Buckwheat tea can be made form buckwheat grains or from the leaves of the plant, both of which are rich in antioxidants that can help with weight loss. The tea has a nutty, earthy taste and a light scent. Drinking it unsweetened keeps the calories down, to roughly 2 calories per 1-cup serving.
Because buckwheat tea is so low in calories, you can use it as a healthful substitute for high-calorie drinks. It takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose one pound of body weight. By substituting 8 ounces of buckwheat tea for the same amount of regular cola, you consume 89 fewer calories. Do this three times a week for a year, and you potentially could lose almost 4 pounds of body weight.
While there's limited evidence linking buckwheat tea to weight loss, its phytonutrient content might offer benefits. Buckwheat tea contains catechins, natural antioxidants also found in green tea that have been associated with weight loss. A study detailed in the 2007 issue of "Obesity" found that green-tea extract rich in catechins may help with weight loss and weight control. Subjects who took the supplement experienced weight loss, reduced body fat and narrowing of the waist and hips. The researchers concluded that an extract high in catechins helps with weight loss, but they could not determine if the benefit came solely from the catechins. And while catechins may help reduce body fat, it is unclear if the catechins in buckwheat have the same effect as those in the green-tea extract.
Buckwheat tea has a dry, nutty flavor that many people enjoy as is. However, if you prefer to sweeten your tea -- especially when it's served chilled -- be sure to consider the added sugar intake. According to the American Heart Association, a diet high in added sugars -- including "natural" sugars such as honey -- can lead to weight gain and a greater likelihood of obesity. Limit your added sugar intake to no more than 100 to 150 calories per day -- for women and men respectively. This amounts to between 6 to 9 teaspoons of sugar per day.
Making Buckwheat Tea
You can make buckwheat tea from the grains, leaves or flowers, or with tea bags; look for them at Asian markets and health food stores. Tartary buckwheat tea can also be made from buckwheat grains purchased at the grocery store. To make the tea from grains, boil 1 tablespoon of the grains in 1 1/2 cups of water for 30 seconds, then let the tea steep for 10 minutes. When making the tea from leaves and blossoms, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of dried tea to 1 cup of hot water and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes.
- HealWithFood.org: Health Benefits of Tartary Buckwheat Tea (Soba-Cha)
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Tea, Herb
- Go Ask Alice!: How Many Calories Does It Take to Lose One Pound?
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Carbonated Beverage, Cola, Fast Food
- American Heart Association: Added Sugars
- Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: Determination of Rutin, Catechin, Epicatechin, and Epicatechin Gallate in Buckwheat Fagopyrum Esculentum Moench by Micro-High-Performance Liquid Chromatography With Electrochemical Detection
- Obesity: A Green Tea Extract High in Catechins Reduces Body Fat and Cardiovascular Risks in Humans