Buckwheat Protein - Nutritional Profile, Health Benefits and Trends
Plant proteins are gaining popularity as a sustainable means to fulfill the global protein demand due to their lower carbon footprint.[i] Supplement brand owners can tap into this growing protein supplement market with protein derived from buckwheat.
What is Buckwheat?
Buckwheat is a pseudocereal (seeds consumed as cereal grains but don’t grow on grasses) and not related to wheat at all.[ii] Examples of pseudocereal include quinoa and amaranth. Buckwheat produces a gluten-free seed that can be milled, roasted, or processed. Its groats consist of beneficial components like proteins, vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, antioxidants, and bioactive polyphenols.
Common Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) and Tartary buckwheat (Fagopyrum tartaricum) are popularly grown varieties of buckwheat.[iii]
This article talks about everything you need to know about buckwheat before you tap into its potential and add it to your dietary supplement product. Keep scrolling to read more.
Buckwheat Nutritional Profile
Buckwheat consists of a range of healthy nutrients. It works as a good source of protein, minerals, and healthy carbohydrates.
168 grams or 1 cup of roasted/cooked buckwheat contains[iv]:
- Calories: 343
- Protein: 13.3 grams
- iber: 10 grams
- Carbs: 71.5 grams
- Sugar: 0 grams
- Fat: 3.4 grams
- Water: 10%
Buckwheat’s main constituents are carbs, making up to 20% of the boiled groats. Carbs in buckwheat come in the form of starch – the primary storage form in plants.
Buckwheat scores low to medium on the glycemic index (GI). Glycemic index is a scale that determines how quickly can a type of food cause a person’s blood sugar to rise. Foods that have a high glycemic index can cause harmful blood sugar spikes in people with diabetes. Buckwheat, fortunately, may not cause an unhealthy increase in blood sugar levels.
A good source of fiber, buckwheat supports a healthy digestive system. The fiber found in Buckwheat is also good for maintaining colon health. If you're wondering how, buckwheat’s husk consists of resistant starch (resistant to digestion) and is categorized as fiber. This starch is fermented by the bacteria in the colon, which then produce SCFAs or short-chain fatty acids like butyrate.[vii] [viii]
These SCFAs provide nutrition for the cells lining your colon, helping improve gut health.
When it comes to protein content, buckwheat overshadows most grains. Cooked buckwheat contains twice as much protein as oatmeal – about 5.7 grams of protein per cup.
Boiled buckwheat groats contain 3.4% of protein by weight.[ix]
Is Buckwheat a Complete Protein?
Uncommon in plant foods, buckwheat contains all the essential amino acids – making it a complete protein source. This well-balanced amino acid profile makes the protein in buckwheat of very high quality, too.
Vitamins and Minerals in Buckwheat
The mineral content in buckwheat is higher than commonly used cereals like wheat, rice, and corn. But the vitamin profile may be low. Tartary buckwheat contains more nutrients than the usual buckwheat variety.
What Are the Vitamins Present in Buckwheat?
Buckwheat usually contains the following vitamins[x]:
- Thiamine or vitamin B1: Helps the body convert carbohydrates into energy. This energy is essential for the functioning of the brain and nervous system.[xi]
- Niacin or vitamin B3: This vitamin also helps in breaking down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into energy. It also assists in removing harmful chemicals from the liver and participates in producing hormones in the adrenal gland.[xii]
- Folate or vitamin B9: B9 is crucial for red blood cell formation, healthy cell function, and growth. This vitamin is important during early pregnancy to help reduce the risk of brain and spine defects.[xiii]
- Riboflavin: Essential for overall growth and development of the body, this vitamin helps break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins for energy production. It is also important for eye health and deciding how the body processes iron.[xiv]
- Vitamin K: This nutrient is required for keeping the body healthy and happy. Vitamin K is important for blood clotting and maintaining bone health.[xv]
- Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine: Apart from helping the body convert carbs into energy like other B vitamins, vitamin B6 is important for producing white blood cells and T cells that help regulate immune responses.[xvi] [xvii]
What Are the Minerals Present in Buckwheat?
Here's a list of minerals along with their benefits present in Buckwheat [xviii]
- Manganese: This mineral is crucial for growth, development, healthy metabolism, and the body’s antioxidant defenses.
- Magnesium: Sufficient dietary intake of magnesium is important for cardiovascular and muscle health.
- Copper: This essential trace element can benefit heart health.
- Iron: Iron deficiency can lead to anemia as it is one of the most important nutrients for helping maintain the RBC count.
- Phosphorous: This mineral is important for the maintenance and growth of the body.
- Interesting fact: Buckwheat is low in phytic acid, a common inhibitor of mineral absorption in seeds and grains. So, we can safely say that minerals in Buckwheat are more readily absorbed.
What Other Compounds Are Present in Buckwheat?
Buckwheat is a rich source of antioxidants. It provides more antioxidants than most cereal grains like wheat, rye, barley, and oats. This gluten-free pseudocereal contains the following plant compounds:
- Rutin: A type of antioxidant polyphenol, rutin may support immune and cardiovascular health.
- Quercetin: This antioxidant compound may also help support immune and cardiovascular health.
- D-chiro-inositol: A unique soluble carb, this compound helps support health blood sugar metabolism.
What Are the Health Benefits of Buckwheat?
Buckwheat offers an array of health benefits, some of which include:
- Maintaining heart health
- Supporting digestion
- Weight and cholesterol management
- Promoting blood sugar metabolism
Also, buckwheat is gluten-free, making it an amazing alternative to whole grains – especially for people on gluten-free diets or those with gluten allergies.[xix]
Buckwheat Market Trends
The growing demand for gluten-free as well as healthy and nutritious food, is anticipated to trigger the buckwheat market. A recent report concluded that at least 20 to 25 million Americans suffer from varicose veins. Buckwheat has the potential to help treat varicose veins. This proves to be a boon for brand owners planning to tap into the billion-dollar buckwheat market.[xx]
Moreover, the global buckwheat market is expected to reach $1.4 billion from 2020-2025, growing at a CAGR of 2.7%[xxi]
Buckwheat is a type of pseudocereal rich in proteins, fiber, minerals, and vitamins – making it an ideal nutrition source. Also, the added benefit of being gluten-free, vegan, and a superfood makes it a perfect dietary supplement ingredient. If you’re interested in capitalizing on this growing market, reach out to NutraScience Labs today. We'll work with you through every step in your supplement manufacturing journey - from initial conversation to finished product!
With over 120 years of nutraceutical industry experience, we've helped more than 2,300 brand owners create high-quality dietary supplement products that exceed their expectations. In addition to providing best-in-class contract manufacturing services, we also provide award-winning packaging and labeling and convenient order fulfillment services.
For more information on how to get started with us, call 855-492-7388 to speak with one of our knowledgeable production specialists or send us your request to receive a free manufacturing price quote!