Most of us read the word “buckwheat” and we immediately think that it is just another type of grain or cereal grain or, that it is just a variant of wheat. While some may believe that buckwheat is a grain, it is actually a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb and sorrel.
Buckwheat: Ideal For Gluten Free Diets And A Fine Protein For Gluten-Free Vegetarians
Surprisingly, it is not related to wheat at all. It is a fruit and its seeds are grain-like. It is not related to wheat at all at it is not a cereal grain at all in the most important aspect: its seeds, when milled into flour do not contain any gluten whatsoever.
Buckwheat flowers attract bees and it has been grown in America for hundreds of years. Back in colonial days it was a common replacement for nutrient poor processed white flour that was made from wheat.
What can buckwheat be used for?
We probably all know about buckwheat pancakes.Traditionally, this is what buckwheat has been used for. However, with increasing incidence of diagnosis of celiac disease and allergy to gluten in the population, and research evidence linking heightened autism symptoms when gluten is regularly consumed, alternatives to wheat and wheat flour are highly sought after.
Buckwheat can be used as wheat flour substitutes in making cookies, porridge and crackers.
In the home, buckwheat can be used as substitute for wheat flour as thickeners in gravy, flour for making bread, extenders and breading in dishes, such as meatloaf, fried chicken and pork chops and of course to make the ever so popular buckwheat pancakes.
What nutritional benefits are gained from buckwheat?
Buckwheat is rich in fiber. The fiber aid in digestion of food and in the absorption of minerals and vitamins from other food we eat. This also corrects diarrhea, but prevents constipation. In this regard, it helps keep the colon clean and healthy.
Buckwheat is high in protein. Its full spectrum of essential amino acids makes it the perfect vegetarian source of complete protein for vegetarians with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. In fact, the protein level in buckwheat equals that found in fish and meat.
Buckwheat is also rich in antioxidants. As it is a fruit, it contains flavonoids that help fight coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. It also promotes the growth of good bacteria in the intestines, which work to crowd out and overwhelm bad bacteria that we may ingest with our food.
Buckwheat is low on the glycemic index. This means it is a great food for those with diabetes, as it will not cause blood sugar spikes. The carbohydrates, which we get from buckwheat, are complex carbohydrates, which the body burns slowly unlike food made from refined sugars and refined wheat flour.
This means that in order to burn the carbohydrates derived from buckwheat, the body has to expend energy. Therefore, it is an efficient type of fuel for our bodies.
Buckwheat also helps fight hormone-dependent cancers such as breast cancer. Buckwheat has been shown in laboratory experiments to block the work of hormones thereby protecting the body from the growth of cancer cells in the breast.
Overall, indulging in a stack of buckwheat pancakes or waffles will offer the body high doses of mineral, vitamins, and prebiotics for good health, and NO gluten!
What form does buckwheat take in the market?
Buckwheat can be sold as groats. It is called “groats” because it resembles “oats.” Unlike oats, however, buckwheat is rich in protein, but it does not contain gluten.
Groats can be used as breakfast porridge just like oats. It can be added to a mixture of nuts and dried fruit and made into granola or trail mix.
Buckwheat groats can also be ground into flour. Buckwheat flour has richer flavour than wheat flour. But it is just as useful as wheat flour. Buckwheat groats can also be roasted and eaten much like nuts. It can be added to food as thickeners for stews and soups.
Are you thinking of making homemade snacks to ensure that these are gluten-free?
Next time you visit the grocery store or market, try buckwheat for nutritious gluten free eating.
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