Buckwheat has a long culinary history in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where the groats are used in the staple dish kasha. Technically, buckwheat is a pseudograin and not related to wheat at all, with seeds (the groats) that are similar to sunflower seeds. Buckwheat is commonly used in noodles in Japanese, Korean, and Northern Carbohydrates: Grains 169 Italian cuisine. It lacks gluten but is high in protein, antioxidants, vitamins B1 and B2, and the minerals iron, zinc, and selenium.
Buckwheat contains rutin, a glycoside related to quercetin. Like quercetin, rutin appears to have properties that protect blood vessels, inhibiting platelet aggregation and acting as an antioxidant. It is being investigated for its potential in protecting the eyes from diabetic retinopathy, a serious complication of diabetes that can lead to blindness. Rutin helps lower the risk of heart disease as well. One cup of buckwheat provides almost 86 milligrams of magnesium—a mineral that relaxes blood vessels, improving blood flow and nutrient delivery while lowering blood pressure—the perfect combination for a healthy cardiovascular system.
Buckwheat also contains a form of inositol that appears to lower cholesterol and increase insulin sensitivity. This compound is being studied for its potential role in fighting polycystic ovary disease (PCOD) and type 2 diabetes.Nutritional Facts
One cup of cooked buckwheat groats provides 182 calories, 39.5 g carbohydrate, 6.7 g protein, 1.2 g fat, 5.3 g dietary fiber, 28 mcg folic acid, 174 mg potassium, 8 mg sodium, 139 mg phosphorus, 14 mg calcium, 101 mg magnesium, and 1.21 mg zinc.