Gardening

Buckwheat or Buckwheat: nutritional value and benefits of eating this gluten-free pseudocereal

What is buckwheat or buckwheat ( Fagopyrum esculentum )? The buckwheat , also known as buckwheat or black wheat a pseudocereal (such as quinoa and amaranth ) with multiple health benefits and ideal for people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.

Originally from Central Asia and the plains of Siberia, buckwheat spread to Europe and then to America thanks to its simple cultivation, short cycle and great ability to thrive by adapting to acidic and low-fertility soils.

Although it has characteristics similar to cereals, it does not belong to the grass family but to the polygonaceae, that is, buckwheat is not a cereal that is why it is known as a pseudocereal. The grain of the Fagopyrum esculentum has a curious triangle or pyramid shape and is dark brown or cream in color.

As curiosities, mention that the cultivation of buckwheat favors the beekeeping activity and the production of honey, which also has a darker color. Its flowers are used both in pharmaceuticals and in popular medicine, isolating rutin -an alkaloid- to treat the fragility and permeability of blood capillaries.

Also within popular medicine, crushed ripe seeds, applied in the form of a poultice, have been used to cure eczema , and buckwheat shells are used in Japan to fill pillows that help relieve tension in the shoulders and neck .

Buckwheat can be found whole grain or as flour. The grain is cooked like rice: 1 measure of buckwheat for 2 of water. Once boiling is reached, boil it for approximately 15 minutes.

The buckwheat flour , to the lack gluten, is used both to replace the wheat flour for bread products such as breads, pancakes and cakes, but also used in preparations for breakfast or energy bars.

The young shoots and green leaves of Fagopyrum esculentum are also consumed medicinally to stimulate circulation, both cooked and in the preparation of infusions.

Nutritional value of buckwheat

It is a nutritious, energetic and useful food for a wide range of preparations for human consumption.

Carbohydrates (70 g per 100 g): mannose, galactose, xylose and glucuronic acid.

Proteins (10 g per 100 g): it stands out for its high biological value and great availability, being able to be assimilated by 70%. It has a high content of lysine, an amino acid lacking in most cereals, and it lacks gluten-forming prolamins, making it a good alternative for celiacs and those allergic to common wheat.

Lipids : with Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids among which omega-6 stands out, important for growth and normal development of the brain and visual acuity.

It also highlights its fiber content (4 g / 100 g), beneficial to improve intestinal transit, in addition to having flavonoids and flavones, phenolic acids, condensed tannins and phytosterols, which are of great importance in antioxidant activity.

Vitamins : vitamin E stands out, an antioxidant that protects the body’s cells against free radicals and helps maintain the immune system; as well as vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6, which help to obtain energy through food and participate in different processes and functions carried out in our body.

Minerals : with potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, fluorine and iron.

buckwheat properties

Benefits of consuming buckwheat

Numerous analyzes have shown that buckwheat or buckwheat flour has exceptionally beneficial effects in maintaining human health and preventing disease.

Among the main benefits are:

  • Mitigate the effect of cardiovascular diseases , as well as vascular permeability and fragility, thanks to the contribution of minerals.

 

  • Fight against hypertension and cholesterol , due to the contribution of the flavonoid routine, an antioxidant with multiple health benefits, also preventing the formation of clots and preventing high blood pressure.

 

  • Natural antioxidant, thanks to the action of vitamins and flavonoids.

 

  • The effectiveness of the flavonoid rutin in buckwheat is strengthened by vitamin C. Regular consumption of 30 g of buckwheat has been shown to lower blood pressure regardless of other factors such as age and weight, and help prevent associated diseases .

 

  • Prevention of obesity and diabetes, because carbohydrates (20% of cooked grain), fat and fiber can have a regulating effect on blood sugar levels after eating.

 

  • Clinical research showed that buckwheat could reduce fat and sugar content, as well as cholesterol in the blood.

 

  • Anticancer activity, particularly associated with the fiber content that reaches the colon without being digested and, when fermented, generate short-chain fatty acids that nourish the wall of the intestine, reducing the risk of colon cancer.

 

  • On the other hand, the contribution of vitamins of the B complex of buckwheat has abundant benefits in the treatment of anxiety, stress and depression , stimulating the central nervous system, improving concentration and memory .

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Buckwheat contraindications

People allergic to latex and rice or other cereals may experience cross-reactivity when taking buckwheat.

In the same way, and depending on the degree of celiac disease, the origin should be controlled very well and check on the label that there is no cross contamination and the buckwheat does not have traces of gluten.

Sources

  • “Buckwheat: A different option” (File 44), Nutrition and Food Education, Ministry of Agroindustry of Argentina, 2015
  • “Buckwheat”, Josep Vicent Arnau. Naturopath and Acupuncturist.
  • “Fagopyrum esculentum. Moench, cultivation and properties. INIA RTA2009-00099 project experience ”, Dra. Eva Ma. García Méndez. Agricultural Research and Training Center, Government of Cantabria. 2017.
  • FAO, Common buckwheat ( Fagopyrum esculentum )
  • “Advances in Buckwheat Research”, proceeding of the 9th International Symposium on Buckwheat, Prague 2004.

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