Is Buckwheat Gluten Free? Unlock the Secret!

Written by Dr. Amber Jones
On

Gluten-free diets have become increasingly popular, with many people eliminating gluten for health, dietary, or medical reasons. For those following a gluten-free diet, knowing what foods and ingredients are naturally gluten-free is important. One ingredient that often comes up is buckwheat - so is buckwheat gluten-free?

Buckwheat is naturally gluten-free. Unlike wheat and some other common grains, buckwheat does not contain the proteins glutenin and gliadin, which together form gluten in wheat.

So products made from pure buckwheat contain no gluten and are considered gluten-free. This makes buckwheat and buckwheat flour safe for people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

What Exactly Is Buckwheat? 

Buckwheat Food Item

Buckwheat, despite its name, is not related to wheat and does not contain gluten. Buckwheat is the seed from a fruit related to rhubarb. The triangle-shaped seeds are used to make buckwheat flour, groats, noodles, and more. Buckwheat has become popular because it is nutritious, easy to grow, and gluten-free.

As a whole grain, buckwheat delivers fiber, antioxidants, and important vitamins and minerals like manganese, magnesium, copper, and iron.

Since it is one of the few naturally gluten-free pseudocereal grains, buckwheat is a great choice for anyone following a gluten-free diet, whether due to celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or simply by choice.

Types of Buckwheat

There are a few different varieties of buckwheat, but the most common types used for food are common buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) and tartary buckwheat (Fagopyrum tataricum).

Tartary buckwheat generally has a stronger flavor and is most often used to make noodles and soba noodles. Common buckwheat is used more often for buckwheat flour. No matter the variety, all buckwheat is naturally gluten-free, making it a safe ingredient.

Health Benefits of Buckwheat

We have already answered the question - is buckwheat gluten-free? But beyond being gluten-free, buckwheat offers impressive health benefits.

It provides high-quality carbohydrates, all eight essential amino acids needed for growth and repair, and various vitamins and minerals. Some of the top nutrients found in buckwheat include:

  • Manganese: Whole grains like buckwheat are among the richest sources of manganese. Just one cup of buckwheat flour provides over 90% of the recommended daily intake. Manganese supports bone health, nutrient absorption, metabolism, and blood sugar regulation.
  • Magnesium: Buckwheat is an excellent source of Magnesium. Magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body and supports muscle, nerve, and immune function.
  • Copper: An important mineral, copper helps form red blood cells, maintain nerve cells, support collagen production, and improve immune function. Buckwheat provides around 20% of the RDI per cup cooked.
  • Protein: High-quality plant-based proteins are beneficial for health. Buckwheat contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source. Per cup cooked, buckwheat provides around 6 grams of protein.
  • Fiber: With almost 5 grams of fiber in each cooked cup, buckwheat helps regulate digestion. Fiber also lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

So, is buckwheat gluten-free? - yes. Does it provide health benefits? - yes. However, there are some drawbacks to buckwheat. Let’s explore what they are. 

Antioxidants Bind with Harmful Substances

Buckwheat also contains antioxidant compounds like rutin, quercetin, and bound phenolic acids. These antioxidants bind with harmful substances and prevent oxidative damage to cells.

In particular, rutin is linked to reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, and improving blood flow. The high antioxidant and nutrient content contribute to the many health benefits attributed to buckwheat.

It is also naturally gluten-free and easy to find. Whether you have celiac disease, a wheat allergy, or simply want to follow a gluten-free diet, being aware of gluten-free whole grains like buckwheat is important. Substituting buckwheat flour for regular flour is an easy way to boost nutrition.

8 Gluten-Free Grains That Are Super Healthy

Whether you have celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or choose to avoid gluten for other reasons, the following 8 grains make fantastic gluten-free additions to any diet. These nutrient-rich options prove that eating gluten-free does not have to be restrictive or boring.

  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa
  • Amaranth
  • Millet
  • Sorghum
  • Teff
  • Rice (brown, white, wild, etc.)
  • Oats (certified gluten-free)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Is buckwheat related to wheat?

A: No, buckwheat is not related to wheat at all despite its name. It is the seed of a plant related to rhubarb.

Q2:  is buckwheat gluten-free?

A: No, buckwheat does not naturally contain any gluten proteins. Pure buckwheat and buckwheat flour are completely gluten-free.

Q3: Can people with celiac disease eat buckwheat?

A: Yes, buckwheat is safe for people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivities to eat since it does not contain gluten.

Conclusion

So in summary, buckwheat does not contain gluten. It is not a type of wheat at all but a seed from the buckwheat plant, related to rhubarb. This means that pure buckwheat and buckwheat flour provide a healthy and safe gluten-free option.

The gluten-free nature of buckwheat along with its stellar nutritional profile make it a great choice for any diet. It delivers a nutritious source of carbohydrates, complete protein containing all essential amino acids, and various vitamins and minerals.

These nutrients contribute to the many health benefits of buckwheat, including lowered blood pressure and cholesterol, balanced blood sugar levels, and relief from intestinal issues. What other nourishing gluten-free grains that you enjoy? Share your picks for the community. 

References

  • Agu, R. C. , Chiba, Y. , Good fellow, V. , Mackinlay, J. , Brosnan, J. M. , Bringhurst, T. A. , Jack, F. , Harrison, B. , Pearson, S. Y. , & Bryce, J. H. (2012). Effect of germination temperatures on proteolysis of the gluten‐free grains rice and buckwheat during malting and mashing. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 60, 10147–10154. 
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22950683/
  • Zieliński, H. , Honke, J. , Topolska, J. , Bączek, N. , Piskuła, M. K. , Wiczkowski, W. , & Wronkowska, M. (2020). ACE inhibitory properties and Phenolics profile of fermented flours and of baked and digested biscuits from buckwheat. Food, 9(7), 847. 
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7404683/

Our recommendations are rooted in genuine belief in the benefits of the products bring to users. When you purchase through our links, we may earn a commission, supporting our testing and development without adding any cost for you. Learn more.

Amber Jones is a sought-after dietitian nutritionist with expertise in public and community health. She holds a Masters in Public Health from Yale University and completed her dietetic internship with the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center

Learn More

Leave a Comment