If you're looking for delicious ways to improve your health and your weight, start making whole grains a priority in your diet. While whole wheat, brown rice and oatmeal all make good choices, venturing out and trying a new grain, such as buckwheat, can open up a whole new culinary world. Buckwheat is a small, triangle-shaped grain used to make Japanese soba noodles, blintzes and pancakes. It also makes a good pilaf or tabbouleh. Buckwheat is a healthy carb and a good source of fiber and magnesium.
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Healthy Source of Calories
A nutrient-rich food is low in calories but high in vitamins and minerals. As a whole grain, buckwheat is such a food, making it a healthy source of calories. A 1/2-cup serving, or 99 grams, of cooked buckwheat groats contains 91 calories. With less than 1 calorie per gram, cooked buckwheat is also a low-energy-dense food, which means it fills you up on fewer calories and can help you better manage your weight.
As an unprocessed grain, buckwheat groats are a healthy source of carbohydrates. Your body uses the carbs in foods like buckwheat as a source of energy to support normal body function and physical activity. A 1/2-cup serving of cooked buckwheat groats contains 20 grams of carbs. Buckwheat is also a good source of fiber, with almost 3 grams in the same 1/2-cup serving. The fiber in the buckwheat is what helps keep its energy density low.
High in Protein and Very Low-Fat
Compared to other grains, buckwheat contains a high amount of protein. A 1/2-cup serving of cooked buckwheat groats contains 3 grams of protein. While buckwheat is high in protein, however, its protein digestibility might be low, according to the Whole Grains Council, so you shouldn't rely on it as your only source of protein. Buckwheat is also very low in fat, with 0.6 grams of total fat in a 1/2-cup cooked serving.
Source of Vitamins and Minerals
Buckwheat contains a number of essential vitamins and minerals your body needs for good health, including B vitamins, folic acid, copper and zinc. The B complex is a group of eight vitamins that help turn the food you eat into energy. Folic acid is one of the B vitamin that also helps your body make new cells. Women of child-bearing age need adequate intakes of folic acid before and during pregnancy to prevent birth defects. Adequate intake of the mineral copper prevents neurodegenerative diseases. Getting enough zinc helps you fight illness by boosting your immune system.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
- Whole Grains Council: Buckwheat
- FatFree: Nutritional Data for Buckwheat Groats, Roasted, Cooked
- FamilyDoctor.org: Changing Your Diet: Choosing Nutrient-Rich Foods
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Low-Energy-Dense Foods and Weight Management: Cutting Calories While Controlling Hunger
- Harvard School of Public Health: Carbohydrates
- Health-Alicious-Ness: Buckwheat Groats Roasted Cooked
- MedlinePlus: B Vitamins
- MedlinePlus: Folic Acid