The health benefits of buckwheat

A nutritionist explains the benefits of this tiny seed, sometimes called a 'pseudograin', which provides fibre, magnesium, manganese and phytonutrients.

Buckwheat in a bowl

What is buckwheat?

Despite having ‘wheat’ in its name, buckwheat is actually a seed (sometimes referred to as a 'pseudograin') like quinoa and amaranth.

Buckwheat is processed into groats, which are small, nugget-type granules that can be used in the same way as rice. You can also find buckwheat as flour, noodles or even as flakes, making it a versatile substitute for wheat flour.

Mushroom buckwheat risotto

Nutritional profile of buckwheat

100g of buckwheat contains 145 calories, and being a seed it is naturally high in protein with around 5g per 100g. Buckwheat is low in fat with just 1.5g per 100g which is pretty much all unsaturated fat, and has about 27g carbohydrates but negligible sugar content making it a good low-GI alternative.

Buckwheat is high in magnesium with 100g providing 75mg – over 20% of the recommended daily intake. Magnesium is a mineral that helps support bone health and may also support energy levels.

Buckwheat is also a good source of fibre, with 1.5g per 100g, which supports a healthy digestive system. This fibre, together with the high protein content of buckwheat, can help improve blood sugar control, and weight loss as it helps to keep you fuller for longer.  

Buckwheat also contains some micronutrients that support good health, including B vitamins, iron and zinc, but also a phytonutrient called rutin which research has shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes

It is also a good source of manganese which helps make and activate some of the enzymes in the body, including those we need to break down food, as well as copper which helps with the production of red and white blood cells.

Teriyaki prawns with soba noodles

What is a healthy serving size of buckwheat?

A healthy serving of buckwheat, as part of a balanced meal, would be about ½ cup or 84g.

Is buckwheat gluten free?

Yes, buckwheat is gluten free.

Make sure you check labels when looking for buckwheat products though, as some foods, such as soba noodles, are often mixed with wheat and therefore not gluten free.

Buckwheat recipes

Cinnamon buckwheat pancakes
Mushroom buckwheat risotto
Date & buckwheat granola with pecans & seeds
Sea trout & buckwheat salad with watercress & asparagus
Chicken soba noodles

Now read...

The health benefits of quinoa
The health benefits of chia seeds
The health benefits of coconut flour


This article was published on 1 February 2019.

Nicola Shubrook is a nutritional therapist and works with both private clients and the corporate sector. She is an accredited member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Find out more at urbanwellness.co.uk.

All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

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