Buckwheat is grain-like fruit seed related to rhubarb. In texture and flavor, it is much like hearty whole cereal grains. Buckwheat groats, when cooked, make a "porridge" that you can eat as an alternative to hot oatmeal or in place of rice as a dinner side dish. Buckwheat is gluten-free and people with a wheat sensitivity may tolerate buckwheat groats. The groats are rich in the minerals magnesium and manganese, high in dietary fiber and, according to The Cook's Thesaurus, have an earthy, nutty flavor.
According to Food.com, buckwheat groats are similar in size to wheat kernels but have a unique triangular shape. The color of buckwheat kernels ranges from pink-hued to brown. Milling buckwheat removes its inedible outer coating, and the hulled buckwheat is available unroasted or roasted, whole, raw or as white buckwheat kernels. Unprocessed buckwheat is bitter, and toasting removes the bitterness and brings out a nutty flavor. Roasted buckwheat kernels are also known as "kasha" in Europe, particularly eastern Europe.
Basic Nutrient Values
A 100-gram serving of roasted and cooked buckwheat groats, just under two-thirds cup, provides 92 calories, 3.4 grams of protein, 0.6 grams of fat, 20 grams of total carbohydrates, 2.7 grams of dietary fiber, 0.9 grams of sugar, 4 milligrams of sodium and no cholesterol, according to NutritionValue.org. Roasted buckwheat groats are also a good source of two essential minerals. A 100-gram serving provides 51 milligrams of magnesium, or 13 percent of the recommended daily value, and 0.40 milligrams of manganese, or 20 percent of the daily value.
Carbohydrates and Fiber
Buckwheat groats are rich in complex carbohydrates, the preferred source of energy for your cells, especially the muscles and nervous system. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 45 to 65 percent of your calories should come from carbohydrates. In addition, buckwheat groats are fiber-rich. Dietary fiber, especially fiber from whole grains and legumes, is important for promoting a healthy digestive system and regular bowel movements, reducing blood cholesterol, regulating blood sugar levels and aiding in weight management.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans, particularly children, adolescents and adults under the age of 65 years, are not eating enough magnesium-rich foods. This major mineral, found in whole grains, leafy, green vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and buckwheat groats, serves many functions in your body. It helps maintain normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system and, along with calcium and phosphorus, maintains strong bones and teeth. Magnesium also aids in regulating blood sugar levels and blood pressure. It is involved in energy metabolism and may play a role in managing conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Like cereal grains such as rice, rinse buckwheat groats prior to cooking to remove any debris or dirt. Cook them in a 1:2 ratio -- one part groats to two parts boiling water or other liquid such as diluted juice or broth. Simmer the groats, covered, for about 30 minutes or until tender. You can season cooked groats with sweet or savory spices and use as a replacement for hot breakfast cereal or as a starch side dish at dinner. Cooked buckwheat groats make a nutritious addition to soups and stews, adding a hardy texture and flavor.
- The Cook's Thesaurus: Buckwheat
- Food.com: Kitchen Dictionary - Buckwheat Groat
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 - Carbohydrates
- NutritionValue.org: Buckwheat Groats, Cooked, Roasted
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 - Adequate Nutrients Within Calorie Needs
- National Institutes of Health - Office of Dietary Supplements: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet - Magnesium
- Meike Bergmann/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.