Have you ever heard of Bulgur before? If you haven’t don’t feel bad because many other people are not aware of this healthy natural whole grain healer. Bulgur is simply wheat in its natural form and is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Bulgur is an ancient staple of the Mediterranean diet and no chemicals or additives during processing. Bulgur grain is high fiber, carbohydrates, protein, and low in fat and sugars.
Even though no chemicals or additives are added to bulgur during processing I would suggest buying organic bulgur to make sure that it is free of pesticides, herbicides and all contaminants that many conventional foods contain.
Getting enough of fiber in your diet can be a challenge for many people. Bulgur can help you conquer that problem because of its fiber rich properties. 1 Cup of cooked bulgur provides over 8 grams of fiber which is about a third of the daily value. Adults are advised to have 25 grams daily.
Many of bulgur health benefits come from “insoluble fiber” which doesn’t break down in the body. It stays in the intestine, soaking up large amounts of water, making waste heavier so that it moves through the digestive system much faster.
Health Benefits of Bulgur:
1. Chemical Repair and Cancer Prevention:
- Blocks cancer causing substances in processed foods! No matter how carefully you watch your diet, you’re probably being exposed to dangerous chemicals such as nitrates and nitrites. These compounds are in many processed foods such as cured fish, poultry, and meat. When these compounds get into your body they transform into nitrosamines which many studies have linked to cancer. Bulgur contains a compound called ferulic acid which helps prevent these compounds from making the troublesome conversion into nitrosamines.
- According to Lilian Thompson Ph.D., professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto Bulgur also contains lignans. “Lignans are potent cancer warriors, especially colon and breast cancer” Lignans have antioxidant properties and they eat up dangerous oxygen molecules or free radicals. Dr. Thompson says ” “Lignans also subdue cancerous changes once they’ve occurred, rendering them less likely to race out of control.”
2. Help For The Heart: Free radicals also can damage blood vessels causing heart disease. The lignans in bulgur help to protect the heart by protecting cholesterol. When cholesterol is damaged by free radicals it is more likely to stick to the artery walls causing heart disease.
3. Lower Diabetes Risk: Bulgar grain has a low glycemic index which means that the sugars are released relatively slow into the blood stream, according to David Jenkins, M.D.,Sc.D.,PhD., professor of nutritional sciences and medicine at the University of Toronto. It helps keep blood sugar levels stable, but also
4. Constipation and more: Because of bulgur insoluble fiber it can prevent and relieve constipation. Moving wastes out of the digestive system quickly can help reduce toxins and harmful substances in the body. Preventing constipation also helps relieve or prevent hemorrhoids and diverticulitis.
5. Minerals For Health: Bulgur nutritional value is rich in minerals that are essential to health. 1-cup of Bulgar contains:
- 1.8 mg of Iron , which is about 10 percent of daily value
- 7 to 9 , phosphorus, folate, niacin, copper, and zinc. 1 Milligram of Manganese which is aver 1/2 of Daily Value — Manganese ensures healthy bones, nerves, and reproduction.
- 15 micrograms of selenium which is 22% of the DV — Selenium helps to protect the heart and immune system.
- 15 milligrams (58 mg) of magnesium which is 15% of the DV — Magnesium helps keep your heart beating, nerves functioning, muscles contracting, and bones forming.
Some Helpful Tips: Choose the right kind, store it properly
- Use coarse grind (consistency of rice) for pilaf or any rice recipe
- Use medium grind for making breakfast cereal of filling
- Use fine grind for tabbouleh or in salads
- Keep it cold and refrigerated since bulgur is cracked open during processing. The fatty portion of the germ is exposed to air and it tends to go rancid.
Organic bulgur is unlike many whole grains that are extremely slow-cooking, it is steamed, dried, and crushed before it gets to the store. It is often confused with cracked wheat, but bulgur is precooked and only takes about 15 minutes to prepare. You should always have this healthful grain at arm’s length so you can eat it regularly, so buy it in bulk.
You can add organic bulgur to many recipes, it is used in Tabbouleh, and is great for vegetarian diets. It is an excellent meat extender, can be used in baking and added to muffins, use it in salads, the uses are endless and so are the health benefits. Bulgur is so nutritious and will help you live a healthier and greener life, make sure you fit it into your diet.
Other Sources: The Doctors Book of Food Remedies – By Selene Yeager and the Editors of Prevention Health Books