Going Gluten-Free: The Health Benefits of Buckwheat

I didn’t know what buckwheat was until last week when I received some of Pura Vida’s Raw Sprouted Onion Bread.

raw-bread-gluten-free-onion1-300x300

Made with 15% sprouted buckwheat I was intrigued as to why these little slices of deliciousness were going down in my belly so well, and if it was solely because of the impressive medley of ingredients.

In each slice you have onion, buckwheat, ground flaxseeds and a little oil and water. Now, I’ve read about the anti-inflammatory benefits of onions – I try to eat them with every meal (my salads reek of them) and they do provide great things for my digestive wellbeing. So when I came across buckwheat I just had to find out more, and had to see how I could incorporate it into my meals!

The health benefits of buckwheat

An impressive nutritional profile

Buckwheat has an impressive catalogue of nutritional properties:

  • Non-GMO (It requires hardly any chemicals to grow well because it naturally grows so quickly).
  • High quality proteins (it contains all 9 amino acids)
  • Good energy booster (rich in iron and antioxidants)
  • Naturally contains vitamins and minerals (including zinc, copper and niacin)

Great for digestion

Because of it being an insoluble fibrous food, buckwheat is essential for cleaning and strengthening intestines. Insoluble fibre also reduces the secretion of bile acids and lowers triglycerides (blood fats). This is particularly good for those suffering with IBS-D, or anybody who has stomach trouble immediately after consuming foods.

Full of healthy fats

Anybody looking to remain satiated will know that eating plenty of healthy fats is the way forward. Rather than stocking up on high-calorie, low-energy foods such as bread and processed foods, foods high in healthy fats keep you fuller for longer and see that your nutrition quota is also met. Healthy fats are especially great for IBS sufferers as we need to eat small meals, regularly – the healthy fats mean sugar and fat cravings don’t come about to instigate any flare-ups.

Impressive fibre levels

Although it depends which type of digestive ailment you suffer from, most people will be thankful for a little added fibre to their diet. High fibre foods bulk up the digested food particles, meaning they are easier to pass and less of a trial for your digestive tract. Buckwheat is incredible high in fibre, just take a look at the table below from WHFoods.

Food Fiber Content in Grams
Oatmeal, 1 cup 3.98
Whole wheat bread, 1 slice 2
Whole wheat spaghetti, 1 cup 6.3
Brown rice, 1 cup 3.5
Barley, 1 cup 13.6
Buckwheat, 1 cup 4.54
Rye, 1/3 cup 8.22
Corn, 1 cup 4.6
Apple, 1 medium with skin 5.0
Banana, 1 medium 4.0
Blueberries, 1 cup 3.92
Orange, 1 large 4.42
Pear, 1 large 5.02
Prunes, 1/4 cup 3.02
Strawberries, 1 cup 3.82
Raspberries, 1 cup 8.36

Controls blood sugar levels

I previously wrote a blog post about the glycemic index, what it is, and why it’s so important for those with digestive ailments (see the link here). The great thing about buckwheat is that it has a low GI of 54, which means it lowers blood sugars and digests the glucose more slowly than similar products like rice or wheat.

Studies have further found that whole buckwheat groats contributed to significantly lowered blood glucose and insulin responses than when the participants ate refined wheat flour products. Whole buckwheats also scored highest on their ability to satisfy hunger.

What can you do with buckwheat?

You can buy raw buckwheat from just about any supermarket or food store in the wholefoods section. I recommend playing with it and seeing what interesting, healthy recipes you can make with it. Here are some of the top ways buckwheat is used:

Pancakes

  • Use buckwheat flour like you would ordinary flour for things like pancakes or even noodles

 Porridge

  • Use just like grains, this is especially great for celiacs looking for a gluten-free breakfast alternative to wheat, too

Make buckwheat a vital part of your eating lifestyle if you want to give your body the easiest digestive ride possible.

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