Bulgur is a cereal grain that has been used as a food staple for several years as it provides an inexpensive source of low-fat protein, making it a healthy nutritious addition to a low-calorie meal plan. Bulgur is actually whole wheat kernel that is cooked and dried and then made available for consumption. It is a super food for controlling blood sugar levels because of the low glycemic index. Low in calories and fat and rich in protein and fiber, bulgur is one of the most important foods that provide nutrients and bulk to fill one up without adding pounds. Therefore, it must be included in the daily diet menu to lose weight. A cup bulgur contains less fat, fewer calories, and more than twice the insoluble fiber of brown rice.
Nutritional Value of Bulgur Wheat
The best whole grain foods must include bulgur wheat, and it contains the bran, endosperm and germ of the seed. Whole grains have a rich nutrient profile that makes them great additions to a healthy diet.
- High fiber content: One of the things that stand out about bulgur is its high fiber content. Two cups of cooked bulgur contain more than 10 grams fiber. Dietary fiber brings multiple benefits to the body.
- Macronutrient profile: carbohydrates, fat and protein are the macronutrients that provide the body enormous energy and support the functions of the brain. Bulgur is rich in slow-digesting, complex carbs. It contains the huge amount of protein and is extremely low in fat.
- Potassium: potassium is a mineral that promotes heart function, strengthens the bones and aids in the contractions of muscles. One cup bulgur contains 124 milligrams potassium.
- High in iron: Iron is mainly found in animal meats, but bulgur has a generous amount of iron.
- Zinc content: Zinc is an essential mineral that helps with protein synthesis, immunity boosting and cell division. Whole grains like bulgur has huge amounts of zinc. One cup bulgur contains just over 1 milligram zinc.
- Niacin: vitamin B3 is commonly known as niacin. This vitamin helps break down protein and fat for the energy, and it is also important for the production of sex hormones. One cup bulgur contains just over 1 milligram niacin.
10 Health Benefits of Bulgur Wheat
Healthy food habits should include whole grains like bulgur wheat. There are several health benefits of bulgur wheat and it can also be included in a healthy bodybuilding diet. Here we have jotted down a few common health benefits.
One of the most important health benefits of bulgur is its anti-inflammatory action. Regular eating of the bulgur flour helps alleviate chronic inflammation, thereby protecting against many diseases. Researchers observed that men and women who consumed large amounts of betaine, a metabolic usually found in whole wheat flour, had reduced concentrations of homocysteine, one of the makers of chronic inflammation that has been linked to diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Bulgur is a rich source of the mineral magnesium that works as a co-factor for as many as 300 enzymes some of which are involved in the body’s use of glucose and mechanism of insulin production. Whole grains are also loaded with calcium and other health benefitting nutrients that lower the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Being a low glycemic food, it is also extremely effective for diabetes management.
Bulgur takes time to break down in the intestine, which leads to slow and consistent release of glucose in the body, thereby inhibiting any sudden spikes or dips in blood sugar level that is exceedingly harmful for people suffering from diabetes.
Reduced Risk of Metabolic Syndrome
When it comes to carbohydrates, it is important to choose the right ones in order to stay healthy and promote weight loss. Refined carbohydrates such as white rice and white flour and foods made from these carbs are connected with weight gain and increased risk of metabolic syndrome that leads to cardiovascular diseases and Type 2 Diabetes.
But, increased consumption of whole grains such as bulgur protects the body against the features of metabolic syndrome like obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides level. Increased intake of bulgur reduces the risk of both insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.
Relieves Constipation and Clears the Digestive Tract
Bulgur is nothing but wheat bran and it works as an amazing laxative that flushes out the waste products and toxins from the digestive tract and regularizes the bowel movement which in turn relieves constipation and risk of developing piles. A fiber rich diet that included bulgur also helps in relieving the symptoms of diverticular diseases that includes nausea, abdominal pain, bloated abs and gas.
It is caused by inflammation of the digestive tract that can result in the formation of sacs or pockets in the walls of the colon. It is treated with cereal fiber and bulgur.
Cuts Gallstone Risk
Gallstones are small pieces of solid substance that form in the gallbladder. These stones gradually develop as pigments and cholesterol in bile many times form hard particles. The two main kinds of gallstones are- pigment stones and cholesterol stones. Pigment stones are darker, smaller and are made up of bilirubin.
Cholesterol stones are mainly yellow in colour, approximately 90% of gallstones are cholesterol stones. Bulgur wheat helps reduce the risk of developing gallstones. Insoluble fiber in whole wheat flour helps food move more rapidly through the small intestines, lowers the secretion of the bile, helps the human body use insulin more effectively and reduces triglycerides, or unhealthy fats found in the blood.
In addition to providing all these beneficial effects, which help protect against gallstones, the fiber in bulgur wheat can alleviate symptoms of the diverticular disease. Diverticular disease primarily affects the colon. The colon is a small portion of the large intestine that removes wastes from the body.
Insoluble Fiber supplied by whole grains like bulgur wheat help protect against cancer. In a renowned clinical study published in the “International Journal of Epidemiology” in 2008, researchers found that pre-menopausal women with diets rich in fiber had a reduced chance of developing breast cancer.
Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that initiates in the cells of the breast. A malignant tumor is defined as a group of cancer cells that can spread to distant portions of the body. With two cups of cooked bulgur wheat supplying 9.18 g of dietary fiber or 33.6 percent of the recommended daily value, bulgur wheat is an outstanding fiber source.
Good Source of Minerals
Bulgur wheat is a great source essential minerals for the body. It provides 2.11 mg –or 55.5 percent of the daily value of manganese– per cup. The University of Maryland Medical organization suggests that the manganese, a trace mineral found in some internal organs and the bones, is essential for the normal nerve and brain function.
It also aids in the formation of the connective tissues and the proper clotting of blood in the heart. One cup of cooked bulgur wheat provides 48.24 mg or 15.6 percent, of the DV of magnesium, which helps regulate calcium levels in the body. Bulgur wheat nutritional benefits make it an essential food grain for maintenance of overall health.
Helps Reduce the Risk of High Blood Pressure
This is one of the most effective health benefits of bulgur wheat. High blood pressure is defined as a serious medical condition that can cause a heart attack, stroke; cardiovascular disease, heart failure, kidney failure, and other serious health problems. The common signs of high blood pressure include severe headache, nausea, vomiting, confusion, vision changes and nose bleeds.
Whole grain foods like bulgur and oats help lower the risk of high blood pressure. The benefits of oatmeal for weight loss are well known. According to the researchers of American Heart Association, long term bulgur eaters have a lower systolic blood pressure as well as a decreased risk of developing high blood pressure. When the heart beats, it pushes and contracts blood through the arteries of the heart to the rest of the human body. This force creates pressure on the arteries. This is called systolic blood pressure.
Helps Reduce Weight
Bulgur is a healthy diet food for weight loss in an effective manner. Excessive body weight enhances the chances of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, gout, gallstones and cancer. If you are overweight you may feel extremely tired, experience breathing problems, develop skin irritation and experience lower back and joint pains that can severely affect your mobility.
Bulgur effectively increases satiety because of its high concentration of fiber and protein, both of which help one feel full from fewer calories, which is immensely beneficial when one is trying to shed pounds. A 1/3-cup portion of cooked bulgur provides 2.7 grams of fiber and 5.2 grams of protein. It can be easily included in the 1200 calorie diet and exercise plan for weight loss.
Protective Against Childhood Asthma
Asthma is one of the prevalent breathing problems among children that affect children all around the world. Research shows that an increased intake of whole grains such as bulgur wheat reduces the risk of childhood asthma by almost 50%. The antioxidants found in bulgur – especially vitamins C and E protect the respiratory tract and reduces wheezing and narrowing of the airways. The odds of developing asthma with bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) are also reduced significantly.
Ways to Store Bulgur and Include it in Daily Diet
Toss uncooked bulgur grain into stew, soup, or chili and carefully simmer until it’s smooth and soft. Use it as a side dish or cereal, the same way you can use oats and brown rice. Prepare a sweet salad with carrots, cooked bulgur, raisins, a raspberry vinaigrette and pineapples. Cook bulgur in low-salt chicken and carefully add any combination of your favorite salad ingredients; some that pair well includes tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, onions, radishes, sweet peppers, walnuts, spinach and chicken. Bulgur stew or soup is one of the healthiest breakfast ideas for losing weight.
It is best to buy bulgur from a reliable health-food store. The whole grain is available in three grinds – fine, medium and coarse. The coarse variety is the ideal for making stuffing and pilaf. Medium-grind bulgur can be used to prepare cereals and the fine grind can be used for soups and salads. Dry bulgur should be stored in an airtight container. It can be stocked in the refrigerator as well to extend the shelf life for months.
Top 5 Delicious Recipes for Bulgur Wheat
So, now that you know the amazing health benefits of including blugur into your diet, let us take a look at some of the easy and tasty recipes with bulgur that you can make in a jiffy.
Bulgur Wheat Salad
Bulgur wheat salad recipes are the simples and easiest to prepare, that also includes the goodness of fresh cucumbers, protein rich chickpeas, peppers and lemon. Bulgur salad recipes can be enjoyed as healthy lunch rich in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals and low in fat.
- 1/2 Cucumber chopped finely
- 1 Tomato chopped finely
- 1 Small onion chopped finely
- 1 Tablespoon of parsley chopped
- 1/4th Cup of boiled chickpeas
- 1/2 Cup of broken bulgur
- 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
Add the bulgur in a glass bowl and pour 2 cups of boiling water into it, cover with a plastic wrap and allow it to steam for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, chop all the vegetables and them in a bowl along with the chickpeas and lemon juice, mix well. Fluff the bulgur with a fork and add it to the vegetables mix, blend well with a fork, add a pinch of salt and black pepper to it, mix and serve directly.
Bulgur Wheat Pulao
This is one of the best bulgur recipes vegetarian that is a traditional cuisine of the Middle East. Being high in fiber and low in calories, it is one of the best bulgur breakfast recipes for weight watchers. The best thing about cooking bulgur is that it is it already partially cooked; it takes very less time to prepare the recipes.
- 1/2 Cup bulgur
- 1 Medium sized onion chopped
- 1 Inch of ginger finely chopped
- 1 Green chilli slit
- 3 Garlic cloves finely chopped
- 3/4th Cup water
- 3 Beans chopped
- 1/2 Carrot chopped
- 1/3 Cup bell pepper chopped
- 2 tbsp coriander leaves chopped
- 2 tbsp mint leaves chopped
- 1/4th tsp Chilli powder
- Salt as per taste
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 inch piece cinnamon
- 2 cloves
Boil the water and add it to the bulgur along with a pinch of salt and keep it covered for 15 minutes. Chop the onions, ginger and garlic finely and the other vegetables in to medium sized pieces. Heat oil in a pan and add cloves and cinnamon to it wait for a few seconds and add the onion, ginger, garlic and green chilli. Sauté till the onions are transparent. Now, add the vegetables, except bell pepper, salt and chili powder and cook till the vegetables are tender. Now, add the bell pepper, mint and coriander leaves and cook for a few minutes. Drain excess water from the bulgur and fluff it with a fork and add it to the vegetables, mix well and cook for few minutes. Serve it hot with raita.
Blugur Wheat Upma
This is yet another easy and mouth-watering recipe of bulgur wheat that can be served for breakfast or as an evening snack. It is tangy and savory in taste and sure to be loved by the whole family.
- 1 cup bulgur wheat
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ginger finely chopped
- 1 green chilli slit
- 1 teaspoon of garlic finely chopped
- 1/2 cup of vegetables like corn, peas, capsicum
- 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala
- 1/4th teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/4th teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/4th teaspoon chilli powder
- 1/4th teaspoon black pepper powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Boil the water and add it to the bulgur wheat, cover and set aside for 15 minutes. Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds, onion, ginger and green chilli and sauté for a minute. Now add the garlic and then the vegetables and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Next, add the spices along with salt and bulgur and mix well. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, remove from flame and sprinkle lemon juice from above.
Spicy Bulgur Pancakes
This is one of the most delicious bulgur breakfast recipes that will be loved by the kids as well as the elder family members. Packed with energy and protein, bulgur supplies all the nutrients required for healthy functioning of the body.
- 3/4th cup bulgur wheat
- 1/4th cup curd
- 1 tbsp wheat flour
- 1/2 cup cabbage finely chopped
- 1 tbsp besan
- A pinch of asafetida
- 2 tsp coriander finely chopped
- 1 tsp Green chilli paste
- 2 tsp oil
- Salt to taste
Soak the bulgur in 1 cup of boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain away the excess water and combine the bulgur with curd and 1/4th cup of water. Mix it in a blender. Pour the mixture in bowl; add wheat flour, besan, green chilli paste, cabbage, asafetida, coriander and salt to it. Mix well, add some water if required. Heat an uttapa pan and brush some oil on it, pour a ladle full of the mixture on the pan, spread it to make a pancake. Cook both sides till they turn golden brown.
This is a delicious sweet dish made from bulgur wheat that can be enjoyed as a dessert after a meal. It is a healthy alternative to cakes and cookies that satisfies the craving from a sweet something.
- 1 cup bulgur
- 2 cup grated jaggery
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tbsp ghee
Wash the bulgur and soak it in a cup of water for 15 minutes. Put the jaggery and some water in a pan and heat it from some time so that it becomes liquid. Strain it and keep aside. Now, add 3 cups of water to the molten jaggery and heat it again, add the bulgur to it and allow it to boil. Next, pour the milk and continue to boil, sauté the raisins in ghee for 1 minute and add it to the payasam. Serve in small glass bowls.
Inculcation of nutritious foods such as bulgur and finger millet flour or ragi in a healthy diet is sure to fulfill most of the body’s essential nutritional requirements and don’t forget to share your valuable health experience with us.