Bulgur Nutrition Facts

Calories, Carbs, and Health Benefits of Bulgur

bulgur nutrition facts and health benefits
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Bulgur, also known as ala, is a whole grain made by boiling wheat and then drying and cracking it into various sizes, making it a quick cooking grain. A staple in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean regions, bulgur is a common ingredient in Tabbouleh and falafels, adding a powerful nutrition punch and an earthy, nutty flavor. Rich in complex carbohydrates, fiber, and protein, bulgur is a great food to include in meals for people following vegetarian and vegan meal plans, as well as for those people who are trying to eat more healthy.

Nutrition Facts

Bulgur Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 cup cooked no salt added (182 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 151 
Calories from Fat 4 
Total Fat 0.4g1%
Saturated Fat 0.1g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2g 
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1g 
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 9mg0%
Potassium 123.76mg4%
Carbohydrates 33.8g11%
Dietary Fiber 8.2g33%
Sugars 0.2g 
Protein 5.6g 
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 2% · Iron 10%

*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Carbs in Bulgur

One cup of cooked bulgur provides 151 calories and 33.8 grams of carbohydrate. The food provides 8 grams of fiber, and a very small amount of naturally-occurring sugar (0.2 grams). The rest of the carbs in bulgur is starch.

Although bulgur is not a low carbohydrate food, it is important to point out that fiber in it makes it an extremely filling and nutrient dense source of carbohydrate.

Fats in Bulgur

There is a small amount (less than one gram) of fat in bulgur when it is prepared without any additional oils or butter.

 

Protein in Bulgur

A single serving of bulgur provides a healthy 5.6 grams of protein. Protein is the building block of hair, skin, and nails.

Micronutrients in Bulgur

Bulgur is a good source of iron and is also rich in B-vitamins. Bulgur is also a good source of manganese, phosphorus, and selenium

Health Benefits

Whole grains, like bulgur, are an excellent source of filling fiber.

A single serving of bulgar contributes about one-third of the recommended daily allowance. In fact, per serving, bulgur has more fiber than quinoa, oats, and corn. Fiber-rich foods can help to keep you full, pull cholesterol away from the heart, and keep blood sugars stabilized by adding glucose into the bloodstream slowly.

The iron in bulgar is essential in making red blood cells as well as the synthesis of certain hormones, protein, and neurotransmitters. And lastly, B vitamins in bulgar aid in protein, carbohydrate, and fat digestion.

Common Questions

What is bulgar made from?

Bulgur is most often made from durum wheat (so, but in fact, almost any wheat, hard or soft, red or white, can be made into bulgur. 

Is bulgar gluten free?

No, it is not gluten-free.

Is bulgar seasonal?

You can find bulgur in your grocery store all year long.

How do I purchase and store bulgar?

Purchase bulgur that is well packaged and sealed tightly. Check the label and look for the expiration or sell-by date and choose the newest one. If the bulgur has a musty or oily scent, it means that it is probably past its peak and should be discarded. Instead, grains should always look and smell faintly sweet or have no aroma at all.

Whole grains, like bulgur, must be stored a bit more carefully than their refined counterparts because the healthy oils found largely in the germ of whole grains can be negatively affected by heat, light, and moisture. Therefore, it's important to store bulgur in an airtight container in a cool dry place. It will keep for about six months this way. To extend the shelf life, place it in the freezer—it can last up to a year like this.

How long will bulgar last once it has been cooked?

Once cooked, store it in the refrigerator and use it within a few days.

Recipes and Preparation Tips

Read the package instructions for cooking bulgur.

Most of the time, the bulgur you buy will be precooked.

Because it has been precooked it can be prepared quickly, in about 10 to 20 minutes. Once prepared, use bulgur to add protein and fiber to salads, hot cereal, muffins, healthy side dishes, and main-course meals.

Swap out refined carbohydrates like white rice with bulgur and serve with grilled vegetables and lean protein like chicken, turkey, or fish. Or mix bulgur into meatballs or meatloaf to boost your fiber intake. You can also add bulgur to soups, chilis, and stews.

Use bulgur instead of quinoa (or with quinoa) in any of these recipes:

Allergies and Interventions

If you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, you should avoid bulgur as it contains gluten. Medical sources also note that there can be cross-reactivity between grains. So if you have a reaction to one grain, you may experience symptoms when exposed to another. Some cooks also experience what is called "baker's asthma" when exposed to certain grains. Upon ingestion, you may experience difficulty breathing if you have baker's asthma. Consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice.   

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Article Sources

  • Linus Pauling Institute. Micronutrients for Health.
  • Whole Grain Council. Storing Whole Grains.