Buckwheat has nutritional value as a possible prebiotic (a carbohydrate that prompts the growth of “friendly” bacteria in the digestive tract). That we knew. Now a new study shows that buckwheat may also help diabetics lower blood glucose levels. And when you consider that buckwheat is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids, then you’ve got a food product that’s primed and ready to become the next health-food superstar. But there’s one last thing. IT IS A GRAIN WITHOUT GLUTEN, which is very harmful to the body, which is in most kinds of wheat. (Read how MOST GLUTEN GRAINS are going to glue up the works, so you can’t get vitamins out of what’s in your intestines so you’ll understand how most grain flour ages us.)

Something in the mix


Buckwheat is not a type of wheat or even a grain.  In fact, technically it’s a fruit. And because previous studies have shown that buckwheat may help increase insulin sensitivity, researchers at the Department of Human Nutritional Sciences at the University of Manitoba (UM) in Canada devised a study to examine the effects of buckwheat on elevated blood glucose levels.

The UM scientists chemically induced type 1 diabetes in about 40 laboratory rats. The rats were fed either buckwheat extract or a placebo. When their blood glucose concentrations were measured, the rats given the buckwheat had glucose levels that were reduced 12 to 19 percent. There was no reduction of glucose concentration in any of the rats that received only placebo.

The next step for the UM team will be to duplicate the test in rats induced with type 2 diabetes. The researchers predict that buckwheat will also lower glucose concentrations in the type 2 test. This prediction is based in part on previous studies that have shown how a component of buckwheat called chiro-inositol may prompt cells to become more insulin-sensitive.

In a news release issued by the American Chemical Society, the lead author of the study, Carla G. Taylor, said their research demonstrates that buckwheat may provide diabetics with a “safe, easy and inexpensive way to lower glucose levels and reduce the risk of complications.” But until research can be done with human subjects, the researchers can’t yet estimate just how much buckwheat would need to be eaten to create a beneficial effect on glucose levels.


LIVE FOOD WEBSITE: http://www.living-foods.com/recipes/buckwheat.html

NATURE LIST RECIPES:   http://gfrecipes.com/buckwheat.txt

 REBECCA WOOD’s KASHA  http://www.rwood.com/Recipes/Steamed_Buckwheat.htm

SARABETH’s PANCAKES http://www.sarabeth.com/recipes/recipe.asp?recipe=5

VEGE PARADISE CASSAROLE: http://www.vegparadise.com/highestperch2.html

Helping the good guys


Whether you eat buckwheat products to help with glucose concentrations or to reap the benefits of B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, there is another potential health benefit to eating buckwheat. As I said in the June e-Alert, researchers in Madrid, Spain, used a trial with rats to demonstrate that buckwheat may act as a prebiotic, encouraging the growth of probiotics - or friendly bacteria - in the digestive tract.

At HSI we’ve written many times about the necessity of probiotic organisms. In a healthy individual, these beneficial bacteria inhabit the digestive tract in massive numbers, crowding out harmful bacteria, aiding digestion, and supporting immune function. This healthy “gut flora” produces valuable nutrients (including certain B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids), digestive enzymes like lactase, and immune chemicals that fight harmful bacteria and even cancer cells.

But this critical ecosystem is fragile and can be easily disturbed by any number of factors, including poor nutrition, stress, surgery, parasitic infestation, and synthetic drugs. When the number or activity level of your good bacteria drops too low, it opens the door for harmful bacteria to proliferate, allowing the opportunity for diseases to develop.

Sufficient amounts of intestinal flora can be maintained through dietary sources such as cultured products like yogurt and kefir, and lignans such as flaxseed, carrots, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, millet, and...  buckwheat!


The way of the buckwheat


Allan Spreen, M.D., asked for his opinion on buckwheat,  reminded us of the acronym “BROW,” which can help us remember which grains pose potential problems for diabetics. Dr. Spreen said: “Barley, rye, oat, and wheat (BROW) are the high-gluten grains, so buckwheat would be fine in their stead, as it is not a gluten-containing product. Buckwheat is a good flour to use for lots of purposes because it is difficult to refine, so to my knowledge they don’t bother.

“As an aside, for those who are trying to go ‘gluten-free,’ oat seems to not bother gluten-sensitive people that much, though it’s in the BROW group. Personally, I’ve seen lots of people allergic to wheat but able to tolerate both barley and oat. Unprocessed forms are better, of course.”

A search on the Internet will quickly turn up several sources that sell buckwheat. And many of those web sites also provide buckwheat recipes that go beyond pancakes, waffles, and noodles; the three food items that buckwheat is most well known for. But if you do whip up some buckwheat waffles, you might try sweetening them with buckwheat honey, which happens to have much higher antioxidant levels than typical lighter honeys.

It seems you just can’t go wrong when you go with the buckwheat! BUT MAPLE syrup is also not a diabetic sweetner!



If you want to spice up your holidays, here’s some healthy spice advice. A US Department of Agriculture study of 60 type 2 diabetics revealed that one gram of cinnamon taken daily, over a course of 40 days, improved management of blood sugar levels, as well as triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Some of the subjects took three grams of cinnamon per day, and others took six grams per day, but none of the subjects in these two groups showed an increased benefit over the group that took one gram per day. One gram of cinnamon is less than half a teaspoon.

Researchers continued to monitor the study participants after the 40-day trial, and found that the subjects’ overall blood sugar levels began rising when the cinnamon intake was discontinued.

Based on these promising results, the USDA team called for longer-term studies of cinnamon, which would also include an examination of any potential health problems that might arise from regular ingestion of cinnamon.

As for increasing the cinnamon in your diet right now, lead researcher Richard Anderson cautioned against eating more cinnamon buns or apple pies. “The key is to add cinnamon to what you would eat normally,” he told New Scientist.com.

In other words, cinnamon SUGAR won’t provide any benefit to blood sugar levels, in case you thought you found a loophole.



The classic recipe is fish soup. Simmere fish two minutes, low heat so it’s clear broth. Simmer veggies of choice in clarified chicken broth, a few small pieces cut up ginger there, too. My favorites would be broccoli, chard, carrot, cabbage, onion, seaweed.

Simmer soba noodles, 2 oz per person, they fluff up in water. I make it for myself so it’s a single serving of dry noodles. I buy them on sale at oriental supermarkets, 3 lbs, keep in bag in fridge. Drain noodles and set in the fish broth. Add shredded black shitake mushroom, the dried kind. That I keep in a bag in freezer. Add sesame oil, soy sauce, now throw in the simmered vegetables with their broth.  (Rent the Japanese movie TAMPOPO which is about ramen soup.) SOBA NOODLES are bought on sale, 3lbs for $4.99 at a Korean/ Japanese or Chinese grocery. They’re in about twenty bundles, inside, in a big packg. And I keep them in the fridge in a plastic bag, tightly wrapped. That pckg will last a few months. Avoid getting a single bundle as you will fall in love with this soup. I toast sesame seeds once a month, keep in a box in fridge. Garnish soup with them and use sesame oil and soy sauce in the finished soup, squeeze of lime juice also. SEE BENT CAN SOUP article. And the  SOUP MIX SECRETS! RECIPE COLLECTION