08 July, 2011
The Health Benefits of Kasha
Kasha, or buckwheat groats, is a whole grain, which you can eat as a side dish, in recipes or as a breakfast cereal. It is a nutrient-dense food, and it may provide some health benefits. Consume kasha in moderation along with other nutritious foods, and talk to a nutritionist if you are unsure about how to include kasha in your diet.
Healthy Blood Pressure
Each cup of cooked kasha supplies 148 mg potassium and only 7 mg sodium. A high-sodium, low-potassium diet can lead to high blood pressure, which increases your risk for heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Healthy adults should have at least 4,700 mg potassium and no more than 2,300 mg sodium per day, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Many dietary and other factors affect your blood pressure, and your doctor can advise you about keeping your blood pressure within a healthy range.
If you have gluten intolerance or wheat allergies, you need to avoid wheat products. A benefit of kasha is that it is a wheat-free source of whole grains. Even if you are able to eat wheat, kasha can help you increase your intake of whole grains, which may lower your risk for heart disease. The average American gets only 15 percent of the recommended amount of whole grains, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Kasha, or cooked buckwheat, has a low glycemic index, which means it does not have the potential to spike your blood sugar levels as severely as high-glycemic foods. Whole grains and less processed carbohydrates tend to be low-glycemic, while higher-glycemic carbohydrates tend to be refined starches such as refined pasta, baked potatoes or white bread or rice. A low-glycemic diet can lower your risk for developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, and it may help you control your weight, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.
Each cup of cooked kasha, or buckwheat groats, provides 4.5 g dietary fiber, or 18 percent of the daily value. Dietary fiber can help lower levels of LDL, or "bad," cholesterol in your blood and reduces your risk for constipation. Most Americans get less than half of the recommended amount of fiber, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Kasha provides just under 10 percent of the daily value for choline, niacin and iron.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010; January 2010
- MayoClinic.com; Whole Grains: Hearty Options for a Healthy Diet; July 21, 2009
- Glycemic Index
- Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center; Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load; Jane Higdon; December 2005
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