Bulgur Wheat Benefits

Bulgur Wheat
Latin Name

Triticum durum

Also Known As

Bulghur Wheat

Origin

Middle East

Parts Used

Grains/Groats

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

Bulgur Wheat is an ancient grain that originated in the Middle East around 5,000 years ago. It was considered and excellent, nutritious food as it resisted mould, insect attacks and could be stored for long periods of time.

The Chinese Emperor Shen Nung declared Bulgur one of five sacred crops along with rice, millet, barley and soybeans in around 2,800 BCE. It is also referenced in the bible as being prepared by ancient Babylonians, Hittites and Hebrew populations 4,000 years ago and records show that the ancient Romans were eating Bulgur Wheat at the height of their civilisation.

Bulgur Wheat Benefits

Nutrient Dense

Bulgur Wheat is packed with important B vitamins, minerals and is fibre rich. Just one serving provides a whopping 75% of the RDA of manganese – a mineral that protects the body from oxidative stress as a component of the body’s own antioxidant enzyme SOD (super-oxide dismutase). It also contributes to strong and healthy bones, connective tissue and is essential for the metabolism of cholesterol, amino acids and carbohydrates. It also provides around 20% of the RDA of magnesium and phosphorus, minerals that must be present for calcium to work properly. Bulgur is also a good source of B vitamins which support the brain, central nervous system and the immune system. 

Heart Healthy

The fibre in Bulgur Wheat benefits the heart by reducing the inflammation that leads to high cholesterol levels. Inflammation causes damage to the arteries, causing the liver to send cholesterol (the body’s repair mechanism) to patch up the damage. The “Journal of Nutrition” recently published a review of 66 studies that found a diet high in whole grains and fibre correlated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.

Bulgur Wheat is also high in heart healthy magnesium which relaxes the muscles that control blood vessels, allowing the blood to flow more freely. This can help to reduce high blood pressure – an important factor in decreasing the risk of a heart attack of stroke. Magnesium also helps to keep the coronary arteries from having spasms that can cause the intense chest pains known as angina. It is relatively well known that a deficiency in magnesium is the most common cause of these spasms.

Digestive Health

Again, it is the high fibre content of Bulgur Wheat that aids in the digestive process. Consisting of around 90% insoluble fibre, it is this type of fibre that keeps food moving through the digestive system, helping to maintain bowel regularity.

Whole grains such as Bulgur also promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria which produce short-chain fatty acids, supporting digestive health and normal digestive function.

Balances Ph Levels

The body’s blood Ph works within a very narrow range of acid/alkaline balance, being slightly alkaline at around 7.45. Whilst acid forming foods are not inherently bad, it is the overconsumption of these foods and the under-consumption of alkaline foods that can lead to an imbalance, causing the body to pull alkaline forming minerals from wherever it can to correct the balance. Disease and sickness find it much easier to take a firm foothold in an acidic body.

The fibre in Bulgur Wheat is in the form of resistant starch and oligosaccharides, carbohydrates of which around 90% escape digestion and produce short-chain fatty acids in the gut, which help to balance the blood Ph level and prevent it from becoming too acidic.

Typical Use

The most famous use of Bulgur Wheat is in the Middle Eastern dish Tabbouleh. Organic Bulgur Wheat can also be added to soups, stews, salads and used to make a hearty breakfast porridge. 

Folklore and History

Hailing from the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East, Bulgur Wheat has been regarded as a healthy food staple for millennia. More than fifty archaeological excavations made during the past fifty years have established the Fertile Crescent as being the motherland of the first farmers.

Descended from the much older Einkorn variety of wheat, it is thought that the ancient method of making Bulgur was discovered accidentally after leaving leftover wheat to dry in the sun. Although historical wheat varieties have been replaced with new varieties for centuries, the method of Bulgur production has remained basically the same.  

Bulgur Wheat
Constituents

Bulgur Wheat contains; Protein, Fibre, Carbohydrates, Vitamins B1, B3, B6 and B9 (Folate). Mineral include; Phosphorus, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese, Zinc, Potassium and Iron. 

Precautions

Do not consume Bulgur Wheat if you have Coeliac Disease or gluten sensitivity.