15 Interesting Facts About Buckwheat

Buckwheat facts


Buckwheat is an ancient grain that has been cultivated for thousands of years, yet many people know little about this nutritional powerhouse. Despite its name, buckwheat is not actually related to wheat but is a gluten-free pseudocereal packed with antioxidants, protein, and minerals.

Originally domesticated in Southeast Asia, buckwheat has been used in traditional cuisines around the world. However, it fell out of favor during the 20th century with the rise of nitrogen fertilizers that boosted yields of other crops like wheat and corn.

Recently, buckwheat has experienced a resurgence in popularity due to the health food movement and demand for ancient grains. As people seek out alternative gluten-free whole foods, nutrient-dense buckwheat is making its way back into modern diets.

Buckwheat. Organic raw dry Buckwheat grains background
Buckwheat. Organic raw dry Buckwheat grains background

1. Buckwheat is not actually a grain

Buckwheat is considered a pseudocereal, meaning it is not technically a grass like wheat or oats. However, it is used similarly to other cereals. The seed is harvested from the buckwheat plant, which is related to rhubarb and sorrel.

2. It has more protein than regular wheat

Buckwheat is a great source of high-quality plant-based protein1. It contains all 8 essential amino acids, including lysine which is lacking in regular wheat. One cup of buckwheat delivers 6 grams of protein, more than traditional cereals like rice or corn.

3. Buckwheat can lower your risk of diabetes

The fiber in buckwheat helps slow digestion and stabilize blood sugar levels. Studies show that eating buckwheat can lower blood sugar and insulin responses, which may reduce the risk of diabetes. The antioxidants rutin and quercetin in buckwheat also improve insulin sensitivity.

4. It promotes heart health

Buckwheat is rich in rutin, a powerful antioxidant that strengthens capillaries and prevents plaque formation in blood vessels. The magnesium in buckwheat relaxes blood vessels and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Overall, buckwheat supports cardiovascular health and reduces heart disease risk.

5. Buckwheat may ease digestive issues


The high fiber content of buckwheat makes it beneficial for digestion. Buckwheat acts as a prebiotic that feeds the good bacteria in the gut microbiome. It also adds bulk to stools and may help relieve constipation. Buckwheat is a smart choice for anyone with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

6. It boosts immunity due to high flavonoid content

Buckwheat contains anti-inflammatory phytonutrients like flavonoids, particularly rutin and quercetin. These compounds boost immunity by fighting free radicals and inflammation. Rutin also helps produce more antibodies and disease-fighting cells.

7. Buckwheat is a rich source of folate

Buckwheat contains high amounts of folate, providing about 65% of the recommended daily intake in just one cup. Folate is a B vitamin that is vital for cell growth and development. It helps produce red blood cells and genetic material like DNA. During pregnancy, folate is critical to prevent neural tube defects in babies.

8. It was essential for Soviet cosmonauts

Buckwheat was a staple food for Soviet cosmonauts during space missions in the 20th century. It was lightweight, stored well, and provided balanced nutrition. Buckwheat groats were even used to develop synthetic food sources on space stations.

9. Buckwheat tea has calming properties

Buckwheat tea is made from roasted buckwheat groats and has a pleasant, earthy taste. It contains an amino acid called tryptophan which is a natural mood regulator. Sipping buckwheat tea induces relaxation and can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep.

10. The flowers provide food for bees

Many beautiful buckwheat flowers growing in the field. Agriculture scene.
Many beautiful buckwheat flowers growing in the field. Agriculture scene.

Buckwheat flowers provide nectar that attracts honey bees and other pollinating insects. Buckwheat honey is dark, rich, and flavorful with hints of molasses. When bees pollinate the flowers, it improves buckwheat yields and quality.

11. It has been cultivated in Asia for centuries

Buckwheat originated in Southeast Asia and was domesticated around 6000 BC. It has been grown in the mountainous regions of China, Japan, and Korea for centuries. Buckwheat noodles called soba are popular in Japanese cuisine.

12. Buckwheat pillows improve sleep quality

Pillow case stuffed with buckwheat hulls isolated on white background
Pillow case stuffed with buckwheat hulls isolated on white background

Buckwheat hull pillows conform to the shape of the head and neck to provide proper spinal alignment during sleep. The micro-ventilation in the pillows also keeps the head cool. Buckwheat pillows are firm yet comfortable for back, side, and stomach sleepers.

13. It grows fast with few pest problems

Buckwheat is easy to grow and matures quickly in just 10-12 weeks. It does not require much water or fertilizer. Buckwheat has few natural pests due to the presence of rutin, making it easy to grow organically. The plant also improves soil quality for future crops.

14. Buckwheat can be used to make gluten-free beer

Buckwheat can be malted and used to brew gluten-free beer. It provides the enzymes needed for starch conversion during brewing. Buckwheat malt imparts a distinctive flavor to beer and gives it a rich, dark color. Those with celiac disease can enjoy buckwheat beer safely.

15. NASA is studying buckwheat for long-term space missions

Buckwheat  food and NASA

NASA is conducting research on growing buckwheat in space2, even for manned missions to Mars. Buckwheat is nutritious, and compact and grows well hydroponically without soil or pesticides. The ability to produce food in space reduces payload and makes long-duration space travel more feasible.


Buckwheat has earned its superfood status thanks to an impressive nutritional profile that provides a wealth of benefits. From boosting heart health to improving digestion, this versatile grain has rightfully earned a place in health-conscious kitchens.

With a pleasant, nutty flavor and textured crunch, buckwheat adds interest to both savory and sweet dishes. Explore new ways to enjoy buckwheat, from soba noodles to pancakes and everything in between. Allow this ancient grain to play a starring role in your meals and reap the rewards of its unique health perks.


Buckwheat is not actually a grain, but a gluten-free pseudocereal. It comes from the seed of the buckwheat plant, which is related to rhubarb and sorrel. The seeds are ground into flour or processed into groats that can be enjoyed in many dishes.

Yes, buckwheat is very nutritious. It provides protein, fiber, antioxidants, minerals like magnesium and iron, and beneficial plant compounds. Research shows buckwheat may improve heart health, blood sugar levels, digestion, immunity, and more.

There are many ways to enjoy buckwheat. It can be used to make pancakes, soba noodles, porridge, granola, muffins, bread, and more. Buckwheat flour works well in gluten-free baking. Buckwheat groats make a great alternative to rice or quinoa.

Buckwheat has an earthy, nutty flavor. It is more robust than traditional grains like rice or wheat. When roasted, buckwheat groats take on a deeper, toastier flavor. The taste of buckwheat works well in both savory and sweet dishes.

Yes, buckwheat is naturally gluten-free so it is safe for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Always check labels since buckwheat is often processed alongside wheat, but certified gluten-free buckwheat products will not contain any gluten.

Buckwheat can be found in most grocery stores, health food stores, and online. Look for raw buckwheat groats, buckwheat flour, soba noodles, and roasted kasha in the grains or gluten-free sections. Make sure to read labels and choose 100% buckwheat.

Buckwheat is affordable, especially when purchased in bulk. It is comparable in price to other whole grains like brown rice, barley or farro. Buckwheat is cheaper than many gluten-free grains like quinoa or amaranth.

  1. Buckwheat proteins are free from gluten ncbi.nlm.nih.gov []
  2. https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/ []

Similar Posts