Sourdough bread is becoming popular across the nation for more reasons than one. It is not only arguably more nutritious than conventional breads, it is also easier to digest and has a unique flavor profile many prefer. Sourdough refers to exactly what it sounds like- “sour” or fermented dough shaped and baked just like other breads, but with the addition of a fermentation process. The fermentation process allows the bread to be more digestible and gives it that unmistakable tangy flavor and scent many detect when eating sourdough breads or products.1 Truly well-fermented sourdough breads are high in lactic acid bacteria, which help to break down the gluten proteins, giving the bread its easy-to-digest qualities.1 Although there are many types of sourdough bread available, not all are created equal. Buckwheat sourdough offers the unique combination of being both highly digestible and gluten free- a huge bonus, especially for those living with autoimmune diseases.
Buckwheat is considered to be a pseudocereal. Pseudocereals are seeds that are eaten like grains but are not grown from grass like traditional wheat. Other commonly known pseudocereals are amaranth and quinoa. Buckwheat, despite its name, is in no way related to traditional wheat and it makes a terrific gluten-free option to replace more conventional breads or flours for baking.
A Nutrition Powerhouse Safe for Autoimmune Diets
Buckwheat also boasts an impressive nutrient profile; it’s packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and offers numerous therapeutic properties as well!
Top 5 vitamins and minerals found in buckwheat:
- Iron: Helps combat iron deficiency anemia, a lowered oxygen level in the blood which can cause fatigue and metabolic dysfunction
- Copper: Beneficial for heart health and critical for red blood cell production
- Magnesium: Needed by every cell of the body to produce energy and help us recover from both internal and external stressors
- Manganese: Crucial component of energy metabolism and may help lower the risk of certain chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease
- Phosphorus: Essential for the growth and repair of tissue throughout the body
In fact, research has found that buckwheat contains various bioactive components that contribute to its wide variety of health benefits. Studies highlight the potential for buckwheat to support normalized cholesterol levels, protect against cancers, protect the brain, and it may also be supportive for those living with diabetes.2,3 Buckwheat contains high amounts of resveratrol, rutin, and quercetin. These are all polyphenols, or plant chemicals, that have been studied for their beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, preventing numerous cancers, and for counteracting general inflammation in the body.
This highly nutritious pseudocereal also contains at least 100 immune-active nutrients, including a component called D-chiro-inositol. This is a type of carbohydrate found in buckwheat that was identified to help lower blood sugar levels and may even help with long-term management of diabetes. Buckwheat truly provides a wide range of health benefits, on top of being a naturally gluten-free, low-glycemic grain option, that would be beneficial to integrate into your daily food choices.4
Adapting a new food plan is a therapeutic way to unearth the root cause of many autoimmune conditions and to help manage existing symptoms. Oftentimes prescribing a grain-free diet is a first step during an elimination diet. I use this type of food plan to help discern what may be triggering autoimmune symptoms and disease flare-ups in my patients. I usually ask my patients to start by avoiding grains. Grains are problematic for so many with autoimmune conditions and may even be a root cause of autoimmunity, as I’ve written about before.
A Delicious Gluten-Free Flour Alternative
Symptoms of gluten intolerance or sensitivity frequently include gastrointestinal upset, but can also manifest as feelings of extreme fatigue, joint pain, brain fog, and more! Everyone reacts uniquely to gluten intolerances and sensitivities, making it more difficult to diagnose without further investigation. Gluten- and grain-free diets can be a beneficial way to help support chronic disease flares and work toward achieving remission. And when they are fermented like sourdough breads, it’s even better because they are more digestible and less likely to trigger the immune system!
In addition to the inflammatory nature of gluten, the prevalence of pesticides and toxins used in the domestic grain industry leaves questions about the quality of popular products, such as boxed cereals and sandwich breads. By choosing less conventional grains, like buckwheat, we can start to minimize our exposure to these harmful substances like glyphosate and RoundUp. These chemicals are used regularly in wheat agriculture and food production, even though the potential harm of both of these chemicals is widely documented. Oats, just like wheat flour, is another grain that tends to be highly treated with chemicals during the growing process and should be expertly sourced before eating. Alternative grains, or pseudocereals like buckwheat, tend to be easier to cultivate. That means potentially harmful substances are not needed as much during their growth, harvest, and processing operations.
Buckwheat makes an easy and protein-packed swap for those trying to achieve more of a gluten-free style food plan. It also makes a fantastic sourdough starter for all the inspired bakers out there! And if you are new to baking, try taking a workshop to learn the basics so you can cook up nutritious grain-free options for you and your family. Using buckwheat as an ingredient is as simple as using traditional wheat flour- with an added nutty, slightly bitter flavor and earthy aroma! There are so many ways to use buckwheat in a variety of recipes. From savory breads to sweet desserts, buckwheat flour can be swapped out for any flour in most recipes giving your meals an added nutritional bonus.
Supercharge Your Nutrition with Himalayan Tartary Buckwheat
There are also certain buckwheat flours that are produced with easier digestibility in mind. Specifically, there is a buckwheat flour product known as Himalayan Tartary Buckwheat Super Nutrition Flour, or HTB flour, which offers a nutrient dense, autoimmune-friendly product that can be used similarly to regular flours in cooking and baking. Tartary buckwheat is simply another species of the common buckwheat plant, with a more robust nutrient profile. This unique gluten-free, artisanal flour is packed with easy-to-digest fibers and immunomodulating polyphenols, giving it a subtle bitter undertone in flavor and highly therapeutic properties. It also contains even more B vitamins when compared to the more common species of buckwheat.5,6 The HTB flour also can be used in recipes to add a nutrient-dense boost to any meal, including both sweet and savory applications. Check out these recipe ideas and other cooking and baking tips for using this gluten-free, highly digestible buckwheat flour. For added inspiration, here is a delicious waffle recipe using the HTB flour as well- yum!
Heal Autoimmune Disease While Eating Delicious Food
Buckwheat, especially when fermented in sourdough products, can provide numerous health benefits. From improving blood glucose regulation to optimizing friendly gut bacteria, research is just beginning to scratch the surface on the diverse medicinal benefits of regularly consuming gluten-free, fermented products, like buckwheat sourdough. Call today for a complimentary consultation with the Caplans to discuss how gluten-free options like sourdough may be supportive for your lifestyle and health goals. The benefits of adapting a gluten-free food plan, fueled by nutrient dense and easy-to-digest foods like sourdough buckwheat, can be a supportive tool aiding you on your autoimmune disease journey.
- Gobbetti M, Rizzello CG, Di Cagno R, De Angelis M. How the sourdough may affect the functional features of leavened baked goods. Food Microbiol. 2014;37:30-40. doi:10.1016/j.fm.2013.04.012
- Giménez-Bastida JA, Zieliński H. Buckwheat as a Functional Food and Its Effects on Health. J Agric Food Chem. 2015;63(36):7896-7913. doi:10.1021/acs.jafc.5b02498
- Lin Y, Yngve A, Lagergren J, Lu Y. A dietary pattern rich in lignans, quercetin and resveratrol decreases the risk of oesophageal cancer. Br J Nutr. 2014;112(12):2002-2009. doi:10.1017/S0007114514003055
- Kawa JM, Taylor CG, Przybylski R. Buckwheat concentrate reduces serum glucose in streptozotocin-diabetic rats. J Agric Food Chem. 2003;51(25):7287-7291. doi:10.1021/jf0302153
- BBH, T. (2022, September 4). Himalayan tartary buckwheat flour: Tips for successful, delicious recipes. Big Bold Health. Retrieved December 21, 2022, from https://bigboldhealth.com/news/recipes/htb-flour-tips/
- Bonafaccia, G., Marocchini, M., & Kreft, I. (2003). Composition and technological properties of the flour and bran from common and tartary buckwheat. Food Chemistry, 80(1), 9–15. doi:10.1016/s0308-8146(02)00228-5
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