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Thinking about healthy breakfast, daliya is usually the first thing that comes to mind? Call it broken wheat, cracked wheat or bulgur wheat, daliya, can be cooked in as many varieties as its names. But why exactly should you eat daliya and why is it considered a healthy breakfast?

Broken wheat is packed with a host of nutrients and makes for a healthy source of carbohydrates and fiber. A take on Indian breakfast, paranthas, pooris and bhathuras are all sources of carbohydrates but what makes daliya different? Daliya is a whole grain, which makes it a richer source of fibre. This means that you get whole nutrition from this food without packing on extra calories. Fibres present in daliya help in the digestion of food and cater to keep you full for a longer duration holding you back from binging throughout the day.

Not only this but daliya being a source of proteins also aids weight loss. Thinking of eating a bowl of daliya already? Well, hold on and read this article, which will explore the many other benefits of your favourite breakfast item and will also share a healthy recipe. But, first, let’s have a look at some basic facts about daliya.

Some basic facts about daliya:

  • Scientific name: Triticum aestivum
  • Family: Poaceae
  • Native region and geographic distribution: Daliya is commonly grown in India and also forms a part of a variety of Middle Eastern and Meditteranean cuisines.
  • Parts used: Grains.
  1. Daliya nutrition
  2. Daliya benefits
  3. How to make daliya: Dalia recipe
  4. Side effects of daliya

Most Indian breakfasts may be a delight to your palate but they fail to provide any nutrition. Healthy ones like eggs may not be preferred by vegetarians, depriving them of its nourishment. But, can a balance between taste and nutrition be strived in Indian meals? You will answer this for yourself after reading about the nutrition facts of that flavourful bowl of daliya.

According to USDA, 100 grams of cooked bulgur contains:

  • Water: 77.8 gram
  • Energy: 83 kcal
  • Protein: 3 gram
  • Fats: 0.2 gram
  • Carbohydrates: 18.6 gram
  • Fibre: 4.5 gram
  • Calcium: 10 mg
  • Magnesium: 32 mg
  • Phosphorus: 40 mg
  • Potassium: 68 mg

Due to the many nutrients it packs, daliya is bound to have astounding benefits on your health. This section will explore the scientific evidence-based benefits of this grain so that you make sure to include it in your diet.

Daliya for nutrition

Daliya is a whole grain, which is what makes it healthier than other food items like bread or pasta, which are largely refined. All the grains are in their whole forms in the natural state consisting of the bran, the germ and the endosperm. This is protected by an outer husk. As and when a grain is refined, these layers are subsequently removed leaving behind just the germ in some cases. This deprives of you of the rich nutritious components contained in the outer layers of the grain.

Researchers say that refined grains lack in at least 17 components present in whole grains. Just imagine how much you have been missing on. While whole grains can also be grounded to be used as flour or baked into bread, it is best to consume these in the most natural form. The outermost layer or the bran is rich in antioxidants, B vitamins and fibres while the germ (the inner layer) has proteins, minerals and healthy fats. Endosperm or the middle layer is possibly the most nourishing, containing a blend of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Now, picturise how much nutrition is contained in a bowl of daliya.

Dalia for weight loss

Maintaining a healthy calorie deficit of 500 to 750 calories each day is an ideal dietary approach to weight loss. This does not mean you skip meals. It suggests that you eat healthily and consume foods that are nourishing while at the same time pack lesser calories.

If you happen to eat 2 paranthas in the morning, you will be bagging 300 to 400 calories and the number increases as you add butter or ghee. Replacing this with a bowl of daliya will offer quite fewer calories (100 kcal), which will assist in maintaining a calorie deficit, causing you to lose weight.

You must be thinking if that switch will make you feel more hungry during the day. Well, that’s quite not likely. Bulgur wheat is a rich source of fibre and proteins. Fibres are nutrient-dense foods, which possess a good satiety index. They increase the transit time, that is, the time for which the food stays in the intestine. As this time increases, your satisfaction from food stays longer. This means that eating a bowl of daliya will certainly make you feel full until your next meal. So, you need not worry about that.

Further, scientists have found that those who eat a healthy breakfast are less likely to overeat throughout the day and also have a better performance. This is particularly true if you take a protein source in your breakfast meal. While daliya is a fair source of protein, protein fortified varieties will offer a better amount. If you are a vegan, your protein sources are usually limited. So, eating protein-fortified daliya is a great option.

Proteins have an additional role in the process of weight loss. They assist in fat reduction and help to increase muscle mass in your body. Eating proteins will ensure that you maintain good shape as you lose weight by facilitating the replacement of fatty tissue by muscular mass. So, what are you thinking, get your bowls ready and munch your way to weight loss.

(Read more: Weight loss diet chart)

 

Daliya for digestion

It has been rightly said that the key to a healthy body is through a healthy gut. Modern-day foods, due to their compositions, contribute to poor digestive health, causing a plethora of digestive problems like constipation, abdominal pain and discomfort. Further, poor digestion causes weight gain and bloating in the long run. This can be managed by eating healthy foods rich in fibres like a bowl of daliya.

Fibres, particularly insoluble fibres, as present in daliya, provide bulk to the digestive components and improve digestive health. This, they do, by modulating the gut microbiota responsible for digestion.

Further, it has been ascertained that broken wheat porridge and other products may be safe for consumption in individuals with gluten intolerance. But, it is important to seek your doctor’s advise and get the necessary tests done before including it in your diet to avoid the side effects listed ahead.

(Read more: How to improve digestion)

Bulgur wheat reduces constipation

A difficulty in emptying bowels is known as constipation and is often characterised by hardened stools, which are difficult to pass out. In people with constipation, defecation often becomes painful.

Since bulgur helps in improving digestive health, it also aids in relieving the symptoms of constipation allowing you to pass stools more easily. While helping in increasing the bulk of faeces, its favour the process of excretion.

Moreover, insoluble fibres have been demonstrated to regulate bowel movements. They help to soften stools, which makes it easier and less painful to pass out of the body.

Bulgur wheat for nutrient absorption

What makes daliya more healthy is the fact that it increases the absorption of other nutrients in your body, avoiding deficiencies. This can be attributed to the presence of insoluble fibres in daliya, which bind to other nutritional components. The high mineral content of the food also has a role.

How you can benefit from this is by adding a variety of vegetables to your bowl of daliya like cabbage, cauliflower, peas, beans and others to your liking. This will not only make your food tastier but also help to get the correct nutrition from your meal. It will further ensure that the vegetables you are eating get correctly absorbed and utilised by your body. What more can you ask for?

Daliya for cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in body cells, which is essential for the synthesis of hormones and other components. However, an excess of cholesterol is harmful causing the risk of cardiac disorders. The good part is that cholesterol levels are easily modulated by dietary and lifestyle changes and that high cholesterol can also be prevented and controlled.

Several studies have found that fibres, like those present in daliya, cause a significant reduction in the levels of low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol). The exact mechanism of this effect is not completely understood but some research evidence attributes it to an interference in bile metabolism caused by fibres while others believe it is because of interference with the metabolisation of lipids. Whatever be the mechanism, a bowl of daliya is healthy for your heart by having an effect on bad cholesterol.

Daliya for heart health

Cardiac disorders are one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide. Poor diet and lifestyle factors along with high cholesterol and blood pressure are major risk factors for these. While the role of daliya on high cholesterol levels has already been stated, studies have also hinted on the activity of this food in controlling high blood pressure. This can again be attributed to its high fibre content.

In a pilot study, the consumption of steel cut oats or dalia was found to have positive effects on hypertensive individuals. It aided the reduction of both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Studies on bulgur wheat have further concluded that it has a high antioxidant activity. It helps in the scavenging of DPHH and other free radicals, which could cause potential harm to the body.

Free radicals are nothing but highly active oxygen species released from body processes. They react aggressively with body molecules to form a whole pair. While this happens, they disturb the normal physiology and increase the risk of diseases, particularly those related to the heart or the brain. Antioxidants function to control this aggressive activity of free radicals and help to remove them off the body. Daliya, which has been found to have strong antioxidant actions is bound to have these benefits.

So, it can be determined that dalia has cardioprotective effects by protecting cardiac cells against damage and by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Bulgur wheat is a nutritious meal in itself, but, you can make it healthier with the addition of fresh vegetables and a protein source. If you are bored of the conventional recipe as a porridge, here is a quick and easy salad recipe you’d like:

Bulgur chickpea salad:

  • Take a cup of water and pour in half a cup of bulgar.
  • Bring to a boil until bulgar softens.
  • Add minced onion to cooked bulgar.
  • Cook for a few minutes while keeping on simmer.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • Add boiled chickpeas and toss well.
  • Now, form a salad dressing with the help of olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, black pepper and soy sauce.
  • Cover and chill.
  • Enjoy straight from the refrigerator

Daliya is a safe addition to the diet, with minimal side effects being due to its high fibre content. Fibre-rich foods have the potential to cause gas and bloating when consumed in excess since they take longer to digest. So, it is recommended to keep your consumption within limits and increase water intake while enjoying this food.

A more serious side effect can be seen in gluten intolerants who are allergic to wheat products and any foods with gluten. In such individuals, the symptoms will be abdominal pain, flatulence, diarrhoea and bloating along with fatigue, headache and lethargy.

References

  1. Jonnalagadda SS, Harnack L, Liu RH, McKeown N, Seal C, Liu S, Fahey GC. Putting the Whole Grain Puzzle Together: Health Benefits Associated with Whole Grains—Summary of American Society for Nutrition 2010 Satellite Symposium. 2011 May;141(5):1011S-22S. PMID: 21451131
  2. American Association for Clinical Chemistry. https://www.aaccnet.org/publications/plexus/cfw/pastissues/2007/Documents/CFW-52-5-0249.pdf. Washington, D.C, United States
  3. Tacer Caba Z, Boyacioglu MH, Boyacioglu D. Bioactive healthy components of bulgur. 2012 Mar;63(2):250-6. PMID: 22136100
  4. College of Agricultural Sciences. Bulgur - What is it?. Pennstate extension; Pennsylvania State university, US
  5. T.Collin Campbell. Whole Grains: Good or Bad?. Center for Nutrition Studies
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