This deliciously earthy whole grain can help keep diabetes at bay and build bones of steel

Photo: Mike Lorrig

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Paradoxically, buckwheat isn’t wheat at all; it’s an herb that’s related to rhubarb. Buckwheat is a heavyweight when it comes to hunger-curbing fiber and magnesium, which is necessary for normal muscle and nerve function and healthy bones, and may protect against type 2 diabetes and stroke. This triangular-shaped whole grain is also a rich food source of the phytochemical rutin, which may help regulate blood sugar levels. Free of gluten, buckwheat is suitable for those sensitive to the grain protein.

Choose It & Use It Buckwheat groats are available roasted, which are often called kasha, or unroasted. Prepare them as you would other whole grains and use in salads, pilafs, and soups. Buckwheat flour is used to make quick-cooking soba noodles and adds an earthy taste to flapjacks and baked goods.