Eat More BUCKWHEAT
Best Health|October/November 2021
From noodles to pancakes, what can’t buckwheat do?
LAURA JEHA

Like amaranth and quinoa, this super seed is an ancient grain that’s considered a pseudo-cereal—a plant that produces starch-rich seeds that can be used in similar ways to cereal grains. Despite its misleading name, buckwheat is not a type of wheat but actually a seed, and it’s closely related to the herbaceous plant's rhubarb and sorrel. Buckwheat plants are harvested for their pyramidal seeds, which can be used instead of rice or wheat in a variety of dishes.

Buckwheat is grown in almost every country that produces grain crops but is a particular staple in high-altitude regions in Asia because it can flourish in cold, mountainous areas where other grains cannot grow. From there, buckwheat crops spread to central Asia, Tibet, and Russia, and were one of the early crops Europeans brought to North America.

Why buckwheat is good for you

This versatile grain is high in a compound called rutin, a powerful antioxidant. Rutin is a type of phytochemical found in plants that has anti-inflammatory benefits. It works to scavenge free radicals in the body, helping to prevent their harmful effects, which can lead to tissue damage and cancer. Other benefits linked to rutin include a reduced risk of blood clots and positive effects on skin aging and health. Rutin enhances the formation of collagen, a protein that increases skin elasticity and reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

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