Buckwheat

Buckwheat ~ Super Grains

This common pancake whole grain is one of the whole grains many people living with celiac disease can tolerate (others include quinoa, amaranth, and sorghum).

And it’s one of the best grain-based sources of magnesium, a wonder mineral that does everything from ease PMS symptoms to improve nerve functioning, and manganese, which boosts brain power.

Energizing and nutritious, this super grain is available throughout the year and can be served as an alternative to rice or made into porridge.

While many people think that buckwheat is a cereal grain, it's actually a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb and sorrel making it a suitable substitute for grains for people who are sensitive to wheat or other grains that contain protein glutens.

The flowers are very fragrant and are attractive to bees that use them to produce a special, strongly flavored, dark honey.

A Grain That's Good for Your Cardiovascular System

Diets that contain this super grain have been linked to lowered risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

It's beneficial effects are due in part to its rich supply of flavonoids, particularly rutin.

Flavonoids are phytonutrients that protect against disease by extending the action of vitamin-C and acting as antioxidants.

This grain's lipid-lowering activity is largely due to rutin and other flavonoid compounds.

These compounds help maintain blood flow, keep platelets from clotting excessively (platelets are compounds in blood that, when triggered, clump together, thus preventing excessive blood loss, and protect LDL from free radical oxidation into potentially harmful cholesterol oxides.

All these actions help to protect against heart disease.

This grain also contains almost 86 milligrams of magnesium in a one-cup serving.

Magnesium relaxes blood vessels, improving blood flow and nutrient delivery while lowering blood pressure-the perfect combination for a healthy cardiovascular system.

Better Blood Sugar Control & A Lowered Risk of Diabetes

The nutrients in this super grain may contribute to blood sugar control.

In a test that compared the effect on blood sugar of whole buckwheat groats to bread made from refined wheat flour, the groats significantly lowered blood glucose and insulin responses.

Whole buckwheat also scored highest on their ability to satisfy hunger.

Lignans Protect Against Heart Disease

One type of phytonutrient especially abundant in whole grains such as this one, are plant lignans, which are converted by friendly flora in our intestines into mammalian lignans, including one called enterolactone that is thought to protect against breast and other hormone-dependent cancers as well as heart disease.

In addition to whole grains, nuts, seeds and berries are rich sources of plant lignans, and vegetables, fruits, and beverages such as coffee, tea and wine also contain some.

Additional Research Finds Cereal & Fruit Fiber Protective Against Postmenopausal Breast Cancer

Results of a prospective study involving 51,823 postmenopausal women for an average of 8.3 years showed a 34% reduction in breast cancer risk for those consuming the most fruit fiber compared to those consuming the least.

In addition, in the subgroup of women who had ever used hormone replacement, those consuming the most fiber, especially cereal fiber, had a 50% reduction in their risk of breast cancer compared to those consuming the least.

Fruits richest in fiber include apples, dates, figs, pears and prunes.

When choosing a high fiber cereal, look for whole grain cereals as they supply the most bran (a mere 1/3rd cup of bran contains about 14 g. of fiber).

With its rich, nutty flavor, this super grain makes a great breakfast alternative to a bowl of hot oatmeal.

Just a cup delivers 20% of the RDI for fiber for just 154 calories!

History:

Buckwheat is native to Northern Europe as well as Asia.

From the 10th through the 13th century, it was widely cultivated in China.

From there, it spread to Europe and Russia in the 14th and 15th centuries, and was introduced in the United States by the Dutch during the 17th century.

This super grain is widely produced in Russia and Poland, where it plays an important role in their traditional cuisines.

Other countries where it's cultivated commercially include the United States, Canada, and France, the country famous for its buckwheat crepes.

How to Select & Store:

Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section, make sure that the bins are covered and that the store has a good product turnover to ensure its maximal freshness.

Whether purchasing in bulk or in a packaged container, make sure there is no evidence of moisture.

Place in an airtight container and store in a cool dry place.

Buckwheat flour should be always stored in the refrigerator, while other products should be kept refrigerated if you live in a warm climate or during periods of warmer weather.

Stored properly, whole buckwheat can last up to one year, while the flour will keep fresh for several months.

Tips for Preparation:

Like all grains, this one should be rinsed thoroughly under running water before cooking, and any dirt or debris should be removed.

After rinsing, add one part buckwheat to two parts boiling water or broth.

After the liquid has returned to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.

A Few Quick Serving Ideas:

Combine buckwheat flour with whole wheat flour to make delicious breads, muffins and pancakes.

Cook up a pot for a change of pace from hot oatmeal as a delicious hearty breakfast cereal.

Add cooked to soups or stews to give them a heartier flavor and deeper texture.

Add chopped chicken, garden peas, pumpkin seeds and scallions to cooked and cooled buckwheat for a delightful lunch or dinner salad.

So now your thinking, hmmmmmmmmm, how do I get more in my diet?

How about;

Buckwheat Crêpes with Ham-n-Cheese

This flavorful recipe gives you a very quick and easy way to enjoy the healthy benefits of buckwheat.

Prep: 10 min Total:

Makes 16 Servings

Ingredients:

2/3 c. buckwheat flour

2 large eggs

1/3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour

1 Tbs. mayonnaise

1 Tbs. sugar

1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 lb. sliced Swiss cheese

4 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus extra for cooking

1 lb. sliced ham

2 c. milk

Preparation;

1. In a large bowl, whisk both flours, sugar and salt together.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the butter, milk and eggs together, then whisk into the dry ingredients until well combined.

The batter will be thin.

3. Refrigerate for at least an hour to let the liquid fully hydrate the flour. (The batter can be refrigerated overnight for morning crêpes; let it sit it on the counter for at least 15 minutes in the morning to warm up slightly before cooking.)

4. Stir the mayonnaise and mustard together.

5. Melt a dab of butter in a crêpe pan or nonstick skillet over medium heat.

6. Add 1/2 c. batter to the pan, swirling to cover thinly but evenly.

Cook until the edges of the crepe turn golden brown, then loosen with a spatula and flip.

7. Layer two slices of cheese, a thin swipe of the Dijon mayo, and two slices of ham down the center of the crêpe, and cook until the cheese melts.

8. Roll the crêpe into thirds to make a loose cylinder, then remove from the pan and serve.

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