What is buckwheat?
Despite its name buckwheat is actually a seed more related to the rhubarb family than to the wheat grain. This humble seed is a powerhouse of nutrition. It is a source of easily digestible high quality protein with alkaline properties and contains all 8 essential amino acids that the body requires to function properly.
In the paleo diet, along with amaranth and quinoa , buckwheat is considered a pseudo-grain, which means it is not actually a grain. Despite its misleading name it is also naturally lower in calories, gluten free and higher in protein when compared to grains such as wheat, barley or oats.
What’s the fuss about anti-nutrients?
Beside the understanding that we should eat the food groups that our ancestors ate, the paleo diet also suggests that in order to protect the lining of the gut we should eliminate the foods which cause harm.
“The leaky gut” can be the result of eating foods that contain lectins and enzyme inhibitors which block the absorption of vitamins, minerals and protein. These can be found in grains, dairy and legumes.
For example two such compounds are saponins and lectins which act as a detergent in the human body, however they are also the plants natural preservative & self-defence system. In other words a nut or seed has its own in-built preservative which gets released when it is soaked or begins to sprout. This is why a nut or seed can last thousands of years dormant underground.
You can find these compounds in vegetables and fruits as well but in a much lower level which the body is therefore able to handle. However, in grains and legumes these anti-nutrients are present at a higher level which can affect the cells and the nutrient absorption properties. http://realeverything.com/how-do-grains-legumes-and-dairy-cause-a-leaky-gut-part-2-saponins-and-protease-inhibitors/
Another anti-nutrient is phytate, the main phosphorus storage in plants, is resistant to digestive enzymes and blocks the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals such as Zinc, Magnesium and Calcium.
In order to break down phytate and eliminate this anti-nutrient effect we need phytase. Our body doesn’t produce this compound therefore we need to limit the phytate intake. This is one of the reasons the paleo diet restrict all grains and legumes as they have a high phytate level. http://thepaleodiet.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/paleo-diet-q-sprouted-legumes.html
Now here is the fun part:
Soaking ingredients and sprouting drastically reduces, if not eliminates entirely the anti-nutrient content in pseudo-grains like buckwheat, quinoa or amaranth. Hence making buckwheat to many Paleo Vegetarians, Paleo Athlete’s and Renowned Paleo Chef’s a suitable, acceptable and recommended grain alternative to the Paleo Diet. (Please see references below.)
What is sprouting?
Our great ancestors figured out that by soaking and sprouting seeds, nuts and legumes they become more digestible and provide higher nutritional value. Why? When the nut or seed is soaked it is activated and the dormant enzymes inherent inside start to awaken. Basically the nut or seed is preparing to burst into life and this is the optimum time to de-hydrate or consume them whilst they are at their enzymic peak and bursting with life-force! http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-sprouting
Ok so there are no grains in paleo and we need to sprout like crazy. But how are these two connected?
As we have mentioned earlier, buckwheat is a seed (pseudo-grain). It is also a good source of protein, packed full of amino acids which provide an array of nutritional benefits for your body. Whether cooked or sprouted buckwheat is a great source of nutrition, however, it is very starchy and components (saponins and lecitins) are present unless you germinate.
By soaking then sprouting the buckwheat seeds, the anti-nutrient content is dramatically decreased, if not eliminated, which makes sprouted buckwheat a perfect alternative to grain in the Paleo diet. Sprouting is also positively increases phytase which helps to reduce or eliminate the negative affect of the anti-nutrient, phytate.
Yes we know it’s a bit scientific but the sake of our lovely buckwheat we feel it’s worth the explanation.
With a lower carbohydrate content and high protein levels, sprouted buckwheat is a good option to paleo athletes as well as great addition in the vegetarian paleo diet. http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-sprouting
What are the experts saying?
Loren Cordain says: “We can consume grain sprouts without fear of anti-nutrients. However, legume sprouts still appear to contain considerable concentrations of saponins–the secondary compounds responsible for increasing gut permeability. Alfalfa sprouts (which are actually in the pea family) have an especially high concentration.”
Chef Pete Evens – Creator of the Paleo Way – a 10 week re-boot program .
Here is Pete’s paleo food list:
· 100 per cent grass-fed and grass-finished meat (cattle that live entirely on a forage diet) and organ meats
· Pasture-raised poultry and game
· Free-range pork
· Wild-caught species of small seafood such as bivalves (mussels, scallops and oysters)
· Organic eggs
· Nuts and seeds (plus quinoa, millet and buckwheat if sprouted/fermented)
· Some seasonal fruit
· Lots of organic leafy green and colourful vegetables and fermented veg in every meal
Now you know that if buckwheat is prepared properly, meaning soaked and sprouted, anti-nutrients are eliminated, so this wonderful naturally gluten free seed is perfectly suitable on the paleo diet and really to any diet.
Here at Raw Gorilla we love buckwheat, we are a raw & sprouted brand which happens to be paleo friendly as we don’t use grains. We are also the only company in the UK/Europe to tick of all these boxes yet also being organic and truly raw under 42C.
If you would like to find out more on anti-nutrients, paleo diet and suitable foods visit the following links: