It’s never been a more important time to think about immune health, resilience, and longevity. We have more control than most people think when it comes to how these things unfold. Nature has always been a place for me to find comfort and hope. It’s also the place I turn to time and time again to find deeper wisdom for health and healing.
When times get tough, plants can’t just move to nicer weather or better soil, and they definitely can’t choose their insect or human neighbors. They have to ride out the hardships. Hardy plants show us that stress isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, for food crops that can develop resilience and overcome adversity, stressful experiences hone their survival skills and boost their nutritional value.
Himalayan Tartary Buckwheat (HTB) is a prime example of a resilient, nutrient-rich plant. For millennia, this gluten-free food crop (no relation to wheat) has weathered harsh climates, high altitudes, and poor-quality soil. Yet HTB has become more robust—physically and genetically—as a direct result of these suboptimal conditions. And when we eat HTB, we unlock a treasure trove of unique nutrients.
How Does Himalayan Tartary Buckwheat Pull Off This Survival Trick?
It all starts with Himalayan Tartary Buckwheat’s remarkable genes. Instead of buckling under pressure, HTB’s stress resilience has been upgraded by the constant threats to its existence. HTB has transformed adversity into genetic inspiration, creating new gene sequences to increase production of plant nutrients (phytonutrients) that protect it at every stage of its life, from seed and sprout to flower and fruit.
Luckily for us, HTB’s list of over 100 phytonutrients may translate into human benefits too. Many of these molecules are thought to train the immune system for optimized function—including improved overall immune performance. Beyond that, they do something amazing when we eat them. They encourage a wondrous health-renewing event to take place in the body, one that has become rare in busy modern lives: cellular rejuvenation. It’s an exciting time to study nutrition and phytonutrients, as we’ve only just scratched the surface. At this point, we know they’re connected to improved cognition and longevity among many other benefits.
Himalayan Tartary Buckwheat Benefits People And The Planet
Himalayan Tartary Buckwheat’s extraordinary adaptivity makes it beneficial for people, soil quality, and for Earth’s dwindling biodiversity. Buckwheat is a cover crop that, after harvesting, can be left in place to replenish the soil’s precious organic matter. Its sturdy root system helps rebuild critical soil structure and fertility, which are disrupted by common agricultural practices.
We can’t be healthy humans without healthy soil. Better soil means greater diversity among plants, insects, and microbes in food-growing environments. This is better for planetary health because it restores balance among competing species and reduces the chances of aggressive species taking over.
For those who eat HTB, its genetic heritage offers the same harmonic symphony of phytonutrients that give it vigor and stress resilience. These include:
● Antioxidant polyphenols that help coordinate an effective immune response, like quercetin, rutin, and luteolin.
● Buckwheat’s own specialty: 2-HOBA (2-hydroxybenzylamine). 2-HOBA is a rare plant nutrient that has been found to protect the body’s proteins from harmful biological aging processes.
● Other well-researched plant nutrients that promote better cell function, like resveratrol, proanthocyanidins, catechins, and anthocyanins.
Why Scientists Are So Excited About Himalayan Tartary Buckwheat:
Buckwheat’s unique nutritional composition and its effects throughout the body make it a natural health-promoting powerhouse. The following is just a small sampling of what we’ve learned from recent studies:
● When blood sugar levels stay too high too long, it can interfere with normal cell rejuvenation. In clinical research, buckwheat was found to have a low glycemic index and a low glycemic load, so it’s likely to have minimal impact on blood sugar levels. Scientists even saw a blood sugar-moderating influence on the next meal after eating buckwheat—a health bonus called a “second-meal effect.” Relatively few foods can make that claim.
● Deleterious changes in immune cell function—whether due to aging, lifestyle, stress, or health status—can show up in the blood long before you realize it. Immune cells circulate throughout the body, checking for signs of health disturbance. When they find one, they release molecules that recruit specialized immune cells to respond. In studies of adults eating foods made with Tartary Buckwheat, blood levels of immune distress markers dropped significantly, suggesting that their immune systems detected fewer “threat” signals after these foods were consumed., Another study found that healthy, active adults supplementing with quercetin (one of HTB’s main phytonutrients) achieved lower blood levels of the key immune molecule C-reactive protein, an impressive result.
● Much of our active immune system resides in our digestive tracts, so optimal immunity begins with a diverse microbial community making up our gut microbiomes. Our “friendly flora” thrive when we give them a variety of phytonutrients and fiber in our diets. One reason quercetin and rutin are so good for immunity is that they nourish a healthy gut microbiome. Lab studies have found that quercetin feeds beneficial bifidobacteria and that it may help improve microbial diversity in the gut.,
HTB In America: Organic And Regenerative
Regenerative agriculture is the future of food; it’s actually what we really need to focus on if we want to save the world from climate change and disease. So I was thrilled to find out that HTB is being grown regeneratively right here in the US.
Regenerative agriculture focuses on restoring vibrant fertility to the soil we depend on for creating food plants that are nutritious and sustainable. All over our planet, the vitality of much farmland has been depleted by common crop management practices. Regenerative agriculture rebuilds the soil’s life and health through:
● Minimizing or eliminating the use of pesticides and herbicides, resulting in cleaner produce, improved soil composition, and healthier biodiversity.
● Allowing the earth to rest between harvests, and planting cover crops that replenish the carbon and nitrogen that are critical for robust plant growth.
● Limiting tilling practices that disturb precious topsoil and break up the complex structure of fertile earth.
As you may have already guessed, the soil-enriching qualities of HTB make it an ideal candidate for regenerative agriculture.
HTB is an incredible, accessible, protective superfood that can up-level our health.
● HTB is a concentrated source of phytonutrients that help trigger natural cell rejuvenation and train immune cells for better function.
● HTB is a nutrient-dense and sustainable food crop that improves the whole ecosystem in which it’s grown.
● HTB is now grown organically and regeneratively in the US.
After learning so much about the incredible benefits of HTB, I was excited to partner with my friend and Functional Medicine colleague Dr. Jeffrey Bland to make it more accessible to everyone through his company called Big Bold Health. Check out Big Bold Health’s HTB Rejuvenate, which provides levels of rutin, quercetin, hesperidin, luteolin, diosmin, and 2-HOBA that are equivalent to consuming ¼-pound of whole-meal Himalayan Tartary Buckwheat flour.
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