How can buckwheat be a great alternative to grains? Because it’s not a grain! While most people refer to buckwheat as a cereal grain, it’s actually a fruit seed, closely related to rhubarb and sorrel. Some people consider buckwheat a pseudo-grain, because of how people eat it, and the “wheat” in buckwheat doesn’t help either. Buckwheat not only doesn’t contain wheat but it’s also gluten-free making it ideal for…pretty much everyone.
Why does Buckwheat make an excellent grain alternative?
Top 10 reasons why I love buckwheat as a grain alternative…
1. Buckwheat is Gluten-Free
I know I already mentioned this on, but it’s worth repeating: buckwheat doesn’t contain gluten…YAY! And it’s tolerated by most anyone with food sensitivities.
2. Buckwheat Makes for an Awesome Protein Source
Buckwheat is also an excellent protein source containing all 8 essential amino acids – yet another amazing plant-based source of protein.
3. You can Sprout Buckwheat
There I many reasons I love sprouts. One of them is because sprouts are super nutritious and this also applies to buckwheat sprout. Sprouting unlocks huge amounts of life-force potential and makes it easier to digest.
4. Buckwheat is Low on the GI Scale
Buckwheat is also lower on the glycemic index than grains, which makes it a safer choice for diabetics and pre-diabetics.
5. Buckwheat is Alkaline Forming
I know there’s been a lot of attention placed on the pH of foods, and for good reason. Eating a diet that is overly acidic can cause many health problems. Buckwheat is alkaline forming, which helps to cleanse and detoxify your body.
6. Buckwheat is High in Fiber
Buckwheat is high in fiber, which has many of it’s own benefits including weight loss and stable blood sugar levels. One cup of buckwheat kernels provides over 20% of the daily allowance of dietary fiber.
7. Buckwheat is an Excellent Source of Iron
Buckwheat, being a rich source of iron, makes it a valuable blood builder.
8. Buckwheat Contributes to Strong Bones
I’ve written pretty extensively about how milk is directly linked to osteoporosis. Buckwheat is an excellent source of plant-based calcium, an alkaline source that is more bioavailable to your body. It’s also a great source of the mineral boron, which helps to harden the bones, providing an important, protective effect against osteoporosis.
9. Buckwheat Contributes to Heart Health
Buckwheat is high in rutin, which is a flavanoid valued for its ability to contribute to strengthening the walls of the capillaries. This makes buckwheat an excellent choice for anyone concerned about varicose veins or hardening of the arteries (which applies to millions of Americans). Rutin is also known to help build blood and strengthen circulation.
10. Buckwheat is an Excellent Source of Vitamins, Minerals & Omega 3’s
Buckwheat offers plenty of vitamins, especially the B-vitamins, as well as minerals like manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium. One cup of buckwheat also renders about 15% of your daily requirement of Omega-3 essential fatty acid.
How to use Buckwheat
Buckwheat doesn’t have a very strong taste so you can incorporate it with either sweet or savory meals. Here are some creative ways to include sprouted buckwheat into your diet:
- I love using sprouted buckwheat in my raw granola recipes like this raw goji berry granola and this pecan apple cinnamon granola. These raw, organic breakfast granola’s can help you step away from store-bought breakfast cereals that are high in refined sugar and devoid of nutritional value.
- Sprouted buckwheat is also great sprinkled on top of salads;
- You can blend it in salad dressings;
- Top sprouted buckwheat on a soup
- Sprinkle buckwheat on top of any cereal or alternatively, blend the seeds with one apple or pear, put the mixture in a bowl with sprouted nut milk, and you have yourself a raw, enzyme-rich porridge. You can also use it in my raw apple porridge recipe instead of almonds, to change things up or for nut-sensitive people.
- I’ve also sprouted it and dehydrated it, and then ground it into a flour with my Vitamix blender, and then use it as a base for raw crackers and breads.
- You can also add sprouted buckwheat to smoothies for extra protein and more texture if you like
How to sprout Buckwheat
Be sure to buy organic, raw hulled buckwheat groats. Hulled means it’s shell has been removed for you, trust me, this is not something you want to do yourself! If you wanted to grow buckwheat micro-greens in soil in trays, then you would want to buy the unhulled buckwheat groats. Make sure to buy raw buckwheat and not toasted, other side it definitely won’t sprout!
To sprout them, all you have to do is soak for 6-8 hours, in 3 times the amount of water (so 1 cup buckwheat to 3 cups water) and then rinse very well in a colander. Be sure to rinse very very very well, you’ll see a pinkish slime come off of it, (this is starch…totally normal) just keep rinsing until water runs clean. You can let them sprout either in a glass gar or simply in a colander that rests over your sink, for up to 2 days (you can sprout longer, but you have to take care of them to not get too funky.) Sprouting for 1-2 days is more than sufficient. Even sprouting them for 1 day will be enough to see a little sprout form on the bottom of it, like a little “tail”. Rinse thoroughly 2-3 times a day, and avoid super cold water while rinsing. Then use your buckwheat sprouts in any way you like!