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What Are the Health Benefits of Couscous?

by
author image Erica Kannall
Erica Kannall is a registered dietitian and certified health/fitness specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine. She has worked in clinical nutrition, community health, fitness, health coaching, counseling and food service. She holds a Bachelor of Science in clinical dietetics and nutrition from the University of Pittsburgh.
What Are the Health Benefits of Couscous?
Couscous makes a healthy side dish to a meat entree. Photo Credit Sarsmis/iStock/Getty Images

Eating couscous provides you with essential nutrients to help maintain your overall health. This whole-grain food is native to northern Africa and is commonly found in Middle Eastern cuisine. Couscous is small pasta made of semolina, a form of wheat. It can be eaten as a side dish, salad or dessert, and you can use it in place of rice or quinoa.

Good Source of Protein

What Are the Health Benefits of Couscous?
Eating couscous provides you with a good source of lean, vegetarian protein. Photo Credit Ina Peters/iStock/Getty Images

Eating couscous provides you with a good source of lean, vegetarian protein. A 1-cup serving of cooked couscous gives you 6 grams of protein, which meets 12 percent of the daily value for the nutrient. Your body relies on dietary protein to support healthy skin, muscles, organs and other body tissues. Choosing lean protein sources helps ensure you're meeting your daily protein needs without consuming excess fat. A serving of couscous has less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving making it very lean.

Dietary Fiber

What Are the Health Benefits of Couscous?
Couscous is also rich in fiber. Photo Credit Digni Photography/amanaimagesRF/amana images/Getty Images

Each one cup serving of couscous provides 2 grams of dietary fiber. Even though fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate, it plays a vital role in maintaining your health. Fiber may be beneficial for weight management, because it absorbs water and swells in your digestive tract helping you feel full. It also keeps food moving through your body preventing constipation. Your cholesterol level may even benefit from fiber because it binds to cholesterol in the digestive tract and removes it from your body.

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Essential Vitamins

What Are the Health Benefits of Couscous?
Couscous is a good source of B vitamins. Photo Credit joannawnuk/iStock/Getty Images

When grains are processed, many of the nutrients are lost. Choosing whole grain foods typically provides you with more vitamins, minerals and fiber per serving than refined grains. Couscous is a whole-grain food and a good source of B vitamins needed to keep you healthy. Specifically, couscous provides thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, B6, folate and pantothenic acid. These nutrients help metabolize energy, maintain healthy red blood cells, prevent certain birth defects and keep your skin, blood, brain, nervous system, heart and immune system functioning well.

Trace Minerals

What Are the Health Benefits of Couscous?
Couscous contains trace minerals. Photo Credit vertmedia/iStock/Getty Images

Minerals are also present in varying levels in couscous. A serving of the pasta provides 61 percent of the daily value for selenium. Selenium plays an essential role in reproductive health, metabolism of thyroid hormones, protein synthesis and preventing damage from free radicals, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. One cup of couscous also contains 7 percent of the daily value for the mineral manganese. While only a tiny amount of manganese is needed daily, it plays a part in maintaining the health of bones, blood, hormones, nerve and brain function as well regulating metabolism and blood sugar.

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