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Even though the French make crepes with it, the Japanese use it to make noodles, and buckwheat groats are commonly used to make porridge in eastern Europe—buckwheat is not a grain.
Buckwheat does not belong to the family of gluten-containing grains. Instead, it is closely related to leafy vegetables, like sorrel and rhubarb.
Buckwheat Is Gluten-Free!
Buckwheat belongs to a food group that we at Body Ecology call “grain-like seeds.” Grain-like seeds:
- Are safe to eat on the Body Ecology Diet.
- Do not feed intestinal or systemic Candida overgrowth.
- Are easier to digest than grains from true cereal grasses, like wheat, rye, and barley.
Buckwheat, like all grain-like seeds, is naturally gluten-free.
Gluten is a common irritant that you will find in the grain of most cereal grasses. Research tells us that gluten can destroy the lining of the gut wall, making it leaky. (1) Some people have even developed a direct immune response to gluten. (2) They must avoid it in order to stop the destruction of their own tissue.
Luckily, if you have given up gluten, seeds like buckwheat may fill the void that wheat left behind. As a food combining reminder: Always make sure that when 20% of your meal is buckwheat, the other 80% is a combination of non-starchy vegetables, fermented vegetables, and ocean vegetables.
What Makes Buckwheat So Special
Scientists speculate that human beings have been harvesting buckwheat for centuries! (3) As it turns out, buckwheat can withstand a harsh environment and even thrives in extreme altitudes. Buckwheat’s popularity may be due to its hearty nature and rich nutrient profile.
Buckwheat is a delicious grain-like seed that is naturally gluten-free. Buckwheat is safe to eat on the Body Ecology Diet and won't feed harmful Candida overgrowth.
Buckwheat’s grain-like seeds are chock full of:
These three minerals are vital to your health and wellbeing.
For example, iron is the central mineral found in red blood cells, and it prevents some forms of anemia. Zinc boosts the immune system, mental acuity, and sexual vigor. (4)(5)(6) Selenium supports the production of antioxidants in the body and helps to prevent mercury toxicity. (7)(8) Selenium is also essential in the production of active thyroid hormone. Research has found that both selenium and zinc work together to prevent food allergies in infants and children. (9)
Buckwheat seeds contain a plant chemical called rutin. Rutin has been found to strengthen the walls of tiny blood vessels, called capillaries. (10) Rutin also helps to control inflammation and prevent blood clots. (11) For this reason, buckwheat seeds are used as a traditional remedy for cardiovascular disease. (12)
According to Chinese medicine, buckwheat can stop diarrhea and eliminate thick vaginal discharge. (13) In the traditional folk medicine of many cultures, buckwheat seeds have been used to cleanse the intestines and strengthen appetite. (14)
Buckwheat in the Kitchen
Buckwheat seed has a neutral temperature and a subtle, sweet flavor. It is one of the most alkalizing “grains” available and can be enjoyed year-round in a stew or with a light summer salad.
When preparing buckwheat or any of the four Body Ecology grain-like seeds (amaranth, buckwheat, millet, and quinoa), it is essential to soak all grain-like seeds for at least 8 hours. To further soften buckwheat during the soaking process, you can add 1 teaspoon–1 tablespoon of Body Ecology’s InnergyBiotic.
Soaking removes anti-nutrients that are found in the hull (or outer shell) of the seed.
These anti-nutrients prevent the absorption of minerals found in buckwheat, like iron, zinc, and selenium. After soaking and before cooking, take care to rinse the buckwheat using a strainer.
The most basic way to prepare buckwheat:
- Add one part soaked and rinsed buckwheat to two parts boiling water.
- Salt your water with unrefined mineral-rich salt, like Celtic sea salt. Or, “salt” your water with a strip of kombu seaweed.
- Once the mixture reaches a boil, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Other ideas on buckwheat from the Body Ecology Kitchen:
- Cook up a pot of buckwheat. Pour it into a square or round container and allow the buckwheat to cool. When ready to eat, cut the buckwheat into pretty shapes or squares. Sauté the buckwheat squares in ghee. Top with stir-fried veggies cooked in unrefined coconut oil. Add cultured veggies.
- Top cooked buckwheat with Body Ecology’s ginger carrot sauce or with sautéed onions and shitake mushrooms.
- Give soups and stews a hearty flavor by adding cooked buckwheat.
- Herbs like savory, celery seed, sage, rosemary, and thyme make buckwheat even more delicious!
What To Remember Most About This Article:
Buckwheat is commonly confused for a grain, although it is actually 100% gluten-free. Buckwheat is a grain-like seed that is highly recommended on the Body Ecology Diet. This simply means that buckwheat won't feed Candida overgrowth and is easier to digest than grains like rye, barley, and wheat.
If you have gluten sensitivity and are trying to cut gluten out of your diet to improve your health, buckwheat is the perfect alternative. As a tip, it's best to eat buckwheat following the 80/20 rule—enjoy buckwheat on 20% of your plate along with 80% fermented vegetables, ocean vegetables, and non-starchy vegetables.
Buckwheat is rich in iron, zinc, and selenium to boost the immune system, guard against food allergies in children, and even prevent some forms of anemia. Traditional folk medicine has relied on buckwheat to cleanse the intestines and improve appetite.
You can easily enjoy buckwheat at home year-round. Here are a few of our best buckwheat preparation tips:
- When prepping buckwheat, it's important to soak the grain-like seed for a minimum of 8 hours; support softening by adding 1 teaspoon-1 tablespoon of InnergyBiotic while soaking.
- For added flavor, season buckwheat while cooking with mineral-rich Celtic sea salt.
- Enjoy tasty buckwheat prepared a variety of ways—like stir-fried with cultured veggies on top!
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- Drago, S., El Asmar, R., Di Pierro, M., Grazia Clemente, M., Sapone, A. T. A., Thakar, M., & Fasano, A. (2006). Gliadin, zonulin and gut permeability: Effects on celiac and non-celiac intestinal mucosa and intestinal cell lines. Scandinavian journal of gastroenterology, 41(4), 408-419.
- Visser, J., Rozing, J., Sapone, A., Lammers, K., & Fasano, A. (2009). Tight junctions, intestinal permeability, and autoimmunity. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1165(1), 195-205.
- Ohnishi, O. (1998). Search for the wild ancestor of buckwheat III. The wild ancestor of cultivated common buckwheat, and of tatary buckwheat. Economic botany, 52(2), 123-133.
- Ibs, K. H., & Rink, L. (2003). Zinc-altered immune function. The Journal of nutrition, 133(5), 1452S-1456S.
- Bhatnagar, S., & Taneja, S. (2001). Zinc and cognitive development. British journal of nutrition, 85(2), S139.
- Netter, A., Nahoul, K., & Hartoma, R. (1981). Effect of zinc administration on plasma testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and sperm count. Systems Biology in Reproductive Medicine, 7(1), 69-73.
- Dylewski, M. L., Bender, J. C., Smith, A. M., Prelack, K., Lydon, M., Weber, J. M., & Sheridan, R. L. (2010). The selenium status of pediatric patients with burn injuries. The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, 69(3), 584-588.
- Pinheiro, M. D. C. N., Luiz Martins do Nascimento, J., Carlos de Lima Silveira, L., Batista Teixeira da Rocha, J., & Aschner, M. (2009). Mercury and selenium–a review on aspects related to the health of human populations in the Amazon. Environmental Bioindicators, 4(3), 222-245.
- Kamer, B., Wąsowicz, W., Pyziak, K., Kamer-Bartosińska, A., Gromadzińska, J., & Pasowska, R. (2012). Role of selenium and zinc in the pathogenesis of food allergy in infants and young children. Arch Med Sci, 8, 1083-8.
- Rodriguez, R., & Root, H. F. (1948). Capillary Fragility and Diabetic Retinitis: With a Note on the Use of Rutin. New England Journal of Medicine, 238(12), 391-397.
- Jiang, P., Burczynski, F., Campbell, C., Pierce, G., Austria, J. A., & Briggs, C. J. (2007). Rutin and flavonoid contents in three buckwheat species< i> Fagopyrum esculentum</i>,< i> F. tataricum</i>, and< i> F. homotropicum</i> and their protective effects against lipid peroxidation. Food Research International, 40(3), 356-364.
- Orcic, D., Svirčev, E., Mimica-Dukic, N., Beara, I., Balog, K., Francišković, M., & Simin, N. (2012). Phenolic profile and antioxidant activity of buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) herb and root extracts. Planta Medica, 78(11), PL14.
- Lu, H. C. (2006). Chinese natural cures. Black Dog & Leventhal, 406.
- Pitchford, P. (1993). Healing with Whole Food: Oriental Traditions and Modern Nutrition. North Atlantic Book, 462.
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