Despite its recent rise to fame, buckwheat is actually an ancient grain with a long history. It has been eaten in Asian and Eastern European countries for centuries, but is now becoming increasingly popular in the west due to its many health benefits.
While buckwheat is often thought of as a cereal grain, it is actually a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb and sorrel. However, because its seeds are rich in complex carbohydrates, it is sometimes referred to as a pseudo-cereal.
While it is not a true grain, it can be used like one in cooking and is a delicious alternative to couscous, bulgur wheat, rice and pasta.
Buckwheat is high in protein and fibre. It is rich in many trace minerals, including manganese, magnesium and copper and is a good source of the B vitamins. It also contains relatively few calories (66 calories for an 80g cooked portion, 40g uncooked) and practically no fat. Buckwheat also ranks low on the glycaemic scale. In fact buckwheat is so packed with nutrients and antioxidants that it is often referred to as a “superfood”.