Buckwheat has been steadily growing in popularity in Ireland and has become more widely available in its various forms than ever before. Naturally gluten-free, buckwheat is considered a pseudo-grain, cultivated for its grain-like seeds and impressive mineral content to support health. In fact, it’s related to rhubarb!
Buckwheat is a good source of magnesium, known as nature’s sedative. This mineral helps to relax blood vessels to boost blood flow and nutrient delivery to body cells, while helping to lower blood pressure. Together, these factors help to support cardiovascular system health.
As well as manganese, copper and B vitamins needed for the production of energy, zinc is a trace mineral found in buckwheat. Although it’s only needed in minute quantities, it’s still important for health. Zinc has so many roles in your body, from strengthening your immune system against bugs and viruses, to building bones and improving your sense of taste and smell. For men and women hoping to conceive, zinc is crucial. It can help to prevent acne by balancing sebum production in oil glands and it helps to build collagen, that all-important protein for keeping your complexion firm, smooth and wrinkle-free.
Zinc also boosts your ability to absorb vitamin A, which is another crucial vitamin for glowing skin and bright eyes.
Buckwheat is also a good source of vitamin B6 and the amino acid tryptophan. Along with zinc, they’re crucial to the production of your ‘happy hormone’, a neurotransmitter called serotonin, and your ‘sleep hormone’, melatonin to encourage a peaceful night’s sleep.
Research has even linked diets rich in buckwheat to lowered LDL cholesterol and a higher level of HDL cholesterol, which is the health-promoting form of cholesterol. But its potential ability to lower lipid levels is thought to be partly due to its rich levels of flavonoids. These are phytonutrients that act as antioxidants and support the action of vitamin C, together thought to help protect against disease.
Buckwheat can be bought in the form of groats, which are the triangular seeds that I buy dried and use to sprout at home in just 2-3 days. But they can be bought already toasted to enjoy as a crunchy snack, or in the form of flour, pasta, bread, crackers and other baked goods.
Buckwheat is suitable for those that must avoid gluten products and its structure bears no relation to wheat. For those trying to lose weight or build their fitness, it’s an ideal food as it helps to keep blood sugar levels steady and contains all of the essential amino acids to support muscle growth and repair.
I’m a big fan of sprouting seeds, beans, legumes and grains in the sprouting jar on my kitchen windowsill. They’re literally teeming with enzymes, essential vitamins, minerals and all the nutrients needed for a plant to grow, which is why they’re so beneficial to us. This week, I have been sprouting buckwheat and sprinkle it on everything from stews, soups and salads to smoothies and smoothie bowls, such as this Antioxidant Smoothie Bowl 🙂