Wondering what in the world buckwheat is? You’re in the right place. In this post, we are going to break down what buckwheat is, how it is considered gluten-free as well as Paleo, and how farming this crop benefits the environment! Since buckwheat is a star ingredient in our line of PACHA breads, we want to shine some light on some of its magic – so here we go!
What is Buckwheat?
Buckwheat is considered a ‘pseudo-grain’ or ‘pseudo-cereal', making it an ideal gluten-free grain alternative. Despite its misleading name, buckwheat is actually a seed, full of essential nutrients and minerals! Because buckwheat contains phytochemicals like rutin and quercetin, it is a helpful ingredient for preventing inflammation that contributes to chronic disease. Naturally, buckwheat contains high levels of antioxidants and fiber; so, when incorporated consistently in one’s diet, buckwheat can help fight against heart disease, high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes. Here at PACHA, we take the dietary advantages of buckwheat one step further by soaking and sprouting our seeds in order to maximize the nutritional index of our delicious bread (read more about this process here).
Besides its health benefits, buckwheat is also known for its nutty, toasty flavor that truly shines through in our Simple and 3 Seed Sourdough varieties!
Is Buckwheat Paleo?
The answer may depend on your definition of the Paleo diet, but hear us out. It is important to note that the Paleo diet can encompass a broader spectrum of ideals. While some dieters interpret Paleo to mean ONLY consuming foods our Paleolithic ancestors ate, others care more about the concept of eating foods that are simple, unprocessed, and that occur in wild ecosystems, which is very similar to how early humans ate.
Basically, one of the main arguments for a Paleo diet is that after the agricultural revolution, humans began consuming an excessive amount of grains and legumes. These agricultural products— which are the seeds that plants disperse in order to reproduce— contain compounds that are supposed to protect the seed so that it can grow into a new plant when it finds fertile soil. Some of these compounds are anti-nutrients, which bind to the vitamins and minerals that occur naturally in other foods we consume, preventing the body from absorbing them. In other words, these grains and legumes we ingest can hog the vitamins and minerals our bodies need in order to thrive. Because of this, Paleo dieters should be mindful of the presence of lectin and other anti-nutrients in food.
At PACHA, we soak and sprout ALL of our buckwheat so that the seeds shed their phytic acid and antinutrients, maximizing the nutritional index of our bread. So although there is no evidence that our paleolithic ancestors actually consumed buckwheat, because sprouted buckwheat has such a nourishing nutritional profile and is essentially free from phytic acid and anti-nutrients, it is a great choice for someone seeking to eat like our ancient ancestors.
Environmental Benefits of Buckwheat?
Buckwheat is known for being a cover crop, meaning that it improves soil health and protects land from erosion. To help maintain biodiversity and land fertility, farmers plant buckwheat, which keeps the soil moist. On top of this, buckwheat attracts important pollinators to the area with its beautiful flowers, benefitting the crop’s own success as well as growth for neighboring crops! You can read more about regenerative agriculture and cover crops here.
At PACHA, we believe buckwheat is the future of bread! Not only is it packed with an abundance of nutrients and antioxidants, buckwheat is also friendly for gluten-free, Paleo, FODMAP, and vegan dieters. To make it even better, buckwheat sustains healthy farming environments because of its role as a cover crop!
We are proud to use buckwheat as a primary ingredient in our scrumptious loaves— once you try buckwheat bread, you can’t go back. Click here to shop our collection of tasty buckwheat loaves!