Buckwheat is a plant cultivated for its grain-like seeds, and also used as a cover crop. Despite the name, buckwheat is not related to wheat, as it is not a grass; instead, buckwheat is related to sorrel, knotweed, and rhubarb.

Buckwheat is actually a fruit seed related to rhubarb, not a cereal grain. However, like a cereal grain, it is nutritious, available year-round, may be ground into flour, made into a “porridge” or served as an alternative to rice as a side dish. It is gluten-free and is well-tolerated by individuals with a wheat sensitivity or celiac sprue as a “grain” substitute. This hearty food is rich in the minerals magnesium and manganese as well as dietary fiber and has a nutty, earthy flavor according to “The Cook’s Thesaurus.”

Groats Nutrition Values- One cup of cooked roasted buckwheat groats, or about 168 g, provides 154 calories, 6 g of protein, 1 g of fat, 33 g of carbohydrates, 5 g of dietary fiber, 2 g of sugars, 7 mg of sodium and 0 mg of cholesterol. Roasted buckwheat groats, in addition to being an excellent source of carbohydrates and rich in dietary fiber, are a particularly good food source of several essential minerals. One cup, cooked, provides 117.6 mg of phosphorus, or 11 percent of the recommended daily value or DV; 85.7 mg of magnesium, or 21 percent of the DV; 0.25 mg of copper or 12 percent of the DV; and 0.68 mg of manganese, or 33 percent of the DV.
Buckwheat Flour- A 100 g serving of whole-groat buckwheat flour, or just under 1 cup, provides 335 calories, 13 g of protein, 3 g of fat, 1 g of saturated fat, 71 g of carbohydrates, 10 g of dietary fiber, 3 g of sugars and 11 mg of sodium. Buckwheat flour adds a nutrient-boost to any recipe. A 100 g serving is a good food source of vitamin K; vitamin B-2 or riboflavin and folate. It is an excellent food source of vitamin B-1 or thiamin, vitamin B-3 or niacin, vitamin B-6 and the minerals iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese, meeting more than 25 percent of the DV for each mineral. Yet, buckwheat flour is virtually sodium-free.
Nutrient Benefits- Buckwheat, either cooked groat kernels or whole-groat flour, is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, the preferred source of energy for your cells, especially the nervous system. In addition, it is high in dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is important for promoting health of the digestive system, aiding in weight management and reducing blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels, according to MayoClinic.com. Buckwheat, particularly buckwheat flour, is a rich food source of 13 essential vitamins and minerals, making it a truly nutrient-rich food choice.
Preperation and Serving Tips- Prior to cooking buckwheat, rinse it thoroughly under running water to remove dirt or debris. After rinsing, cook buckwheat in a 1/2 ratio, or one part buckwheat to two parts boiling water or other liquid, such as broth. After the mixture returns to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Season and serve in place of oatmeal at breakfast or rice at dinner. You may also add cooked buckwheat to stews and soups for a hardier flavor and texture. You may also substitute some of the white or wheat flour with nutrient-rich buckwheat flour in your favorite muffin, bread or pancake recipes.

by Seven Love Johnson

7LoveJohnson, Seven Lovaste': Executive Creative Director; Organic Positive Living Wellness Sage