(Health Secrets) Trying to escape wheat belly, the extra weight gain caused by eating anything made with today’s wheat? Dr. William Davis has explained in his popular new book Wheat Belly that the genetically altered wheat of today acts as an opiate in the body, causing anyone who eats it on a regular basis to pack in an extra 440 calories a day. This makes getting wheat out of your diet essential if you are serious about being healthy and trim. But wheat is the foundation of many of the traditional goodies loved by almost everyone, and giving them up may seem like to much to bear. The good news is that many of these beloved treats can be made with buckwheat flour, a versatile flour that despite its name, contains absolutely no wheat.
When you substitute buckwheat for real wheat, you get more than relief from wheat belly. Buckwheat is an ancient grain that has survived through history in its original state with all of its nutritional value intact. So far, the scientists have not tampered with buckwheat, and it retains its true integrity as a food. Buckwheat is recognized by the immune system as a food, unlike many of the scientific creations currently flooding the market. So eating buckwheat provoke an immune response and inflammation like foods that have been genetically modified. In fact, buckwheat gives the immune system a healthy boost.
Buckwheat increases immunity by boosting friendly bacteria in the gut
Friendly bacteria normally inhabit the digestive tract in massive numbers, and are the backbone of the immune system. They defend the body against harmful microorganisms and provide protection against food borne and other illnesses. They assist with digestion and make valuable nutrients available for use, such as some of the B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, digestive enzymes such as lactase. They also promote immune system constituents that seek out and destroy cancer cells.
The ecosystem of the digestive tract is fragile and easily disturbed. especially by antibiotics that can completely kill off all friendly bacteria. Steroid drugs like cortisone or prednisone, birth control pills, and chemotherapy can destroy the balance of friendly bacteria leaving room for unfriendly bacteria to flourish. Poor nutrition, chlorinated water, and conventionally produced foods that contain pesticides also create havoc in the friendly bacteria population and place health in jeopardy. All these reasons make it extremely important to eat foods that encourage the growth of friendly bacteria
Buckwheat does just that! A group of rats was fed a buckwheat rich diet for ten days at the Universityof Madrid. An additional group of rats was fed the same diet but without buckwheat. The researchers found that rats receiving buckwheat had a significantly greater amount of friendly bacteria in their digestive tracts than did those in the control group. They also had three additional types of beneficial bacteria that were not present in the controls.
Buckwheat is a gluten-free complete protein
Although most people think of buckwheat as being a grain, it is technically a fruit seed related to rhubarb and sorrel. Buckwheat has been grown in American since colonial days, and was once a common food on tables in the northeast and north central U.S. before being replaced by nutrient poor grains such as wheat.
Although buckwheat has the look, feel, taste, and versatility of grain, it contains no gluten. What it does contain is a full spectrum of essential amino acids, making it one of the few vegetarian sources of complete protein that equals the protein of fish or meat in quality.
Buckwheat has a rich nutty flavor that complements many dishes. Pure buckwheat flour can replace processed white flour almost across the board, and other forms of buckwheat can replace meat in may recipes. Buckwheat is available as flour, and also as groats and kasha, forms that can replace cereal grains.
Buckwheat promotes health just like fruits and vegetables
Scientists have recently discovered that the phenols in buckwheat equal those of fruits and vegetables, when both free and bound phenols are measured. This discovery has clarified what was a mystery as to why studies show populations eating diets high in fiber-rich whole grains consistently have lower risks of colon cancer, while studies concentrating on fiber alone have produced inconsistent results. Studies focused only on fiber have not taken into account the interactive effects and the complete nutrient picture in whole grains.
Research reported at the American Institute for Cancer Research International Conference on Food, Nutrition and Cancer by Rui Hai, Liu, M.D., Ph.D. and his colleagues at Cornell University has shown that the powerful cancer fighting potential of grains is in their wholeness. When any whole grain is refined and the bran and germ are removed, this wholeness is destroyed. The bran and germ of grain contains 83% of its phenolics. Whether from fruits and vegetables or grains, phenolics are powerful antioxidants that work in multiple ways to prevent disease.
Buckwheat’s lignans prevent breast cancer and heart disease
Whole grains such as buckwheat are one of the best sources for lignans which can be converted in the gut into mammalian lignans. Scientists think that one such lignan type, enterolactone, protects against breast and other hormone dependent cancers by competing with hormones to fill hormone receptors. This lignan also offers protection against heart disease. Women eating the most whole grains have been found to have significantly high blood levels of this lignan.
Buckwheat controls blood sugar and reduces risk of diabetes
Buckwheat has been shown to help control blood sugar in a study reported by The Worlds Healthiest Foods. In a test comparing the effects on blood sugar of whole buckwheat groats to bread made from refined wheat flour, the groats significantly lowered blood glucose and insulin responses. Whole buckwheat scored highest in the ability to satisfy hunger.
Buckwheat is a rich source of magnesium, a mineral that acts as a co-factor for more than 300 enzymes including those involved in the body’s use of glucose and insulin secretion. Women who ate the most foods high in magnesium had a 24 percent lower risk of diabetes compared to women who ate the least.
The ability of buckwheat to lower the insulin response also helps it prevent and reduce obesity and gallstones. Its insoluble fiber not only speeds intestinal transit time, but reduces the secretion of bile acids which contribute to gallstone formation.
Buckwheat is high in flavonoids
Some of buckwheat’s beneficial effects are due to its rich supply of the flavonoid rutin. Flavonoids are phyonutrients that protect against disease by extending the action of vitamin C, and by acting as antioxidants on their own. The lipid-lowering activity of buckwheat is largely due to these compounds. They help maintain blood flow, keep platelets from excessive clotting, and protect LDL cholesterol from free radical oxidation. Each of these activities adds to heart health.
Raw sprouted buckwheat is the best buckwheat
Raw sprouted buckwheat offers the ultimate in healthy eating since the sprouting process releases all of its nutrients and preserves enzymes. Raw buckwheat groats can be sprouted and dehydrated at low temperature to make crunchy cereal. Add fruit and honey, and kids love it as well as adults. Sprouted groats can be ground to make sprouted buckwheat flower for the ultimate in healthy buckwheat pancakes and waffles. Several companies offer raw sprouted buckwheat groats online for those interested in saving time and work.
Fabulous Buckwheat Pancakes
Organic Butter for coating the skillet or griddle
1 and 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
3 Tbsp cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 Tbsp organic butter – melted
2 cups buttermilk
1 egg (optional –if you like your pancakes extra fluffy, put it in)
While you mix up the batter, heat your skillet or griddle.
Whisk together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl. In another bowl, add melted butter to the half the buttermilk, and if you are using an egg, beat it first and then add it to the buttermilk mixture. Slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients. Then add the rest of the buttermilk, a bit at a time and you are mixing until you get a smooth, pourable consistence. You may not need all of the buttermilk. Stir only until mixed and don’t worry about lumps.
Put about a teaspoon of butter in the skillet or on the griddle, and be sure the surface is coated. Ladle enough batter to make a 4 or 5 inch pancake (a half cup of batter should make a 4 inch pancake). Cook on medium low until bubbles form at the center of the pancake (2 or 3 minutes). Flip the pancake over and cook for another minute or two — until nicely browned on the bottom.
To keep cooked pancakes warm, put on the rack in a warmed oven, or stack on a plate and cover with a towel. Be sure to re-butter the skillet or gribble before you put in more batter. Serve with plenty of organic butter and real maple syrup.
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