10 Great health benefits of Buckwheat

Despite its name, buckwheat is not a form of wheat and it’s not even a proper cereal. It is actually the seeds of a plant that are related rhubarb. Buckwheat is often called a pseudo cereal, because it can be used to make flour that you could use in baking, but buckwheat is a 100% gluten free plant seed. The popularity of buckwheat declined in the 20th century because modern fertilizers made the growing of ordinary wheat and corn easier.  Today, however, buckwheat is making a comeback as healthy, gluten free, alternative to other cereal grains. Buckwheat is high in fibre and protein, it contains significant amounts of iron and magnesium and it is also packed full of disease fighting nutrients and it contains all eight of the essential amino acids that you need in your diet. Here are just ten of the many health benefits of buckwheat.

1. Lowers blood pressure

Buckwheat can be a very useful food to eat for people who have high blood pressure. The seed is a good source of magnesium, which causes the blood vessels to relax and so eases the flow of blood around the body.

2. It will contain fewer toxins than most other grains that you can buy

The plant from which the buckwheat seeds derive is an extremely hardy plant that can grow in soils that other grains will not grow. Because it grows so easily, farmers do not need to use the excessive amounts of fertilizers or pesticides on the crop, so it will contain far fewer of the toxins that many other crops contain.

3. Fights insulin resistance

Buckwheat contains D-chiro-Inositol (DCI), which is a compound that helps to control sensitivity to insulin, which is deficient in diabetics. In research carried out in Canada that was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, it was shown that eating buckwheat reduces the blood sugar levels and could be a way of managing diabetes.

4. Maintains cardiovascular health

Buckwheat contains a number of nutrients that are known to reduce cholesterol levels and maintain the health of blood vessels. It is a good source of niacin, folate and Vitamin B6, all of which are very beneficial to cardiovascular health. These properties of buckwheat, along with its ability to reduce blood pressure, mean that is a great food to eat to avoid heart attacks and strokes.

5. Aids weight loss

Buckwheat can also be a very useful food to include in your diet when you are trying to lose weight.  It’s high in fibre, so it fills you up and keeps you feeling full for a long time and it is lower in calories than either wheat or barley. It is also a good source of protein, which will give you energy and help to build lean muscle.

6. Protects against cancer

It is also believed that buckwheat can help to protect women against certain forms of cancers, including breast cancer. Buckwheat contains lignans, which help to balance hormones in the system, especially during the menopause, and this is believed to be the reason why women who eat diets rich in whole grains, suffer a lower incidence of breast cancer.

7. It combats depression

Buckwheat contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid that the body uses in the production of the feel good hormone of serotonin. Studies have indicated that tryptophan could be effective at both relieving the symptoms of depression and improving the quality of sleep.

8. Protects the skin against damage from the sun

Although it is no replacement for sunscreen, buckwheat does contain a compound that will help protect the skin from the damage that can be caused by the sun. Buckwheat contains high levels of rutin, which provide a natural protection from the suns radiation and so could help to slow down the signs of ageing.

9. Nourishes the hair

Buckwheat contains Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, which is essential for healthy growth. Vitamin B6 is something that body cannot store, so it has to be regularly topped up through the food you eat and buckwheat is an excellent means of supplementing your intake of Vitamin B6.

10. It is very good for the digestive system

Like its grain counterparts, buckwheat is a very good source of dietary fibre. Eating buckwheat regularly will help the food move through your system properly and stop you developing constipation and other digestive disorders. The insoluble fibre that is contained in buckwheat also lowers the production of bile in the intestines, which will to prevent gallstones from forming.

Stay happy and healthy!

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