I rediscovered buckwheat when I was researching gluten-free recipes in France and, for the first time, I was exposed to natural gluten-free recipes— not those that had to be tweaked to be gluten-free. This was the beginning of a passion for this versatile and extremely healthy seed.
Buckwheat is a seed (not a grain) that resembles the wheat plant, hence its name “buckwheat.” However, it contains no gluten (whereas wheat does). It has been grown for thousands of years in Asia and Europe. It is now cultivated in the US, which has become the fourth largest buckwheat producer in the world.
A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1995 found that higher buckwheat intake was associated with lower total cholesterol levels, lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, and a higher ratio of HDL (“good”) to total cholesterol. Other studies have shown lower incidence of diabetes among buckwheat consumers.
Buckwheat is richer in protein than rice, millet, corn or barley and contains the 12 major amino acids. It’s also a major source of rutin, a potent antioxidant that supports our cardiovascular functions.
And thanks to its high fiber content, the seed is a natural appetite-curbing food.
Plus, this plant is environment friendly as it grows practically without pesticides. It is indeed a weed, which is good for our health and the health of our planet!
It’s easy to incorporate buckwheat into your diet without trying to hard. Start your day with buckwheat porridge (cooked in coconut milk, with a dash of agave nectar and a few berries), buckwheat granola or with a scrumptious buckwheat crepe or pancake.
You can also enjoy soba noodles at your favorite Asian joint (“soba” means buckwheat in Japanese) or sauté buckwheat in a little bit of olive oil, with mushrooms, baby carrots and sweat peas for a protein- and vitamin-packed main dish.
If you like experimenting, try making buckwheat milk the same way you would make milk with hemp seeds, oats, rice or almond.
Valerie Orsoni is a health and wellness expert and founder of LeBootCamp, a popular weight loss and wellness program built upon Valerie's four-pronged approach focused on nutrition, fitness, motivation and stress management to help millions look and feel their very best.