Discover the 4 shocking health benefits of couscous.
The more we learn about the inflammatory properties of conventional grains, the more people are looking for healthier alternatives.
Is couscous one of those alternatives, and what is couscous? – pay attention to the following text and find out about all the potential benefits of couscous that you probably did not know until today.
Many people confuse couscous with quinoa, as they are somewhat similar visually. However, while quinoa is an ancient gluten-free grain, couscous contains gluten and is generally not sold in whole grain form.
While whole-grain couscous can be a good item to add to your pantry occasionally, it is not something you use regularly, like amaranth or quinoa. So what exactly is couscous, what is couscous for, and should you use it?
Let’s see what couscous is, how it might be beneficial to your health (or not), and potential alternatives.
Over the years, whole grains have been studied for their association with lower levels of chronic disease.
Many large observational studies have found that a diet that includes whole grains is correlated with a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.
Couscous contains remarkable amounts of several important nutrients, such as niacin, thiamine, and folate, all of which are necessary for a balanced, nutrient-dense diet.
A grain-free diet is not necessary for most people, even if you only stick to gluten-free grains.
Unless you find better rates for your body without grains, eating whole wheat grains like couscous can help protect your body against some chronic diseases.
One of the reasons whole grains can protect against disease is because they contain antioxidants.
Many people don’t think of whole foods as high antioxidant foods, but whole grains, including whole durum wheat (from which couscous is derived), have comparable amounts of antioxidants to most fruits and vegetables.
The phytochemicals and antioxidants in whole grains are considered unique by some researchers and may include beneficial nutrients such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and β-cryptoxanthin.
It is important to note that these antioxidants are found almost entirely in the germ and bran, which means that conventional endosperm couscous is unlikely to contain any of these antioxidants and their related benefits.
Specifically, a serving of whole-grain couscous contains 62 percent of your daily requirement for selenium, a vital antioxidant mineral with many benefits.
Selenium has been a research topic related to positive antiviral effects, male and female fertility, and decreased risk of cancer, autoimmune diseases, and thyroid disease.
In general, antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress associated with high levels of chronic inflammation and risk of disease.
Because of their fiber content, whole grains like couscous appear to support gastrointestinal health; the fiber in whole grains works as a prebiotic, aids in digestion and overall gut health.
Prebiotic fibers are also associated with increased immunity since 80 percent of your immune system lives in your gut.
The impact of couscous benefits for digestion and other whole grains is also associated with lower body weight.
While dietary options for weight loss vary widely between people, people who are not gluten-sensitive may find that whole-grain couscous supports a weight loss lifestyle when consumed in moderation.
Most consider couscous a grain, but that’s not exactly accurate. Technically, “couscous is a paste made of semolina flour mixed with water”; Semolina flour is extremely high in gluten and a common flour used in pasta, as it creates firm noodles and is not as sticky as many other flours.
Durum wheat is the natural species of wheat from which semolina flour is created before it is made into couscous.
The second most widely cultivated wheat species after common wheat, durum wheat, is often referred to as “pasta wheat” or “macaroni wheat.”
Interestingly, durum wheat is quite rich in protein. It also contains about 3 percent more extractable (“wet”) gluten than common wheat, which is used to make most bread products.
Now that the intensive couscous manufacturing process has been mechanized, it is not difficult to create and wholesale couscous. It is usually used as an ingredient in salads, stews, or other dishes where you can use wild rice or orzo.
Now that we have answered the question, “What is couscous?”, It is important to understand whether it is healthy or life-giving food.
Couscous is not a well-researched food in terms of health benefits, but there may be some general benefits to using whole grains in certain people’s diets.
For this list of couscous benefits, I am referring to whole grain couscous only, such as removing the endosperm from the germ and grain bran strips of most of the health benefits they may otherwise contain.
When you weigh the benefits versus the potential downsides of couscous, you’ll see that I don’t think this grain is dangerous and doesn’t necessarily cause you harm.
I just don’t think the potential benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Why worry about eating this food when there are better alternatives than the benefits of couscous?
I don’t eat many gluten-containing foods because the genetically modified gluten available in most grain products is inflammatory and, frankly, unnecessary.
An exception for many is the sprouting of USDA-certified organic whole grains like Ezekiel bread, which is only available in the US.
But what is couscous in this context, sprouted and USDA certified organic or packed with artificial ingredients and GMOs?
Genetically modified wheat products are not produced commercially worldwide, although hybridization does have to be considered (which I’ll discuss in a moment).
Unfortunately, couscous is not available in sprout form at the time of writing. However, it is possible to find USDA-certified organic couscous.
Although the benefits of couscous are quite striking, as you will see, there are certain negative things that we must bear in mind when consuming it, such as:
While durum wheat is not technically genetically modified in the same way as most corn, it is created through a natural hybridization process.
Making hybridized wheat is a process by which scientists (or nature) combine genes from various species to create a new species.
Although the hybridization that occurs in durum wheat occurs in nature, research is currently underway to discover ways to genetically modify this hybrid species to facilitate commercial production.
On the other hand, some agricultural experts and scientists claim that neither genetically modified foods nor hybridized foods are dangerous to health in any way and are created in an attempt to simplify and improve production processes.
Ultimately, you will have to decide what is right for you and your family. I prefer to stay away from as much hybrid food as possible when I can and eat what grows naturally, without as much human intervention as to manipulate it.
While the topic of couscous’s true benefits and a gluten-free lifestyle is a hot button right now, it’s important to note that couscous contains gluten.
More and more scientists are realizing that those with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease will benefit greatly from eliminating gluten from their diets.
Some people report that whole grains processed other than Western commercialized agriculture are easier on their digestive systems and do not cause the same problems as conventional wheat products.
However, this type of personal experiment should only be done under the supervision of your healthcare provider.
Modern gluten is connected to inflammation, which is at the root of most diseases; Results from animal studies suggest that removing gluten can help with weight loss and reduce inflammation, in humans, gluten-free diets for healthy people can lead to improved gut bacteria (diversity in the microbiome ), decreased inflammation and better immune response.
Even for a grain that contains gluten, couscous has a high glycemic index. While it is true that a diet containing whole grains is believed to protect against disease, it is also true that, according to the large-scale Nurses’ Health Study, women who eat higher glycemic load diets are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes or heart disease than those who eat low-glycemic diets.
Namely, the highest glycemic load in the first group of the study was specifically associated with refined carbohydrates (such as conventional couscous).
Foods with a glycemic index (GI) of 50-70 are considered in the “medium” range, while foods below 50 on the GI are “low.” Anything over 70 is considered “high”.
Couscous ranks 65 on the glycemic index per 150 grams. For reference, in this number of grams, whole wheat grains have a range of 45, brown rice at 50, and quinoa clocks at 53.
The benefits of eating more foods low on the glycemic index include not only a reduction in the risk of heart disease, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes but also a higher blood sugar level, a reduced appetite, and levels of stabilized energy.
There are a decent amount of nutrients found in a serving of couscous. What is couscous nutrition in general?
It is somewhat similar to the profile of brown rice and quinoa, although quinoa earns the “superfood badge” from me with the number of vitamins and minerals per serving it contains.
A cup of cooked couscous (about 157 grams) contains approximately:
• 176 calories
• 36.5 grams of carbohydrates
• 5.9 grams of protein
• 0.3 grams of fat
• 2.2 grams of fiber
• 43.2 micrograms selenium (62 percent DV)
• 1.5 milligrams niacin/vitamin B3 (8 percent DV)
• 0.1-milligram thiamine/vitamin B1 (7 percent DV)
• 0.1-milligram manganese (7 percent DV)
• 23.5 micrograms folic acid (6 percent DV)
• 0.6-milligram pantothenic acid/vitamin B5 (6 percent DV)
• 0.1-milligram vitamin B6 (4 percent DV)
• 0.6-milligram iron (3 percent DV)
• 12.6 milligrams magnesium (3 percent DV)
• 34.5 milligrams phosphorus (3 percent DV)
• 0.4 milligrams zinc (3 percent DV)
• 0.1-milligram copper (3 percent DV)
• 34.5 milligrams phosphorus (3 percent DV)
If you’re interested in trying it, you can find couscous in most grocery stores in the US It’s commonly found in the pasta, rice, or “international foods” section. Unlike many food ingredients from the Middle East, it is so popular that it is easy to find.
Some varieties of couscous include pre-seasoned grains, so keep that in mind depending on the couscous recipe you are looking for at any given time.
Many experts recommend starting with unflavored couscous to give yourself a real chance to learn the flavor profile and what you do and don’t want to do with it.
There are also several types of couscous that you can find, depending on the complex variety that your local store stocks.
Larger couscous can be labeled “pearl” or “Israeli” couscous, and these take longer to cook; the smaller varieties of couscous are more than you can expect if you bought in the Maghreb, where it originates; These can be labeled “Libyan” or “Lebanese.”
If you are incredibly adventurous and find yourself in the Middle East, you can even get your hands on traditionally handmade couscous.
It’s a complicated skill to master and quite a laborious process, so you’ll only find commercially produced varieties in most places in the US.
Most people are not interested in taking the time to create handmade couscous, however, it is a fascinating and complex process.
First, the durum wheat is put to a millstone and the ground; the endosperm is resistant to grinding, and that is what will remain: this end product is known as semolina flour.
After this step, water is sprinkled over the semolina, which is then hand-rolled into small granules as they are sprinkled with dry flour to achieve separation; after several days (yes, you read that correctly), the separated granules are quenched in the sunlight to dry and can be used over months; Roll, rinse, repeat.
• In western life, to get to this step, stop by a grocery store and buy a bag of couscous.
• Couscous is quite easy to use in recipes. You can boil it, but most sources recommend simply pouring boiling water over it to re-fluff the pasta granules.
Otherwise, it may end up mushy; Another alternative may be a specialized couscous pot, but these pots are often expensive and are not necessary for cooking couscous recipes.
As for flavor, couscous tends to take on the flavor of whatever you cook it, and that is why many people choose to cook it in some type of broth such as bone broth.
It has a taste similar to semolina pasta since they are made from the same base; Larger pellet couscous tends to taste more “nutty” than the smaller, authentic types.
When making couscous recipes, use caution – it’s ready quickly unless you choose to steam it (considered a more ‘traditional’ method), which takes about 90 minutes, you will find that either boiling or running boiling water over it will get you a final product in just a few minutes. From there, it is quite difficult to spoil it: best of all, the benefits of couscous adapt to any dish.