Bulgur Nutrition Facts, Calories, and Health Benefits

Bulgur Wheat
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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 addition to people following vegetarian and vegan meal plans, as well as for those people who are trying to eat more healthy.

Bulgur is most often made from durum wheat (so it's not gluten-free), but in fact, almost any wheat, hard or soft, red or white, can be made into bulgur. You can find bulgur in your grocery store all year long.

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

One cup of cooked bulgur is 151 calories and 33.8 grams of carbohydrate, 8 grams of fiber, and 5.6 grams of protein. Although bulgur is not a low carbohydrate food, it is important to point out that 8 grams of the carbohydrate found in bulgur come from fiber, making it an extremely filling and nutrient dense source of carbohydrate.

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.

Health Benefits of Bulgur

Bulgur is packed with nutrition. It is an excellent source of filling fiber, contributing to about one-third of the recommended daily allowance.

It is also a good source of protein, the building block of hair, skin, and nails.

Bulgur is a good source of iron, which is essential in making red blood cells as well as the synthesis of certain hormones, protein, and neurotransmitters. It's also rich in B-vitamins, which aid in protein, carbohydrate, and fat digestion.

Finally, bulgur is a good source of manganese, phosphorus, and selenium

Picking and Storing Bulgur

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.

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

Healthy Ways to Prepare Bulgur 

Read the package instructions for cooking bulgur. 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.

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