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Bulgur vs Oats: Which One is Better for You?

Explore the world of whole grains, where bulgur and oats shine with their great health benefits and versatility in cooking. In this article, we'll compare these grains to show you how they can fit into your meals and support your health.
Esther Bumpus, Health Writer

Written by Esther Bumpus, Health Writer. Updated on May 3, 2024.

Exploring the world of whole grains can reveal a variety of nutritious and versatile options, each with unique benefits to offer.

Among these, bulgur and oats are particularly noteworthy due to their health-promoting properties and culinary versatility.

This article compares bulgur and oats, shedding light on their nutritional values and how they can fit into different dietary patterns.

Whether used in traditional dishes or modern culinary creations, understanding the nuances of these grains can help you make informed dietary choices.

Basic Information about Bulgur

Bulgur is a whole grain made from cracked wheat, primarily from durum, which is precooked and dried before packaging.

It is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, famously used in dishes like tabbouleh and kibbeh.

Bulgur cooks quickly and has a light, nutty flavor, making it a popular choice for busy individuals seeking nutritious, easy-to-prepare meals.

Nutritionally, it is rich in fiber and iron, and offers a moderate amount of protein, making it an excellent component of a plant-based diet.

Its high fiber content supports digestive health, while its low-fat profile makes it suitable for those managing their calorie intake.

Basic Information about Oats

Oats are a highly nutritious grain known for their rich content of soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and stabilize blood glucose levels.

They come in several forms, including rolled oats, steel-cut oats, and instant oats, each varying slightly in texture and cooking time but all retaining the same health benefits.

Oats are a cornerstone of many breakfast dishes, particularly porridge, and are also used in baking to add texture and nutrition to breads and cookies.

With a substantial amount of protein and essential fats, oats are not only good for heart health but also provide sustained energy, making them a favorite among athletes and health-conscious eaters alike.

Additionally, oats are naturally gluten-free, although those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should opt for brands that guarantee no cross-contamination.

Bulgur vs. Oats: Nutrition Comparison

Comparing the nutritional aspects of bulgur and oats can help highlight which grain might better meet specific dietary needs.

Below is a detailed table that compares key nutritional components of raw bulgur and raw oats, based on data from the USDA:

Bulgur (100g)Oats, raw (100g)
Energy (kcal)342389
Carbohydrates (g)75.8766.27
Sugars (g)0.410.99
Fiber (g)18.310.6
Protein (g)12.2916.89
Fat (g)1.336.9
Saturated Fat (g)0.231.22

This comparison reveals significant differences in their nutritional profiles.

Bulgur stands out for its exceptionally high fiber content, which is excellent for digestive health and may aid in managing blood sugar levels.

Oats, however, have a higher protein and fat content, which could provide longer-lasting energy and may be particularly beneficial for those with higher physical activity levels or muscle-building goals.

The choice between bulgur and oats will largely depend on individual nutritional needs, taste preferences, and how each grain fits into your overall diet plan.

Bulgur vs. Oats: Vitamin Content

Both bulgur and oats are good sources of various vitamins that are essential for maintaining health.

The following table outlines the vitamin content in raw bulgur and raw oats, helping to illuminate which grain might better meet your dietary requirements:

Bulgur (100g)Oats, raw (100g)
Thiamin (B1)0.23 mg0.76 mg
Riboflavin (B2)0.11 mg0.139 mg
Niacin (B3)5.114 mg1.125 mg
Vitamin B60.342 mg0.12 mg
Folate (B9)27 µg56 µg

This table shows that oats are particularly rich in Thiamin and Folate, supporting energy metabolism and cellular growth.

Bulgur, however, has higher levels of Niacin and Vitamin B6, which are crucial for maintaining healthy skin and nerve function, as well as aiding in the metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

The choice between these grains may depend on specific vitamin needs influenced by individual health goals or dietary restrictions.

Bulgur vs. Oats: Mineral Content

Minerals play critical roles in various bodily functions, including bone health, nerve function, and overall cellular health.

The table below compares the mineral content of bulgur and oats:

Bulgur (100g)Oats, raw (100g)
Calcium35 mg54 mg
Iron2.46 mg4.72 mg
Magnesium164 mg177 mg
Phosphorus300 mg523 mg
Potassium410 mg429 mg
Zinc1.93 mg3.97 mg

Oats have a higher content of most minerals, especially Iron, Phosphorus, and Zinc, which are essential for oxygen transport, energy production, and immune function.

Bulgur provides a competitive amount of Magnesium and Potassium, important for muscle function and cardiovascular health.

Depending on your health needs, such as bone health or energy levels, one grain may be more beneficial than the other.

Culinary Uses: Bulgur and Oats

Bulgur and oats each bring unique textures and flavors to the kitchen, making them versatile in a variety of dishes.

Bulgur is primarily used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines.

It’s a key ingredient in tabbouleh and is often used as a base for salads or mixed into stuffings due to its ability to absorb flavors well.

Its quick cooking time makes it an excellent choice for quick meals, adding a nutty flavor and a satisfying bite to any dish.

Oats, on the other hand, are a staple in Western breakfast menus, most commonly seen in porridge or oatmeal.

They are also used in baking, for making granola, or as a thickening agent in soups and stews.

Their mild flavor and soft texture when cooked make oats ideal for blending with a variety of ingredients, whether in sweet or savory dishes.


In summary, both bulgur and oats offer robust nutritional profiles that can enhance a healthy diet.

Bulgur is high in fiber and low in fat, making it ideal for those looking to improve digestive health and maintain weight control.

Oats provide higher protein and fat content, which may benefit those needing sustained energy and muscle support.

Each grain also has its distinct culinary uses, making them valuable staples in diverse cooking traditions.

Choosing between bulgur and oats will depend on individual dietary needs, flavor preferences, and how you plan to incorporate them into your meals.

Regardless of your choice, both grains are nutritious options that support a healthy, balanced diet.

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