To be honest with you, when I heard about buckwheat for the first time, I was wondering what this is about now! It was a completely unknown word to me!
It is not that popular around Greece yet, but all the healthy or gluten free diet fans, vegetarians and vegans out there surely know it well.
Buckwheat, also known as black wheat is a small triangular brown seed of a short volunteer bush up to 80cm. It is significantly resistant to cold climates, poor grounds and blossoms from July till September. It grows easily and quickly without pesticides and chemical compounds. It belongs to the pseudo-cereals family too, actually it is one of the more ancient treasure – seeds!
It is particularly widespread in China, Japan, Korea and other Asian countries, whereas it was a major ingredient of nutrition in Britain, Normandy, Northern and Eastern Europe till the end of 19th century. It is said that Tibetan monks were the first who used it making handmade noodles with buckwheat flour.
It is gluten free while it is an outstanding source of protein (14 grams protein in 100 grams buckwheat). It has high content in vitamins B specially B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B9 (folic acid), fat-soluble vitamins E and K, whereas it is full of metals and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, manganese, selenium, and copper. It has good content of fibre and composite carbohydrates (10 grams fibre in 100 grams buckwheat) and flavonoids, compounds with intense antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Moreover it has few calories (343 cals in 100 grams buckwheat while only 92 cals in 100 grams boiled into water buckwheat) and very low fats.
The consumption of buckwheat :
- enhances cardiovascular health, helping to adjust cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
- contributes to the regulation of blood sugar, as it has a low glycemic index
- helps considerably with the smooth function of the intestine and with constipation.
- satisfies hunger quickly
- aids with the detox of the organism.
- boosts the nervous and the muscular system, as well as the metabolism function.
- improves the health of hair, skin and nails.
- helps with weight loss.
In the market it is found in organic stores or selected supermarkets as raw seeds, flakes, crackers and noodles and flour. Buckwheat flour is perfect to make pancakes, biscuits, waffles, gluten free highly nutritious crepes, while, in case it is mixed with other types of flour, it can be used in making bread or cakes. Buckwheat flour should be kept in the fridge.
It is advised to rinse the buckwheat seeds under running tap water, like quinoa, before cooking, in order to remove soil or remains. They are eaten raw, boiled with ratio: one portion buckwheat and two portions water like rice (till all the water is absorbed), or grilled. When boiled it can be added into salads, legumes, soups, yogurt or garnish casserole meat or fish. Moreover it can replace rice in stuffed vegetables or risotto.
Buckwheat with oat into water or plant milk makes a very filling porridge, simmering for almost 25 minutes and tossing constantly. Add your favourite berries, pumpkin seeds and 1-2 medjoul dates as a sweetener and you have a super breakfast bowl.
Believe this: every time I add buckwheat seeds in my morning porridge, my system forgets to feel hungry. It keeps me full for 5 hours. So when I have to lose 2-3 kilos, buckwheat shows up!!
If after all these, you have not adored it yet, I suggest you at least try it!