Bulgur is one of the healthiest foods made with an ancient process that originated in the Mediterranean region and has been an integral part of Middle Eastern cuisine for thousands of years. In approximately 2,800 B.C., the Chinese emperor Shen Nung declared it one of five sacred crops along with rice, millet, barley and soybeans. Biblical references indicate it was prepared by ancient Babylonians, Hittites and Hebrew populations some 4,000 years ago, and Arab, Israeli, Egyptian, and Roman civilizations record eating dried cooked wheat as early as 1,000 B.C.
Martino’s medium bulgur products are made of 100% pre-steamed and crumbled durum wheat brings onto your table one of the most ancient foods in the world, ready in 5 minutes.
Ancient Process Still Makes the “Perfect” Food
For primitive people, bulgur was an excellent food. It resists mold contamination and attack by insects and can be stored for long periods of time. The ancient preparation process is still used in small villages in the eastern Mediterranean: boiling the wheat in huge pots (sometimes for days) until thoroughly cooked, spreading out on flat rooftops to dry in the sun, then cracking the hardened kernels into coarse pieces and sieving them into different sizes for various uses.
Bulgur wheat, sometimes also called cracked wheat, is a lesser-known type of whole wheat durum grain. Compared to refined carbohydrate foods made with enriched or refined wheat, bulgur wheat is a much better source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients.
Bulgur is low in fat, high in minerals like manganese, magnesium and iron, plus it’s a good source of plant-based protein. On top of this, bulgur wheat provides a very good dose of the dietary fiber you need for digestive and heart health — over 25 percent of your daily needs in every one-cup serving!
Epidemiological studies find that whole-grain intake can be protective against health conditions like cancer, heart disease, digestive disorders, diabetes and obesity, which suggests that bulgur wheat, can be a part of a healing diet. In addition to vitamins and minerals, whole grains supply important plant-based phytonutrients that lower inflammation and prevent free radical damage. These include compounds such as phytoestrogens like lignans, plant stanols and plant sterols.
As a staple of Indian, Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisines for centuries, bulgur wheat tends to be most well-known in the West as the main ingredient used in tabbouleh. But there are load of ways to use this fast-cooking, versatile grain: in soups, over salads and in whole grain bread, for example.
Bulgur Benefits — and How Is It Different from Other Wheat Products
The difference between bulgur and most types of wheat flours used in many packaged products is that bulgur hasn’t been stripped (or “refined) of its bran and germ, which are where many of the nutrients are actually stored within a whole grain. Bulgur is usually sold “parboiled,” which means a very small amount of the grain’s bran is partially removed, but it’s still considered a whole grain.
Most carbohydrate foods that are processed and packaged contain “refined” wheat flour, which has a high glycemic load. This type of flour is stripped of its nutrients and is the main ingredient found in most store-bought breads, noodles and pastas, cereals, baked goods, cookies, and cake that can contribute to weight gain. Usually, about 60 percent of the original wheat grain remains intact after processing, while about 40 percent — including the valuable bran and germ — is removed.
This results in a wheat product that’s high in carbohydrates but low in fiber and nutrients. In fact, usually over half of the vitamins — such as thiamine, niacin, vitamin E, phosphorus, iron and folate — are lost during processing. Although some are added back into wheat products (a process known as “enriching”), they’re synthetic nutrients and not equivalent in quantity or quality to the kinds naturally present in unprocessed whole grains.
On the other hand, the combination of 100% Italian wheat and pure water from the Matese Mountain has produced our Martino organic, delicious and easy to prepare Bulgur products. In addition to our century-old tradition, Martino has turned to modernization of production as well as selecting only authentic and bio Italian wheat to prepare its range of signature products including Bulgur.
Let us know how Martino’s bulgur has enriched your diet and helped you maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle.