Healthy grains can be the foundation of a balanced diet, and buckwheat, or kasha, may be worth trying as an alternative to your regular wheat. You can use buckwheat for a side dish or casseroles, or use buckwheat flour instead of wheat flour in pancakes and other baked goods. Buckwheat is not necessarily healthier than regular wheat, and the best approach is to eat a variety of whole and fortified grains as part of your diet.
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Calories and Macronutrients
Each cup of buckwheat provides 583 calories, and there are 628 calories in a cup of hard, red, winter wheat, which is the most common in the U.S. Buckwheat has 23 grams of protein and 6 grams of fat, and wheat has 24 grams of protein and 3 grams of fat per cup. Wheat is nearly free from saturated fat, and buckwheat has only 1 gram, and both grains are free from cholesterol. Both grains are high in carbohydrates, with 122 to 136 grams per cup.
Buckwheat provides 17 grams of dietary fiber per cup, and red hard winter wheat has 23 grams. Dietary fiber may lower your risk for heart disease because it lowers levels of bad LDL cholesterol in your blood, and good sources are vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and whole grains. Try to get at least 14 grams dietary fiber for each 1,000 calories that you eat, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Vitamins in Wheats
Buckwheat and whole-grain red wheat are both high in B vitamins including niacin, folate, thiamin and pantothenic acid. These vitamins are essential for energy metabolism and heart health. Fortified refined grains, such as fortified white flour made from wheat, can be important in your diet because they provide extra thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and folic acid, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Minerals in Wheats
Buckwheat has 782 milligrams of potassium and wheat has 697 milligrams of potassium per cup, and both grains are naturally almost sodium-free. Yeast breads may be common sources of wheat in your diet, and they are high in sodium. A high-sodium, low-potassium diet may cause high blood pressure and increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. Magnesium is another essential mineral for a healthy blood pressure, and a cup of buckwheat has 393 milligrams, while wheat has 242 milligrams. Buckwheat has 3 milligrams of iron, and wheat has 6 milligrams, compared to a daily value of 18 milligrams of iron.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Wheat, Hard, Red, Winter
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Buckwheat
- Harvard School of Public Health: Health Gains From Whole Grains
- Flour Fortification: Enriching Flour, Enriching Lives -- The Flour Fortification Initiative
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: How to Eat More Whole Grains