Bulgur is a highly nutritious cereal made from wheat. It provides several vital nutrients, including proteins, vitamins, and minerals, that promote health and well-being. Various health benefits of bulgur are discussed in this NutriNeat article.
Bulgur contains more fiber than brown rice and is much healthier than white rice. This nutritious food was used in World War II as a sandblasting agent to clean airplane parts.
The name bulgur may sound quite alien, but it is actually a cereal made from the hulled grains of different types of wheat. More commonly, durum wheat or macaroni wheat is used for making this cereal, which is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisines like pilafs, kibbeh, and tabbouleh.
To make bulgur, the whole-wheat kernels are first parboiled, and then dried and crushed. This causes the removal of only a small portion of the wheat bran. Bulgur is also known as bulghur, burghul or bulgar. In India, it is commonly known as dalia, and is quite popular throughout the country. Bulgur has been recognized as a whole grain by the Whole Grains Council, and also by the USDA. (United States Department of Agriculture).
Nutritional Profile of Bulgur
About 100 g of cooked bulgur contains
|Total Fat||0.04 gm|
|Dietary Fiber||4.5 gm|
|Vitamin B6||0.08 mg|
|Pantothenic Acid||0.34 mg|
Bulgur Health Benefits
Bulgur has a light nutty flavor, and is known to be extremely nutritious. This whole grain cereal has low calories and fat, but is quite high in proteins and fiber. This makes it an ideal food to substitute refined grains like white rice, which has a high glycemic index. The nutritious bulgur has several benefits related to health, some of which are discussed below.
Helps in Weight Loss
As bulgur is low in fat and calories, but high in proteins and fiber, it can help people shed those extra pounds. 100 gm of cooked bulgur contains only 83 calories. So, if you are trying to lose weight, you can replace high-fat protein sources like red meat with this cereal. Its fiber content will help you feel full for longer by slowing down the absorption of food. This in turn can prove beneficial in lowering your total calorie intake. Bulgur has a lower glycemic index, and thus, may help stabilize insulin levels as well.
Promotes Digestive Health
This health benefit of bulgur can be attributed to its fiber content. This whole grain cereal contains a significant amount of insoluble fiber, the type of fiber that helps promote the health of the digestive system. Insoluble fiber accelerates the passage of food and waste through the digestive tract to help prevent constipation. It helps in maintaining colon health and lowering the risk of colon cancer as well.
Helps Prevent Iron Deficiency
Iron is required by our body to produce hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the protein found in the red blood cells, which is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. In addition to this, iron plays several other important roles in our body. It helps regulate body temperature and metabolism, and supports the immune functioning. A deficiency of iron can manifest in excessive tiredness, weakness, lightheadedness, cold hands and feet, and frequent infections. Bulgur, being a rich source of iron, can help prevent deficiency of this vital mineral.
Provides B Vitamins
Bulgur is a good source of vitamin B6, folate, and pantothenic acid, all of which play a crucial role in activating enzymes that regulate the metabolic processes of the body. Folate or folic acid is particularly important for pregnant women. It has been observed that the intake of folic acid supplements during the first trimester of pregnancy, can significantly lower the risk of spina bifida, a type of birth defect in babies.
Apart from this, folate or folic acid promotes cellular growth and regulates metabolism. Vitamin B6 is also required for the metabolism of proteins and fats, and for the synthesis of neurotransmitters. Pantothenic acid, on the other hand, boosts the immune system, and facilitates the formation of red blood cells, neurotransmitters, and antibodies.
Reduces the Risk of Gallstone Formation
Being a rich source of insoluble fiber, bulgur can help lower the risk of gallstone formation. Insoluble fiber can improve the passage of waste through the intestine and affect the consistency of bile. It helps reduce the secretion of bile as well. Majority of gallstones are cholesterol stones, which have been found to be associated with excess bile production and high content of cholesterol in the bile. Insoluble fiber helps address both the problems, and thus prevents the formation of gallstones.
Provides Essential Minerals
100 gm of bulgur contains about 0.61 mg manganese, which is approximately 30% of the daily recommended value for this mineral. Manganese is crucial for the formation of connective tissues, bones, and sex hormones. Bulgur is also a good source of calcium and magnesium, which are essential for maintaining bone health.
Magnesium can facilitate the utilization of calcium to promote bone health. It may prove beneficial for regulating blood pressure as well. Other minerals found in bulgur are potassium, phosphorus, sodium, and zinc, all of which are important for the various biochemical processes of the body.
Bulgur can be a healthy and tasty addition to your diet. This nutritious cereal can be prepared in various ways. It can be used to make the traditional tabbouleh salad, or can be served as pilaf. It can be prepared like rice, couscous, and quinoa, or you can add it to salads and soups. Bulgur wheat is usually found in three grinds – coarse, medium, and fine. The coarse grind is ideal for making pilafs, while the fine bulgur is usually used for making tabbouleh. The medium grind, on the other hand, can be used as a cereal.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only. Please consult your dietitian/doctor before including anything in your diet, especially if you are suffering from an ailment.