(NaturalHealth365) If you have not tried buckwheat – you may want to consider what health-conscious healthcare professionals are saying about this incredible grain. Whether you are looking to simply lose weight; balance blood sugar or improve your heart health – buckwheat is a wise choice. Rich in protein, gluten-free and hypoallergenic, it is best suited for most people – including patients with health conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Did you know that buckwheat is easy to cook and packed with B vitamins plus minerals like, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, magnesium and selenium? Many health studies suggest that the healing power of buckwheat is due to two important phytonutrients – rutin and D-chiro-inositol.
Studies have linked these two phytonutrients to many interesting health benefits. Nutrient-dense and low in calories, there are many good reasons to consider using buckwheat in your diet.
Buckwheat is good for the heart
A 1995 study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that Yi Chinese that consume 100 grams per day (3.5 ounce) of buckwheat had healthy blood cholesterol levels. In fact, the more buckwheat that gets consumed – the lower the total cholesterol number will be. Researchers revealed a significant increase in HDL (good cholesterol) levels and concluded that buckwheat is a heart-healthy food.
Buckwheat is naturally abundant in heart-protective nutrients like fiber, phytonutrients, antioxidant flavonoids like, hyperin, quercetin and catecins. It is one of the richest sources of magnesium – providing about 80 mg. per cup.
These compounds protect your heart in more than one way. The fiber prevents the re-absorption of cholesterol; the flavonoids and other antioxidants inhibit the oxidation of LDL by free radicals; magnesium improves blood flow and rutin prevents the clumping of platelets and plaque formation.
Diabetics can balance blood sugar
There is overwhelming evidence that eating buckwheat is a fantastic option for diabetic patients because of its ability to control high blood sugar levels. A 2001 study, that analyzed the effect of buckwheat consumption, showed that buckwheat groats reduced high blood sugar as well as insulin responses.
A 2003 published study went one step ahead and found that buckwheat contains the compound D-chiro-inositol – a type of insulin mediator that effectively lowers high glucose levels. The study found that buckwheat is an effective way to reduce blood sugar and is useful in diabetic treatment programs.
Another reason why buckwheat helps to lower blood glucose is its rich source of magnesium. Magnesium is an important mineral that participates as a cofactor for nearly 300 enzymes. This includes enzymes that are important for glucose utilization and insulin secretion.
Eliminate unsightly varicose veins
Varicose veins are created due to poor vascular health (blood circulation) – especially in the lower parts of the body. Buckwheat directly addresses this issue and helps to prevent the occurrence of varicose veins.
Currently, we know of two studies that confirm the effectiveness of buckwheat in preventing varicose veins. The study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology showed that buckwheat – in the form of tea – improved blood circulation; and prevented leg edema in patients with varicose veins.
A 2008 study, published in the journal – Arthritis Research and Therapy, emphasized that buckwheat was effective in decreasing inflammation and lowering the risk of varicose veins. The phytonutrient rutin, in buckwheat, was identified to be helpful in bringing down inflammation in lab studies.
With all its health benefits, buckwheat is simple to prepare and great tasting – making it easy add to stews, soups or salads. You can even try to make a delicious breakfast – in combination with soaked nuts and seeds. Buckwheat flour is also popular for use in muffins, pancakes and bread.
Just remember – only buy organic buckwheat groats and flour. Keep in mind, it is always important to consume a wide variety of fresh, plant-based foods – in order to get the widest spectrum of antioxidants and phytonutrients. If you want optimal health – eat as close to nature as possible and avoid overly-processed foods.
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1. J He, M J Klag, P K Whelton, et al (1995). Oats and buckwheat intakes and cardiovascular disease risk factors in an ethnic minority of China. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 61(2), 366-372.
2. Skrabanja V, Liljeberg Elmstahl HG, Kreft I, Bjorck IM. Nutritional properties of starch in buckwheat products: studies in vitro and in vivo. Agric Food Chem 2001 Jan;49(1):490-6. 2001.
3. Kawa J, Taylor C, Trzybylski R. Buckwheat concentrate reduces serum glucose in streptozotocin-diabetic rats. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, J. Agric. Food Chem. 2003, 51, 7287-7291 7287
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