100% Buckwheat Soba Noodles are a staple in my kitchen, do you use them? I like to use them in stirfrys, but particularly in soups as they cook quickly, hold their structure well and taste delish! Buckwheat is fantastic for celiacs or for those with wheat sensitivies, and research is emerging showing it may play a role in reducing blood glucose levels in individuals with Type 2 Diabetes.
You can buy buckwheat in noodle form, or flour form for pancakes, fritters or whatever else tickles your pickle. Buckwheat is considered a pseudo-cereal, it’s grains are considered a cereal because of the similar chemical composition and use in meals, though botanically it is not considered a cereal like wheat.
Soba noodles are commonly used in Japanese cooking. The biggest producers of buckwheat are China, Russia, Ukraine and Kazakstan, and it is an incredibly efficient crop to grow. Buckwheat absorbs less water and nutrients from the soil than other crops, making it able to grow in areas with low levels of rain and nutrient rich soil. Buckwheat really ticks the box in terms of sustainability and low environmental impact.
Nutritionally, buckwheat has an incredible profile. It is high in protein compared to other cereals, containing anywhere from 8-19% protein (this is content in buckwheat flour) depending on how it is cultivated. Rich in essential amino acids, Buckwheat could prove a valuable source for people who can not tolerate other cereal proteins such as gluten or where the are protein deficiencies (I’m thinking of developing countries where protein sources are scarce and deficiency is widespread).
Buckwheat has relatively impressive iron, manganese and zinc profile for a cereal (or pseudo-cereal). It is high in total and soluble dietary fibre, and contains catechins and polyphenols, with potent antioxidant activity.
There have been numerous studies on buckwheat and the role it could potentially play in the prevention and management of obesity and diabetes. Through the actions of a compound known as D-chrio-inositol, buckwheat has been shown to be effective in lowering blood glucose concentrations by 12-19%. Wowser!
As the incidence in Type 2 Diabetes is continually increasing, as is the number of people with wheat sensitivities, buckwheat could be a vital pantry ingredient for many more people in the future.