Bulgur wheat is an ancient grain that packs a nutritional punch into each nutty bite. The Old Testament mentions bulgur, and the wheat was popular in the ancient Mediterranean region. Bulgur mixes well with herbs and vegetables and is the main ingredient in popular Middle Eastern dishes such as tabbouleh (bulgur salad) and kibbeh (a kind of meatball).
People make bulgur by boiling, drying, and grinding kernels of wheat. The result is a firm grain that you can eat plain like rice or couscous, or an ingredient for soups, recipes, and baked goods. Cooks usually boil bulgur, but it can also be fried, baked, roasted.
Bulgur wheat’s health benefits come mainly from its high-fiber content as a whole grain. High-fiber grains help you with digestion, gut health, and weight management. The FDA even affirms that high-fiber, low-fat diets help reduce the risk of cancer and prevent coronary heart disease. Some specific examples of bulgur wheat’s health benefits include:
A high-fiber diet is strongly linked to weight loss. Eating fiber increases feelings of fullness and nourishes your gut bacteria without you having to consume too many calories. High-fiber diets also help slow the absorption of fats and sugars in the small intestine, which helps your body manage blood sugar levels and increase metabolism. As a high-fiber food, bulgur wheat makes an excellent addition to a fiber-rich, low-fat diet and can help anyone manage their weight.
Healthier Blood Sugar Levels
Numerous studies over the last decade have shown that eating more whole grains leads to lower rates of type II diabetes. Eating whole grains has been associated with healthier blood sugar levels and enhanced insulin sensitivity, which in turn helps with managing conditions such as diabetes.
Scientists are unsure of whether these benefits come from fiber or other compounds in the grain, but they agree that whole grains such as bulgur wheat help improve your body’s blood sugar control.
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
Eating bulgur wheat will protect your heart health and help prevent cardiovascular disorders and heart diseases. One study found that for every 10 grams of fiber added to a diet, the risk of death from coronary heart disease dropped by 17–35%.
Another study found a significant decrease in heart disease risk (up to 20%) in people who ate 50 grams of whole grains a day.
Bulgur is a complex carbohydrate and contains the whole wheat kernel. It is less processed than most grains and therefore contains more fiber and nutrients.
Nutrients per Serving
A half cup of boiled bulgur wheat provides:
- Calories: 76
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Protein: 3 grams
- Sodium: 5 milligrams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Cholesterol: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 17 grams
- Sugar: 0 grams
You will feel fuller having eaten less calories when you eat bulgur wheat, and you will also be consuming valuable nutrients such as:
Things to Watch Out For
If your body is sensitive to gluten or if you have a wheat allergy, you should avoid eating bulgur wheat.
How to Prepare Bulgur Wheat
Today, bulgur wheat is readily available in grocery stores and bulk food stores. Check the grain and cereal sections or look through the baking aisles to find it.
Bulgur wheat is quick and easy to cook since it’s already parboiled. To cook bulgur wheat, first gather some ingredients:
- 1 cup of bulgur wheat
- 1½ cups of water
- 1 tsp of olive oil
- A pinch of salt
After you have your ingredients:
- Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
- When the water is nearly at a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low.
- Cook for 12 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and let it stand covered for 10 minutes.
- Serve the bulgur as a side dish or use it in your favorite recipe in place of brown rice.