Buckwheat is a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb and sorrel and despite having the word “wheat” in its name, has nothing all all to do with wheat. It is gluten-free and an excellent source of magnesium, manganese, copper and fibre. Buckwheat is also called a pseudocereal “super-seed”. It is often confused with being a grain because of the grain-like way it is cooked and used. However, by definition, only members of the grass family can meet the criteria to be classified as a grain. Buckwheat belongs to Polygonaceae, which are a family of flowering plants, not grass.
Although often referred to as a “whole grain” Buckwheat is not a cereal grass and its seeds are a gluten-free pseudocereal
As it is gluten-free it is excellent as a flour in baking, as a whole seed cooked as a porridge or as a rice substitute, and as buckwheat noodles or pasta. My popular buckwheat banana bread is a great way to try using the flour.
If you are paleo, GAPS, SCD, or following an AIP (Auto-immune Protocol) you would probably still avoid buckwheat. If you are following the Body Ecology Diet, soaked and fermented buckwheat is highly recommended and a good gluten-free choice in general unless you are intolerant.
Buckwheat is also low in naturally occurring food chemicals salicylates, amines and glutamates and is, therefore, a gluten-free option for those needing to following a FAILSAFE diet although reactions may still occur due to naturally occurring oxalates and polyphenols.
You can read more about pseudocereals in my article here.
You can refer to my list of What is a Grain here.
The World’s Healthiest Foods website has a great run-down on buckwheat, including its excellent nutritional profile.
Eat Drink Paleo has a great run-down of how Buckwheat could fit into a Paleo way of eating.