Many people grew up with a hot bowl of oatmeal for breakfast as a quick, easy and healthy start to the day - which it is. However, there are alternatives to oatmeal that are just as good for you, if not better.
One of these options is buckwheat. The term “wheat” when referring to buckwheat is a bit misleading, as it is not a grain but actually a fruit seed that is closely related to rhubarb. For this reason buckwheat is a great alternative to those with wheat allergies or who are gluten intolerant.
Buckwheat is great for those looking to lead a healthier lifestyle, as its high fiber content (18% daily value per cup) is linked to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. It is also chock full of flavonoids, which help protect against disease by boosting the power of vitamin C as well as acting as an antioxidant. Buckwheat also has 86 mg of magnesium per cup, which improves blood flow and helps to increase the health of your cardiovascular system.
Besides having buckwheat as a breakfast cereal, you can also find buckwheat flour which can be used anywhere normal flour is called for: breads, pancakes, muffins, crepes, etc. The benefit of replacing regular flour with buckwheat flour is that you get a rich source of protein that contains 4 times the iron, 3 times the calcium, and 9 times the amount of magnesium. For those with wheat or gluten sensitivities buckwheat will let you enjoy all the bread and pasta you like, without the tummy ache.
Here is a simple recipe that lets you start the day off on a healthy note. Start with ½ cup of buckwheat kernels. You can either soak them for a half hour before cooking, or soak overnight. Rinse in a strainer and place in a saucepan with 1 cup of milk alternative or water. Add some fruit (banana, apple, raisins, etc.) and some nut butter for extra nutrition and bring to a boil for 10 minutes. As an alternative you can roast the kernels prior to cooking for a nice nutty flavor or you can skip the soaking and lightly grind the buckwheat in a food processor for a smoother consistency. If you're pinched for time in the morning, keep a ground buckwheat on hand. It cooks up fast so you can get that healthy breakfast in before you leave for the day. Delicious!Photo: dandirtyape