Common in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine, Bulgur is a mix of few different wheat species. Bulgur is considered a whole grain and is usually parboiled and dried before being sent to the supermarkets. In flavor, Bulgur is light and nutty. It is usually used in Turkish, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and various Asian cuisine.
In the United States, Bulgur wheat has become popular among the propagators of healthy living and can be found in different particle sizes for different use, ranging from fine to extra coarse. American bulgur is produced from white wheat. When it comes to cuisine, bulgur is used in a whole range of dishes. The wheat is of course extremely high in carbohydrates making it ideal for making bread or generally substituting other carbs in your diet. It adds a whole grain component to any pastry made of it and is also used for soups, salads and various other eastern dishes. So, Is Bulgur Gluten Free?
Bulgur Wheat Nutrition
When it comes to nutritional value, bulgur is a real treasure chest. A hundred grams of this wheat contains about 75 grams of carbohydrates, which is to be expected for a cereal. It is the 12 grams of protein per 100 grams of bulgur that comes as a surprise for this type of food and will make all the difference between a healthy and unhealthy wheat.
Bulgur hardly contains any fat and is completely cholesterol free, which are another two factors that go in favor of this cereal. When it comes to the micronutrients, 100 gram portion of bulgur will provide you with 11% of your daily Potassium intake as well as 13% iron, 15 vitamin B-6, 3% calcium and astonishing 41% of your daily magnesium needs.
When it comes to calories, the same portion of bulgur contain about 340 calories, which is kind of high and you will need to monitor your intake and not have too much of it. Eating 100-150 grams per day however, may be just the right way to replace your less healthy carbs with something that’s actually good for you.
Now, we said that the nutrition in bulgur is good for you, but we didn’t yet mention the specifics of what it’s good for, so let’s go and have a quick look at the health benefits of bulgur.
Anti-inflammatory benefits: Chronic inflammation is a common issue that may lead to heart disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and many other diseases. A study published in 2008 proved that eating whole wheat will decrease the chances of chronic inflammation, and thus prevent the occurrence of all related diseases.
Gallstone risks: The high amount of dietary fiber found in bulgur and other whole wheat helps the food move through intestines more quickly which helps use insulin more effectively and reduce the amount of bad fats in your body. In addition, dietary fiber will reduce the risk of developing gallstones.
Improves immunity: Various dietary stresses can lead to our body’s immunity being significantly reduced. The vitamins and minerals in bulgur lead to all sorts of good effects as well as insulin mediation, which in turn reduces the stress put on your body and can in many cases lead to a better overall immunity against various chronic diseases.
Weight loss: The processed wheat contains much less fiber than whole grains. The high concentration of dietary fiber in whole grains such as bulgur will help you feel more full faster, and in turn eat less. Eating less carbs, and less food in general will help your weight loss process, without you starving yourself. You will not feel hungry, but you will be taking in less calories.
Minerals: As we already mentioned, bulgur is an excellent source of various minerals including manganese, magnesium, iron and potassium, all of which are crucial to your overall health. Eating bulgur instead of other wheat will help you improve various aspects of your health due to the high mineral concentration.
So, Does Bulgur Wheat Contain Gluten?
While bulgur is certainly one of the healthier ways to get carbs into your system, for those suffering from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, unfortunately, it is not an option. Like most wheat, bulgur does contain gluten and should be avoided by anyone suffering from any kind of condition that involves a gluten free diet as a treatment option. So, Is Bulgur Gluten Free?
Another group of people who should also avoid bulgur are people with kidney stones or gouts, as the oxalate compounds found in bulgur can in some cases worsen the impact of these diseases. Oxalates can be found in the outer layers of grains and this is why in comparison to other grains, whole grains have more oxalates and should probably be best avoided by anyone with the above stated issues.
Is Bulgur Better Than Normal Wheat
While there are no absolutes when it comes to which food is better or worse, the normal wheat contains less dietary fiber, less minerals and vitamins and will generally do less for your health. Eating bulgur instead of your regular carbs will help improve your general health in a variety of ways and will likely keep you feeling more full for longer.
While there may also be issues with eating whole wheat, the general consensus is that whole grains such as bulgur is healthier than processed grains. If you are looking to eat healthy and improve your diet, adding whole grains will be one of the steps to take.
While bulgur is somewhat of an unknown for many Americans and Europeans, it is one of the basic parts of Turkish, Indian and other Asian cuisines. The grain contains the carbs of a grain, the protein of a meat and the vitamins and minerals of a fruit, making it an unmistakable addition to any healthy diet.
The grain can be found in various shapes and sizes and will be excellent for making bread, pastry, salads, soups and much more. If you would like to start cooking with bulgur, simply Google for bulgur recipes, and you will not be disappointed with the final outcome, guaranteed.