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How to Grow Buckwheat, Rich in Nutrient and Helpful in Weight Management

Buckwheat offers numerous benefits, including weight management and rich nutrient content. However, Amita Gadre highlights potential allergenic concerns, especially for those with latex allergies, and advises moderation when incorporating buckwheat into the diet.

Vivek Singh
Buckwheat farming (Photo: Krishi Jagran)
Buckwheat farming (Photo: Krishi Jagran)

Buckwheat goes by various names in different languages: 'kuttu' in Hindi, 'kutto' in Gujarati, and 'papparai' in Tamil. In English, it's also referred to as beech wheat. These buckwheat groats, which are triangular in shape and typically light brown-green in color, have had their outer husk removed. Cultivating buckwheat demands careful consideration of soil preparation, planting, and ongoing care. So, let's explore the stages involved in the buck cultivation.

How to Grow Buckwheat?

People who are interested in growing buckwheat must follow the steps given below:

  1. Choose the Right Location: Buckwheat thrives in well-drained soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH. Select a sunny location for your buckwheat patch.

  2. Soil Preparation: Prepare the soil by removing weeds, rocks, and debris. Buckwheat doesn't require highly fertile soil, but it benefits from loosened soil with good organic matter. Adding compost or well-rotted manure can improve the soil structure.

  3. Planting: Buckwheat is usually grown from seed. You can broadcast the seeds or plant them in rows. Sow the seeds at a depth of about 1 inch and space them 2-4 inches apart. You can also use a seed drill for more even spacing.

  4. Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Buckwheat is relatively drought-tolerant once established.

  5. Thinning: If you've sown too densely, thin the plants when they are a few inches tall to allow for proper spacing. Aim for a final spacing of 6-12 inches between plants.

  1. Weed Control: Buckwheat tends to smother weeds as it grows, but it's still essential to keep the area relatively weed-free during the early stages.

  2. Harvesting: Buckwheat matures in about 10-12 weeks. You can tell it's ready to harvest when the leaves turn brown and the seeds are hard and dark. Cut the buckwheat stalks and allow them to dry for a few days. Then, thresh the seeds to separate them from the rest of the plant material.

Nutrition Facts of Buckwheat

Buckwheat serves as a prominent dietary source of carbohydrates, constituting the primary component of this grain. In addition to carbs, it boasts a notable presence of proteins, minerals, and antioxidants. The nutritional value of buckwheat is notably superior to many other grains, with 100 grams of raw buckwheat containing 343 calories, 13.3 grams of protein, 71.5 grams of carbs, 10 grams of fiber, and 3.4 grams of fat. Buckwheat's carbohydrate content primarily takes the form of starch, which is the principal storage form of carbs in plants. It exhibits a low to medium glycemic index, indicating that it doesn't cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels.

Certain soluble carbohydrates in buckwheat have demonstrated the ability to moderate post-meal blood sugar increases. Buckwheat is also a good source of dietary fiber, promoting colon health, and it contains high-quality protein with essential amino acids. Despite the presence of anti-nutrients that affect protein digestibility, buckwheat protein has shown several health benefits in animal studies, including lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of colon cancer. Notably, buckwheat is gluten-free, making it suitable for individuals with gluten intolerance.

Health Benefits of Buckwheat

Just like other whole-grain pseudocereals, buckwheat is linked to a number of benefits. Here are a few:

Improved blood sugar control

Over time, elevated levels of blood sugar can contribute to the development of various chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes. Therefore, it is crucial to manage post-meal spikes in blood sugar to uphold good health. Buckwheat, known for its rich fiber content and a glycemic index ranging from low to moderate, is generally considered a safe dietary option for individuals with type 2 diabetes. Numerous studies have linked the consumption of buckwheat to reduced blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes, with one notable study on diabetic rats revealing a decrease in blood sugar levels by 12–19% through the use of buckwheat concentrate.

This effect is attributed to the unique compound D-chiro-inositol, which appears to enhance insulin sensitivity in cells, facilitating the absorption of sugar from the bloodstream. Additionally, certain components of buckwheat appear to slow down the digestion of table sugar. In summary, these attributes make buckwheat a health-conscious choice for individuals managing type 2 diabetes or aiming to improve their blood sugar control.

Heart health

Buckwheat offers potential benefits for heart health due to its rich composition of heart-healthy compounds, including rutin, magnesium, copper, fiber, and specific proteins. Among various grains and pseudograins, buckwheat stands out as the most abundant source of rutin, an antioxidant associated with several potential advantages. Rutin may reduce the risk of heart disease by inhibiting blood clot formation, reducing inflammation, and lowering blood pressure. Additionally, research has shown that buckwheat can enhance your blood lipid profile, a significant factor in heart disease risk.

A study involving 850 Chinese adults demonstrated that consuming buckwheat was linked to decreased blood pressure and improved blood lipid profiles, characterized by lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. This beneficial effect is thought to be attributed to a specific protein in buckwheat that binds to cholesterol in the digestive system, preventing its absorption into the bloodstream.

Buckwheat is a pseudocereal, meaning it's not a traditional grain that grows on grasses but is still used like other cereals. It's gluten-free, packed with fiber, and contains valuable minerals and plant compounds, notably rutin. Eating buckwheat has been associated with health advantages such as better blood sugar management and enhanced heart health.

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