Buckwheat: good to lower bad cholesterol

Poor, perplexed buckwheat. It’s not buck, it’s not wheat, and though it hangs out with whole grains, it’s really a fruit, kin to rhubarb.
Buckwheat came to the New World with the Dutch, who called it bockweit, or beech wheat, which is what the kernels look like. You can find it in natural food stores, and whatever you call it, you can’t beat it for nutrition.
It’s protein-packed (6 grams per cup cooked), full of fiber (4.5 grams) and bursting with amino acids and multitasking flavanoids that help lower nasty LDL cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease and fight cancer. Because the carbs in buckwheat are slow to break down, they help stabilize blood sugar, so it’s excellent for diabetics. Because it contains neither wheat nor gluten, it’s fab for celiac sufferers.
You can buy hulled buckwheat kernels or get it in a quicker-cooking form:
-Kasha: The Russian name for roasted, hulled buckwheat kernels. Kasha cooks up like rice, with water or broth, but in half the time. Roasting gives the kernels a toasty taste and removes some of buckwheat’s natural bitterness. Be aware that kasha isn’t dainty. It’s gray and sticky, with a pronounced flavor. That’s why it’s often made as a pilaf with herbs and vegetables or lightened up with bow-tie pasta, as in kasha varnishkes.
-Groats: An unlovely name for raw crushed buckwheat kernels. Smaller and lighter in color than kasha, groats still have a slight bitterness. They’re assertive, but doll up nicely when paired with hearty vegetable stews. Both groats and kasha are dense like oatmeal and just as filling, with only 155 calories per cup.
-Buckwheat grits: Also known as cream of buckwheat or buckwheat cereal, these are finely ground buckwheat groats. They’re light in texture and color, cook up in a jiffy and are versatile as all get-out. They make awesome jalepeno-cheese grits.
-Buckwheat flour: A gray, grainy flour with an earthy taste, it’s used to make some of the best food in the world, from Japanese soba noodles to Russian blini to good ol’ American pancakes.
Kasha? Groats? Grain? Fruit? It’s all healthful and it’s all buckwheat.