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