As a grain alternative, buckwheat still contains plenty of carbs. There are 34 grams in one cup of cooked buckwheat groats. Buckwheat flour is more concentrated with about 44 grams of carbohydrates per 1/2 cup.3 Buckwheat is naturally low in sugar and high in fiber. The glycemic index of buckwheat is 49, and the glycemic load is 15 (based on 150g serving).4
Buckwheat is naturally low in fat with just 1 gram per serving. The majority of fats in buckwheat are heart-healthy, unsaturated fats.
When it comes to protein content, buckwheat overshadows most grains. Cooked buckwheat has 5.7 grams of protein per cup (about twice as much protein as oatmeal). Unusual for plant foods, buckwheat offers a complete amino acid profile,1 which means that it contains all of the essential amino acids that our bodies require from food. Buckwheat is an excellent addition to any healthy eating plan but can be especially helpful for vegetarians looking to up their protein intake.
Vitamins and Minerals
Buckwheat is a good source of B vitamins and minerals,1 particularly niacin (used in the digestive system, skin, and nerves) and vitamin B2 (riboflavin).
Buckwheat also contains magnesium (maintains muscle health), phosphorus (used to form teeth and bones), zinc (important for your immune system), copper (helps with energy production and iron absorption), and manganese (assists with metabolism, bone health, blood clotting, and immune system function).5 With so much to offer nutritionally, buckwheat is truly a health-promoting powerhouse.
Buckwheat offers several health benefits, especially for the digestive system. If you have food restrictions or digestive issues, buckwheat can be a versatile addition to your menu.
Useful for People With Celiac Disease
Pure buckwheat is gluten-free. Buckwheat is often used to make products that are labeled gluten-free, particularly cereals. However, if you need to follow a gluten-free diet, you should not assume a food product is gluten-free just because it happens to contain buckwheat—always read the label for gluten-free certification.6
May Manage Irritable Bowel Symptoms
Buckwheat’s nutrient-density makes it a great choice for anyone who is required to follow a restrictive eating plan. Pure buckwheat is also low in FODMAPs, which are types of carbohydrates that can exacerbate digestive issues in some people. Nutritionists frequently recommend a low FODMAP diet for people who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).7 Eliminating FODMAPs temporarily can also help identify symptom trigger-foods.
May Help Control Blood Sugar
A study comparing the buckwheat-eating region of Mongolia to the region where buckwheat is not consumed found that populations who eat buckwheat had almost 17% lower fasting blood sugar levels.8 The low glycemic rating for buckwheat, along with the beneficial polyphenols that it contains, are two reasons for someone with diabetes to consider adding it to the grocery list (especially in place of sugary cereals and refined grains).
Might Reduce Cholesterol
Buckwheat has been shown to have multiple benefits on the cardiovascular system.8 Buckwheat intake reduces total cholesterol by an average of 0.5 mmol/L and triglycerides by 0.25 mmol/L based on data from human studies ranging from seven days to 27 weeks of testing. This is likely in part due to its resistant starch content.
May Help Prevent Diverticular Disease
Buckwheat contains mainly insoluble fiber. This is the type of fiber that doesn’t dissolve in water, which means it remains mostly intact as it moves through your digestive tract. Insoluble fiber helps to bulk up the stool, keeping constipation at bay and lowering your risk of diverticulitis, a painful infection in your large intestine.9
Medical authorities recommend that adults get between 20 and 35 grams of fiber per day. If you eat 3/4 cup of buckwheat groats as a hot cereal for breakfast, you are off to a great start.