Buckwheat health benefits and recipes
Buckwheat can be safely eaten by people who have celiac disease as it does not contain gluten. Buckwheat can be a good substitute for wheat, oats, rye and barley in a gluten-free diet.
Diets that contain buckwheat have been linked to lowered risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Buckwheat’s beneficial effects are due in part to its rich supply of flavonoids, particularly rutin. Flavonoids are phytonutrients that protect against disease by extending the action of vitamin C and acting as antioxidants.
All these actions help to protect against heart disease. In many studies, eating whole grains, such as buckwheat, has been linked to protection against atherosclerosis, ischemic stroke, diabetes, insulin resistance, obesity, and premature death. Whole grains are also important dietary sources of water-soluble, fat-soluble, and insoluble antioxidants. The long list of cereal antioxidants includes vitamin E, tocotrieonols, selenium, phenolic acids, and phytic acid.
A Lowered Risk of Diabetes
The buckwheat is a good source of magnesium, it is also important to note that people who ate the most foods high in magnesium had a 24 percent lower risk of diabetes compared to people who ate the least. Whole buckwheats also scored highest on their ability to satisfy hunger.
Buckwheat and other whole grains are also rich sources of magnesium, a mineral that acts as a co-factor for more than 300 enzymes, including enzymes involved in the body’s use of glucose and insulin secretion.
The FDA permits foods that contain at least 51% whole grains by weight (and are also low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol) to display a health claim stating consumption is linked to lower risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Now, research suggests regular consumption of whole grains also reduces risk of type 2 diabetes. (van Dam RM, Hu FB, Diabetes Care).
Lower insulin levels may also contribute to the protective effects of whole grains. In many persons, the risks of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity are linked to insulin resistance. Higher intakes of whole grains are associated with increased sensitivity to insulin in population studies and clinical trials. Why? Because whole grains improve insulin sensitivity by lowering the glycemic index of the diet while increasing its content of fiber, magnesium, and vitamin E.
Dr. Liu says his recent findings on the antioxidant content of whole grains reinforce the message that a variety of foods should be eaten good health. “Different plant foods have different phytochemicals,” he said. “These substances go to different organs, tissues and cells, where they perform different functions. What your body needs to ward off disease is this synergistic effect—this teamwork—that is produced by eating a wide variety of plant foods, including whole grains.
Benefits for Postmenopausal Women
A 3-year prospective study shows that those eating at least 6 servings of whole grains each week experienced both:
- Slowed progression of atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaque that narrows the vessels through which blood flows, and
- Less progression in stenosis, the narrowing of the diameter of arterial passageways.
Pre-menopausal women eating the most whole grain fiber (at least 13 g/day) had a 41% reduced risk of breast cancer.
A Few Quick Serving Ideas
- Combine buckwheat flour with whole wheat flour to make delicious breads, muffins and pancakes.
- Cook up a pot of buckwheat for a change of pace from hot oatmeal as a delicious hearty breakfast cereal.
- Add cooked buckwheat to soups or stews to give them a hardier flavor and deeper texture.
- Add chopped chicken, garden peas, pumpkin seeds and scallions to cooked and cooled buckwheat for a delightful lunch
We bring you the very best Buckwheat recipes:
Buckwheat Kasha with Caramelized Mushrooms
2 cups dried buckwheat groats
4 cups water (or broth)
1 tsp + 1 Tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
16 ounces mushrooms, diced
1 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Rinse buckwheat groats 2 or 3 times in water; drain well. In a large pot, melt 1 tsp of butter. Add groats and toast until fragrant.
Meanwhile, bring 4 cups of water to boil in an electric kettle. Alternatively, bring 4 cups of broth to a boil in a pot.
Add boiling water/broth to the toasted buckwheat groats. Careful, as the hot water hitting the hot groats will cause it to sputter wildly. It’s important to add boiling water. If started in cold water, the buckwheat will be mushy.
Add a generous pinch of salt. Turn the heat to low, place a lid on the pot, and cook for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove from heat. Fluff buckwheat. Cover with lid and allow to steam for an additional 5 minutes off the heat.
Heat 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Add onions and mushrooms. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and mushrooms are browned and caramelized. Take the time to well caramelize the onions and mushrooms. Add the garlic and continue cooking until the garlic is fragrant. Be careful not to burn it.
Add buckwheat. Heat through. Finish with 1 Tbsp of butter. Season with salt, to taste. Add fresh parsley and toss. Serve hot with sour cream. Great as a side or main dish. Leftovers freeze well.
Buckwheat and chicken breast
500 gram of chicken breast
2 cups dried buckwheat groats
1 onion, diced
3-4 tablespoons sour cream
1/5 cups water (or broth)
100-150 g of cheese
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil for frying 2-3 tbsp
Chicken cut into small pieces, chop onion. Fry chicken with onions in vegetable oil. The washed buckwheat put in a greased form. On the buckwheat lay out fried chicken with onion and lubricate the sour cream. Pour 1/5 cups of hot water. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 30-40 minutes.