Bulgur wheat – Properties, benefits and contraindications

Bulgur or bulgur is a food that has gained popularity in recent years. Its uses have been known for several thousand years; it is even mentioned in the Bible.

Bulgur can be used as a substitute for white rice and pasta. Its nutritional properties are better than these products, and its taste and texture are similar to couscous, quinoa, or buckwheat.

In the following article, you can read bulgur’s properties, benefits, and contraindications. As well as three simple ways to cook it.

What is bulgur?

It is essential to know that bulgur is not a plant; it is simply a different way of processing wheat. Bulk wheat is obtained after processing dry, shelled durum wheat grains.

One of its properties is that it contains a significant amount of gluten, making it a non-permitted food for people with some degree of gluten intolerance, celiac disease, or who follow a gluten-free diet.

Bulgur wheat is considered a food with good nutritional properties. Its main advantage is that it has a medium glycemic index. Its dynamic and adaptable flavor makes it a valuable food for various kitchen uses, particularly for people on a vegan diet.

One of the benefits of preparing bulgur dishes is that, even when over time, the grains do not break open or lose shape. The reason is that in the manufacturing process of Bulgarian wheat, it is subjected to complete drying in the sun or under high temperatures.

Properties of bulgur wheat

Among the nutritional properties of bulgur wheat, its high B vitamins and folic acid content stand out. These exceed that of other cereals such as rice and pasta.

Bulgur has an almost complete spectrum of B vitamins (except B₁₂), vitamins A, E, and K, and a high content of folic acid. The downside to bulgur’s nutritional value is that the amino acid profile of its proteins is incomplete. So the correct thing would be to provide a source of vegetable protein that complements it, such as legumes.

Other of its properties and nutritional benefits are its high content of phosphorus, selenium, copper, iron, zinc, and potassium. A 100 g serving of dry bulgur contains 150% of the daily dose of manganese, 40% magnesium, 30% phosphorus, 17% copper, 14% iron, and 13% zinc. (1)

In addition, 100 g of bulgur provides 18 grams of vegetable fiber (essential for digestion) and almost 10 grams of vegetable protein.

The nutritional properties of bulgur wheat are:

  • 151 calories
  • 33.8 g of total carbohydrates
  • 9.8 g proteins
  • 0.4 g of total fat
  • 8.2 g of vegetable fiber
  • 1.1 mg manganese (55% DV)
  • 58.2 mg magnesium (15% DV)
  • 1.7 mg iron (10% DV)
  • 1.8 mg niacina (9% VD)
  • 0.2 mg B6 (8% VD)
  • 32.8 mg of folic acid (8% DV)
  • 72.8 mg of phosphorus (7% RV)
  • 0.1 mg thiamine (7% VD)
  • 1 mg zinc (7 % VD)

One of the best properties of bulgur wheat – Medium glycemic index

Boiled bulgur wheat has a low-medium glycemic index: around 45-48 units. Comparable to the glycemic index of oats.

The glycemic index is a property of food that allows you to measure the rate of absorption of carbohydrates. Eating low-medium glycemic index foods is essential for preventing insulin resistance and is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

We remember that if you add sugar, honey, and other simple carbohydrates when cooking bulgur, the glycemic index increases. To maintain one of its most essential properties it is best to combine it with vegetables or healthy fats.

Bulgur benefits

Bulgur has more significant health benefits than white rice and fresh pasta. If you are in the process of losing weight, it is food allowed in the diet. The benefits of bulgur are:

  1. Provides long-term satiety

Bulgur is high in plant fiber. Vegetable fiber is a carbohydrate associated with reducing the feeling of hunger. Its consumption is ideal for those who are in the process of losing weight and those who want to maintain it.

  1. Provides vegetable proteins

The vegetable protein content of bulgur is 10% of the total weight. One of the benefits of bulgur is to it provide a moderate amount of protein; in particular this is a benefit for those who carry out a plant-based diet.

  1. It can help regulate blood sugar levels

Because one of the properties of bulgur wheat is a medium glycemic index, its consumption does not alter blood sugar levels. Bulgur is considered an allowable food on type 2 diabetic diet.

  1. Improve the digestion process

This is one of the most important bulgur benefits. The high content of vegetable fiber is associated with improving the digestion process, even some studies are encouraged to say that it can act as a prebiotic . (3)

  1. Prevent Vitamin and mineral deficiencies

Bulgur is a food high in vitamin and mineral content. one of the benefits of regular consumption is prevent lack of manganese, iron and vitamin D .

Contraindications of Bulgarian wheat

Bulgur is a wheat-based food so it contains gluten in its composition. One of the contraindications of bulgur is for people who suffer from some type of allergy or intolerance to this group of proteins . This can be considered one of the harmful properties of bulgur.

Another downside to bulgur is its relatively high oxalate content. These molecules are able to interfere with calcium metabolism in the body and are associated with an increased risk of kidney disease.

However, to avoid this effect, it is not a question of avoiding all foods that contain oxalates but rather limiting the amount of bulgur wheat you eat per day, with one serving is sufficient. In particular if you have diseases such as gout or kidney problems. To avoid calcium malabsorption, it is best to eat bulgur at the same time as foods rich in calcium .

Burgos Wheat vs. quinoa

Quinoa is technically a pseudocereal or a seed. Bulgur is a cereal. The benefits of bulgur compared to quinoa is that it has a higher content of vegetable fiber, its cooking time is faster and its texture is smoother. In terms of calories, they are really similar.

On the other hand, quinoa has a higher protein content than Bulgarian wheat, and its amino acid profile is complete. In addition, quinoa does not contain gluten, while bulgur does, so quinoa is suitable for celiacs and bulgur wheat is not.

How to cook bulgur wheat?

Cooking bulgur is easy. Bulgur does not require long cooking times: simply pour the dry cereal into boiling water for 8 minutes.

When cooking bulgur, it is best to get the water completely absorbed. The proportions must be 1 part of the cereal in 2 amounts of water.

An important detail when cooking is that although small and large bulgur have the same properties, the larger one cooks for 15 to 30 minutes.

The traditional method of preparing bulgur is to pre-fry the grains in a small amount of oil and serve it in pilaf mode. Just as the combination of bulgur and ghee butter is particularly delicious. Below you can see 3 ways to cook Bulgarian wheat:

  1. Vegan bulgur recipe

How to cook a delicious vegetarian bulgur with vegetables?

Fry a sweet pepper and an aubergine in coconut oil in a tall saucepan for 1-2 minutes. Add sliced ​​mushrooms (champignones or portobellos) and continue cooking over low heat for 2 more minutes. Add the dry bulgur to the skillet.

Season with salt, pepper and spices to taste. At this time add a 2 -1 proportion of water to the pot. Cook under a closed lid over low heat for 15 minutes. The final ingredient is finely chopped dried tomatoes and turmeric .

  1. Bulgur salad

Another vegetarian bulgur recipe is in the form of a salad. Ideal for the summer. You just need to boil bulgur wheat for 15-20 minutes and cool. Then add avocado , tomatoes, mango seeds and season with teriyaki sauce . It can be garnished with moringa flowers to add a beautiful color to this healthy dish.

  1. Cooking bulgur in a pressure cooker

The most gourmet way to cook bulgur is in a slow cooker. This is the method in which it acquires the best texture. First, you must fry in a small amount of vegetable oil: (coconut oil, canola, etc.) then pour it with water in a ratio of 1 to 2 parts of gua.

The heat should be reduced to a minimum and cook in a pressure cooker for 15-20 minutes. You can add both vegetables and meats later and it is boiled with spices to highlight its properties.


  • Bulgur is a cereal made from steamed and dehydrated wheat grains. It is widely used in oriental cuisine since ancient times.
  • Of its nutritional properties, its high content of group B vitamins stands out.
  • One of the benefits of bulgur is its high content of protein and complex carbohydrates. When carrying out a vegetarian diet, including bulbous wheat is a way to provide high-quality carbohydrates.
  • Bulgur has a low, medium glycemic index. Its caloric content is similar to that of oatmeal or brown rice. Also, bulgur contains gluten so it is not allowed for people with celiac disease.


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