Is it healthy to eat couscous? How should it be cooked? What are the couscous benefits? You’ll find out everything you wanted to know about this special dish in this article!
The Algerian, Moroccan, Spanish and French restaurants have common dishes prepared on the basis of couscous recipes. This, at first glance, exotic cereal, is in fact nothing more than tiny balls made from popular wheat, rice, barley or millet. But what is couscous in general?
Couscous is of Berber descent. It was originally prepared from semolina. This difficult task involved only women. They poured semolina floured into the dish, and then it was sprinkled with water, and with the help of rotational motions, rolled the mixture till the form of small pellets. Then again adding the flour and the water it was rolling, forming the balls. Then they sieved it and dried to yield grains, wheat couscous it was a millimeter in diameter, of which subsequently the porridge couscous was prepared.
This dish quickly gained a lot of fans and spread in the Mediterranean, Syria, the Middle East and Egypt. In some regions manufacturing couscous recipe was changed, it started to be made from millet, barley, rice and even corn flour.
Today, the process of cooking couscous is fully automated, and for its production people often use semolina. In the western regions this cereal is an excellent useful alternative to pasta and rice porridge. Its glycemic index is quarter lower than one of pasta or rice and also there are twice more folate, niacin and riboflavin. Also the couscous has a lot of vitamin B5, also there are copper, phosphorus, iron, potassium, dietary fiber and many other no less useful substances.
Many of us are very fond of porridge, but our usual (buckwheat, rice, oatmeal) may have become boring and such an abundance of ‘exotic’ cereal on the supermarket shelves makes us really happy! And now, the hand takes the package with couscous...
Today we talk about the pros and cons of couscous, which has come to us from the southern countries. History of couscous goes back centuries.
Couscous is the national dish of the inhabitants of the Maghreb (North Africa) and Africa. However, couscous cannot be called cereal; it is rather a semi-finished product of grain, and according to its cooking technology – the dearest ‘sister’ of pasta. In general, the couscous - it is like semolina, just a little ‘bigger’.
I do not think any of the hosts will cook couscous themselves, now in many stores you can buy a package with semi-steamed grits, when pour boiling water which is enough. In the finished couscous people add Harissa - burning chili paste, with garlic, coriander seeds and cumin. This paste is sometimes used for marinating meat, which is served with couscous.
Traditionally, couscous is used as a side dish and is prepared almost instantly. It is enough to boil 1.25 cups of water, add salt, add a teaspoon of olive oil, a glass of couscous and cover the pan with a lid. Couscous can be added to stews and vegetables, as it absorbs the taste and smell formed during cooking of sauce, without interrupting the main taste. They can easily replace the usual noodles, pasta and even rice. In addition, the finished couscous is a great addition to hot and cold salads, it will give satiety and unusual oriental touch.
The chemical composition of couscous as a finished product (per 100 g of edible portion):
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- Proteins - 3.8 g
- Fat - 0.16g
- Carbohydrates - 21.8 g
- Dietary Fiber - 1.4 g
- Zola - 0.26 g
- Water - 72.6 g
- Mono- and disaccharides - 0.1 g
- Saturated fatty acid - 0.029 g
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine) - 0,063 mg
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) - 0,027 mg
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic) - 0.371 mg
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) - 0,051 mg
- Vitamin B9 (folic) - 15 micrograms
- Vitamin E (TE) - 0.13 mg
- Vitamin K (phylloquinone) - 0.1 micrograms
- Vitamin PP (niacin equivalent) - 0.983 mg
- Choline - 3.3 mg
Macro- and micronutrients
- Calcium - 8 mg
- Magnesium - 8 mg
- Sodium - 5 mg
- Potassium - 58 mg
- Phosphorus - 22 mg
- Iron - 0.38 mg
- Zinc - 0.26 mg
- Copper - 41 mcg
- Manganese - 0.084 mg
- Selenium - 27.5 g
- Couscous energy value (couscous calories) is about 112 kcal.
Is couscous healthy?
Are there any couscous benefits? It has its bright and dark spots, it is like semolina, is very nutritious, easily digestible, helps patients with problems of the stomach and intestines, gently enveloping mucous.
Thanks to a considerable number of vitamin B5, the use of couscous becomes apparent during neurotic disorders, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, insomnia, and, in general, lowering vitality. Additionally, this vitamin improves regeneration of hair and skin cells, and therefore couscous can be called a good prevention of skin problems and early aging.
Couscous is healthy product, which increases hemoglobin levels, but the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol in the blood, on the contrary, decreases. Due to the high content of copper in the cereal it prevents the development and the emergence of diseases of the joints, as well as contributes to the development of sexual female hormones.
The couscous is extremely useful, because of the fact that contains vitamins of group B. Thus, vitamin B5 helps to survive stressful situations, as well as get rid of depression, insomnia, chronic fatigue syndrome and irritable.
In order to improve the regeneration of skin cells and hair, enhance immunity, the body's resistance to various diseases, improve vitality, and simply improve your mood, you need to include this tasty porridge into your diet.
Also, as we said the vitamins that are included in couscous, will be an excellent prevention of premature aging, as well as the early appearance of gray hair. This is a fairly high-calorie, nutritious and nourishing porridge. It is recommended to eat it for people, who are engaged in hard work, it is useful pudding for the elderly, athletes, growing organism.
This cereal has medium glycemic index. This means that it is absorbed by the body slowly, glucose is also gradually increased. For this reason, it is recommended to use couscous menu for diabetics and people, who suffer from metabolic disorders. If you always eat porridge, experts say that the risk of developing diabetes is significantly reduced.
Additionally, the product prevents the development of diseases of the joints, helps the digestive system. But we would not recommend couscous for those, who have problems of excess weight. Despite the fact that the glycemic index of couscous is average, it has enough digestible ‘net’ carbs, so from time to time, of course, you can eat a dish of this ‘special guest’, but always include other porridges in your diet!
People, who suffer from food hypersensitivity, allergies to wheat protein and gluten intolerance, should not eat couscous from wheat or barley, but we can recommend eating the couscous, made from rice flour. Is couscous gluten free? The answer is no.
You can find a lot of different couscous recipes on the Internet sites. Choose the best one for you and impress your family with healthy and tasty dish!