Nutrition

This Whole Grain May Help Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease, Weight Gain, and Diabetes

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When it comes to different types of grains, I’m often overwhelmed by all the choices out there. Between rice, oats, bulgur, millet, wheat, corn, rye, and many more, there are a ton of options on the grocery store shelf. But lately, one grain in particular has been on my radar: bulgur wheat. This fiber-packed grain is rumored to help lower the risk heart disease and diabetes, and help keep extra weight off. Sounds good to me!

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Is bulgur wheat healthy?

Bulgur is a whole grain made when wheat kernels or seeds are partially boiled, cracked, and dried. Once processed, bulgur is separated and sold into different textures ranging from a fine grind to one that’s very coarse. It’s common to see bulgur wheat in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. This grain’s nutty and earthy flavor makes it a worthy substitute to other grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and couscous as a side dish.

Besides being delicious, adding bulgur wheat to your diet offers plenty of health benefits. According to the USDA, one cup of cooked bulgur contains 151 calories, 34 grams of carbs, and eight grams of fiber. A 2016 study published in The BMJ showed that regularly consuming whole grains was associated with a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Researchers credit this positive effect to the fact that whole grains are rich in fiber, which can help control blood sugar and cholesterol levels to ward off serious health troubles.

Similar research published in The Journal of Nutrition linked a greater intake of whole grains like bulgur wheat with a reduced likelihood of weight gain and diabetes. The authors claim that this benefit is due to whole grains helping to lower blood pressure levels, which is key for avoiding obesity

As you can tell, bulgur wheat is a clear winner when it comes to filling up on a healthy and hearty whole grain. Plus, it’s readily available in stores and online to whip up for any meal! (One to try: Larissa Veronica Fine Bulgur Wheat — Buy from Walmart, $7.48)

How to Cook Bulgur Wheat

Think cooking bulgur wheat is tricky? Well, Bon Appétit’s associate cooking editor, Antara Sinha, reassures us that it’s actually simple. Her quick method involves pouring one cup of bulgur into a heatproof bowl with the same amount of boiling water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the grains soak for about 10 minutes. 

Once the bulgur grains have fully absorbed the water, uncover and fluff with a fork like rice. Warm bulgur wheat is great served alongside roasted chicken, or accompanying a comforting dish such as beef bourguignon. Sinha mentions that you can also allow the bulgur wheat to cool down at room temperature and refrigerate overnight. This allows you to have a batch of chilled bulgur wheat ready to use for a refreshing salad like Tabbouleh. Yum!

The next time I’m at the grocery store, I’m making it my mission to pick up a bag of bulgur wheat, thanks to these amazing health benefits. Who knows? Maybe it’ll become my new whole grain of choice!

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