Bulgur vs Quinoa: How To Choose?

This article explains the key similarities and differences between bulgur and quinoa, foods from the grains food group. Read on to learn more about the bulgur vs quinoa comparison.
Catherine Toledo, Journalist

Written by Catherine Toledo, Journalist. Updated on February 3, 2023.

Bulgur and quinoa belong to the grains food group, one of the staple food groups for people on a plant-based diet.

Grains and grain products are an affordable source of carbohydrates, as well as essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins (such as thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin), iron, and zinc, minerals that are usually harder to get on a plant-based diet.

They also provide a small amount of protein and healthy fats.

However, it is important to note that whole grains are generally a better source of these nutrients than refined grains.

This article will thoroughly compare bulgur and quinoa and help you learn more about their similarities and differences.

Bulgur

Bulgur (Triticum aestivum) is a type of whole wheat that is made by steaming, drying, and then coarsely grinding wheat berries.

It is a good source of carbohydrates, dietary fibers, and small amounts of vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, and B-vitamins. It is also rich in antioxidants and protein, making it a valuable food for vegetarians and vegans.

Bulgur is a staple ingredient in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, often used in dishes such as tabbouleh and kibbeh. It can also be used in soups, stews, and as a stuffing. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest, making it a great option for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.

Bulgur is considered a functional food, as it has been shown to positively impact health when consumed regularly as part of a balanced diet. It is also a sustainable crop, as it can be grown in poor soil conditions and is resistant to pests and diseases.

Bulgur is an excellent source of Vitamin B3 (Niacin).

It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine) and some Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).

Quinoa

Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) is a grain-like crop grown for its edible seeds.

It is a good source of complete protein, providing all essential amino acids, and also rich in dietary fibers, vitamins, and minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and zinc.

Quinoa also contains antioxidants, flavonoids, and anti-inflammatory compounds, which have been linked to various health benefits, including improved blood sugar control, cardiovascular health, and weight management.

It is a versatile ingredient that can be cooked and eaten as a side dish, added to soups and stews, or ground into flour to make breads, pancakes, and other baked goods.

Quinoa is an excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).

It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and Vitamin E.

Bulgur vs Quinoa Nutrition

Now that we’ve described the origin, taste, and usage of these foods, we can move to the most interesting part – comparing bulgur vs quinoa.

This comparison will start by comparing the caloric value of bulgur and quinoa and their macronutrients and then go more in-depth by analyzing their vitamin and mineral content.

BulgurQuinoa
Energy342 kcal368 kcal
Carbs75.9 g64.2 g
Sugar0.41 g1.45 g
Fiber12.5 g7 g
Protein12.3 g14.1 g
Fat1.33 g6.07 g
Saturated Fat0.232 g0.706 g

Bulgur vs Quinoa Calories

Most calories in grains come from carbs.

Comparing bulgur vs quinoa for weight loss, bulgur is slightly lower in calories, with 342 calories per 100 grams, compared to 368 calories per 100 grams of quinoa.

However, both bulgur and quinoa can and should be a part of a healthy diet, and neither one shouldn’t be avoided if you’re looking to lose weight.

Bulgur vs Quinoa Protein

Grains and most grain products, including bulgur and quinoa, are important sources of plant-based protein.

However, it should be noted that most grains, with the exception of quinoa and buckwheat, for example, are low in lysine and methionine.

That said, you can combine grains with legumes to get a complete protein.

Quinoa offers around 13% more protein than bulgur.

Quinoa has 14.1 grams of protein per 100 grams, while bulgur has 12.3 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Bulgur vs Quinoa Carbs

Counting carbs can be important for some people for different reasons, including blood sugar control, weight management, or athletic performance.

It’s also important for people on a keto diet, so let’s compare the carbs content in bulgur and quinoa.

The total amount of carbohydrates is around 15% higher in bulgur than in quinoa. It has 75.9 grams per 100 grams, compared to 64.2 grams in quinoa.

There’s less sugar in bulgur than in quinoa, 73% precisely.

That said, 100 grams of bulgur contains 0.4 grams of sugar, while the same amount of quinoa contains 1.5 grams.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the dietary fiber in bulgur and quinoa.

Dietary fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and helps with weight management by promoting a sense of fullness.

With 12.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams, bulgur is a better source of fiber than quinoa which bulgur offers 7 grams per 100 gram portion.

Bulgur vs Quinoa Fats

Like most other grains, bulgur and quinoa are low in fat.

Fats in bulgur and quinoa are mostly healthy unsaturated fats. They are naturally cholesterol-free and trans-fat-free.

Total fat in bulgur and quinoa:

  • Bulgur: 1.3 grams per 100 grams
  • Quinoa: 6.1 per 100 grams

Speaking of saturated fats, bulgur is 71% lower in saturated fats.

Bulgur and quinoa contain 0.2 grams and 0.7 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.

Bulgur vs Quinoa Vitamins Content

This section will discuss the vitamin content of bulgur and quinoa.

Vitamins are micronutrients, meaning we need only a small amount. However, they are very important for many processes in our bodies.

Bulgur has a higher amount of vitamin A, vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), vitamin B9 (Folate), and vitamin E.

However, quinoa has a higher amount of vitamin B3 (Niacin), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and vitamin K.

Bulgur and quinoa contain the same amount of vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).

The following table shows the exact amount of vitamins bulgur and quinoa contain side by side, so you can easily compare them.

BulgurQuinoa
Vitamin A9 IU14 IU
Vitamin C00
Vitamin D00
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.232 mg0.36 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.115 mg0.318 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)5.11 mg1.52 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)1.04 mg0.772 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)0.342 mg0.487 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)27 µg184 µg
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)00
Vitamin E0.06 mg2.44 mg
Vitamin K1.9 µg0

Bulgur vs Quinoa Minerals Content

Minerals are important for our body to function properly. We need only a small amount of minerals, so they are called micronutrients.

Some minerals, like iron, calcium, zinc, or iodine, are relatively hard to get on a plant-based diet, so it’s important to choose your foods thoughtfully. This part of the bulgur and quinoa comparison focuses on their mineral content.

Bulgur is a better source of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc than quinoa.

On the other hand, quinoa is a higher amount of manganese, and sodium.

Bulgur and quinoa contain the same amount of fluoride.

Check out the table below to learn how bulgur and quinoa compare when it comes to mineral content.

BulgurQuinoa
Calcium35 mg47 mg
Copper0.335 mg0.59 mg
Fluoride00
Iron2.46 mg4.57 mg
Magnesium164 mg197 mg
Manganese3.05 mg2.03 mg
Phosphorus300 mg457 mg
Potassium410 mg563 mg
Selenium2.3 µg8.5 µg
Sodium17 mg5 mg
Zinc1.93 mg3.1 mg

The Final Word

This article highlighted the similarities and differences between bulgur and quinoa.

Grains, also known as cereal grains, are an important source of nutrition for many people around the world. They are a rich source of carbohydrates, which provide energy for the body.

Whole grains contain important vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron. Whole grains, in particular, are high in dietary fiber and can help with digestion and weight management.

They may also have other health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Grains are also a staple food and an important source of food security in many parts of the world.

Sources

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