Warning: It is possible to be allergic to most foods and buckwheat is no exception. Breathing the flour can cause problems.Buckwheat fights cancer, heart disease, celiac, diabetes, obesity and gallstones. Buckwheat has a triangular shape and is not a wheat. It is the fruit of a relative of rhubarb.
Anti-Cancer Activity Equal to or Even Higher than that of Vegetables and FruitsDoctor Rui Hai Liu from the Cronell University reported the following conclusions. Buckwheat contains many powerful phytonutrients that have been ignored because there are too many to allocate a research project to each. There are also measurement problems. It's easy to measure the antioxidant value of phytonutrients that dissolve quickly and are absorbed into the bloodstream, but difficult to measure the antioxidant value of those that are fastened to the cell walls and and must be released by intestinal bacteria during digestion before they can be absorbed. Those that have been studied include Phenolics, quercetin, curcumin, ellagic acid, and catechins. Doctor Liu found that although about 76% of phenolics were avialable in fruit and vegetables, the bound form made up more than 99% of grains such as buckwheat. Can you imagine the distorted results that research workers got when they measured grains using the same method as they used for fruit? It turns out that buckwheat and other grains have about the same antioxidants as fruit, it is just in the bound form. This means that we have to redefine the word fiber. It used to be just the indigestible part of food, but now it seems that the part released by intestinal bacteria is extremely small but important. This may explain why colon cancer risk is lower for populations eating fiber-rich whole grains. It could be that the phenolics clinging to the fiber are the real benefactors. It seems that the whole-food nuts may have been right all along to refuse to eat polished grains. A grain of whole wheat consists of three parts-its endosperm (starch), bran and germ. When wheat-or any whole grain-is refined, its bran and germ are removed. Although these two parts make up only 15-17% of the grain's weight, they contain 83% of its phenolics. Dr. Liu says his recent work on whole grains reinforces the message that a variety of foods should be eaten for good health. "Different plant foods have different phytochemicals," he said. "These substances go to different organs, tissues and cells, where they perform different functions. What your body needs to ward off disease is this synergistic effect - this teamwork - that is produced by eating a wide variety of plant foods, including whole grains." Now don't rush out and buy your favorite multigrain bread, feeling very virtuous. The bread is likely to have been made with white flour with a few unground whole grains added to look good. You'll probably have to do some cooking yourself, and even then try to find organic flour with the bran and wheat-germ included. One type of phytochemical in buckwheat is plant lignans which fight cancer including enterolactone that is thought to protect against breast and other hormone-dependent cancers
Heart DiseaseIf the scientists have guessed right, the rich supply of flavonoids and magnesium are responsible for most of the heart benefits. What matters to me is that buckwheat helps heart health, not how it does it. Here are some of the things it does.
- Extend the action of vitamin C
- Maintain blood flow
- Prevent unwanted blood clotting
- Prevent cholesterol forming an oxidized plaque in the blood vessels
- Relaxes blood vessels, increasing blood flow and lowering pressure.
Celiac DiseasePeople with celiac disease can eat a well balanced diet with a variety of foods, including gluten-free bread and pasta using buckwheat instead of wheat flour.
Better Blood Sugar Control and a Lowered Risk of DiabetesBuckwheat has chemical components that may help the glucose/insulin action involved with diabetes. It is a food that contains fagopyritols that are degraded to yield D-chiro-inositol which has been shown to act as a mediator of insulin action. In a test that compared the effect on blood sugar of whole buckwheat groats to bread made from refined wheat flour, buckwheat groats significantly lowered blood glucose and insulin responses. Whole buckwheats also scored highest on their ability to satisfy hunger. (See the subheading about obesity.) In December 2003 Canadian researchers published some interesting results from tests done with rats. We are not rats, so that doesn't prove anything for humans, but results with rats are often echoed in humans. It was a placebo-controlled study. That means that the people doing the research didn't know whether a rat was eating the placebo or buckwheat. No results were obtained from the placebo, but a single dose of buckwheat seed extract lowered blood glucose levels by 12-19% an hour and a half and two hours later. It was believed that chiro-inositol was responsible. It's not known how it works but it seems to make the cells more sensitive to insulin, so that less is needed. However, it may also do the work of insulin. So they are now trying to develop buckwheat varieties with larger amounts of chiro-inositol.
Helps Prevent GallstonesIn a study over 16 years of 69,778 women women eating most fiber had 13% less risk of gallstones.
RecipesMost recipes seem to include baking soda which has been implicated in Alzheimers, whether fairly or not. Try this tasty buckwheat pancake recipe:
- 100g (4oz) buckwheat flour (the dark variety is more nutritious)
- 25g (1oz) butter, melted
- 15ml (half a pint) milk
- 1 egg.
AnalysisBased on blood Selenium status indicators, approximately 50% of the Selenium (a cancer fighter) from buckwheat was bio-available. Here is what you would find in 100g whole-groat flour.
|Water||11g||(remember flour is dry)|
|Calcium||41g||Similar to milk|
|Magnesium||251mg||That should be good for your teeth!|
|Potassium||577mg||Compare that with a banana|
|Manganese||2mg||That's extremely high|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin||220mcg|