwheat is a grass that’s related to rhubarb, and people actually eat a fruit seed that comes from a plant that is known as the beech wheat plant. We call it buckwheat because it’s cooked in the same way as wheat. It’s gluten-free which is why it has gained popularity in the recent years, as people with gluten allergies and celiac disease can safely eat it and enjoy its health benefits.
Buckwheat was originally cultivated in the Balkan region and then slowly spread to South Asia. It’s still very popular in Asian countries and now it’s slowly spreading throughout other regions around the world.
Buckwheat can be roasted on a pan to get a subtle flavor that becomes nutty and earthy. It’s a popular dish in Eastern Europe that everyone can make in 5 minutes.
Good for your cardiovascular system
Diets rich in buckwheat have been proved to lower the risk of developing high blood pressure and cholesterol. For example, a Chinese diet requires consuming 3.5 ounces of buckwheat every day. As the result, people on this diet have lower serum cholesterol, lower lipoprotein cholesterol (this one is linked to cardiovascular disease) and a higher ratio of health-promoting cholesterol to total amount of cholesterol.
Buckwheat supply flavonoids to our bodies and the most interesting of them are rutin. Rutin is phytonutrient that protects against diseases by increasing the action of antioxidants and vitamins. Buckwheat has the power to lover the lipid activity. Rutin and other flavonoids help maintain low blood pressure, improve blood flow and keep blood platelets from clotting. When blood compounds can’t clump together, the risk of heart disease is much lower.
Buckwheat is also rich in magnesium. This mineral improves blood flow, relaxes blood vessels and increases nutrient delivery while controlling blood pressure. Everyone with health issues with cardiovascular system should consider adding buckwheat to their diet. This buckwheat risotto is a great recipe for starters who want something quick and delicious.
Control your weight easier
There is no one product that can help you lose weight, but buckwheat has many nutrients that increase fat burn rates and promote weight loss. Of course, you need other foods to successfully lose or maintain weight.
For example, high fiber content found in buckwheat helps suppress appetite and keep you feel full longer. It also helps your body excrete unhealthy fast faster, which promotes weight loss and cleanses your body.
There is even a 2 week Buckwheat diet that claims you can lose a lot of weight in just 2 weeks. I personally don’t like these diets because they’re far-fetched; it is true that buckwheat can help you lose weight. Combined with other healthy habits, it can become your next favorite food.
Along with protein, buckwheat contains fiber and the nutrients in these seeds are more nutritionally complete compared to many other grains. Cooking buckwheat is incredibly easy; just follow the instructions to make this delicious buckwheat porridge.
Boosts immune system
Buckwheat has lots of compounds that have a positive impact on our immune system with the main ones being phenolic acid, tocopherols, flavonoids and selenium. As you may know, free radicals are harmful for our bodies and you should get rid of them in order to protect yourself from different diseases. These compounds are powerful antioxidants that eliminate free radicals.
All the compounds are found in high levels, far higher than other seeds or grains. They have the power to boost the activity of other vitamins and create a protective system that eliminates free radicals, such as removing harmful cholesterol and binding with receptors so the radicals can’t form.
How to cook buckwheat
Like other grains, buckwheat should be rinsed before cooking to remove debris and dirt invisible to the eye. After that, add buckwheat to boiling water. Usually it takes around 30 minutes to cook buckwheat.
How to enjoy
Before deciding how you want your buckwheat to be, you should know where to find it. If there is no buckwheat in your local grocery store, head to health food stores or natural grocery stores.
You can even eat buckwheat raw and add it to your granola or trail mix. It’s really tasty with yogurt or in cereal. Buckwheat flour can be used as a substitute for any recipe such as pancakes, muffins, cakes and bread.
Easy serving ideas
- Combine buckwheat flour with whole wheat flour for muffins, pancakes and breads.
- Take a pot, bring water to boil and cook buckwheat as a breakfast cereal. It’s heartier than your normal oatmeal and tastes delicious.
- Add cooked buckwheat to stews and soups to give them a creamy texture and a deeper flavor.
- Cook and cool buckwheat and then add chicken, pumpkin seeds, garden peas and scallions for a delicious lunch.