Want to avoid heart disease? A healthy diet can make a real difference in your efforts to keep heart disease at bay.

Health Disease Prevention Benefits of Couscous

If you’ve never tried couscous, here’s some useful information about it. Couscous is a processed grain product made from little balls of durum wheat or semolina flour.

There are three types of couscous: Moroccan, Israeli and Lebanese. Moroccan couscous is the tiniest and most readily available version. Israeli or pearl couscous is about the size of peppercorns and takes longer to cook. It tends to have a nuttier flavor and chewier texture. Lebanese couscous is the largest of the three and has the longest cooking time.

Five Health and Nutrition Benefits of Couscous

1. Rich in Selenium

Selenium is an essential mineral with many health benefits. It’s a powerful antioxidant that helps your body repair damaged cells and decreases inflammation. The selenium in couscous may help lower your risk of heart disease by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in your body. Its antioxidant function can also help reduce the buildup of plaque and “bad” LDL cholesterol on artery veins and walls.

2. May Help Lower Risk of Cancer

The selenium in couscous may also help lower your risk of cancer. A review of 69 studies including over 350,000 people showed that high selenium blood levels may protect against certain cancers.

3. Boosts Your Immune System

The selenium in couscous can also give your immune system a boost. This antioxidant helps reduce inflammation and boosts immunity by lowering oxidative stress in your body.

4. Good Source of Plant-Based Protein

Couscous is a good source of plant-based protein. Plant-based protein is essential in vegetarian and vegan diets, making couscous an optimal food choice.

Diets high in plant-based protein have been linked to a lower risk of stroke, cancer and death from heart disease.

5. Very Easy to Prepare

Couscous is often considered a healthy alternative to pasta since it’s made from whole-wheat flour. It’s also quite easy to prepare. The version sold in supermarkets has been pre-steamed and dried. Simply add water or broth, boil and fluff with a fork.

Couscous can be added to salads or served as a side dish with meats and vegetables. It can also be combined with another grain such as quinoa, brown rice or farro, as well as vegetables, to add more nutrients and amino acids to your diet.

This quick-cooking grain dish has a touch of sweet and nutty flavors to go with most main dishes.

Couscous with Carrots, Walnuts, and Raisins

Here’s a heart disease preventative recipe from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Ingredients (makes 4 servings)

  • 1 cup couscous (try whole-wheat couscous)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (4 Tbsp ground cinnamon, 2 tsp ginger, 4 tsp nutmeg and 2 tsp ground cloves) or cinnamon
  • 1 and 1/3 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp raisins
  • 1/2 cup carrots, rinsed, peeled, and shredded or thinly sliced; cut in half

Directions

  1. In a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, cook and stir couscous, olive oil, walnuts, salt, pepper, and spice just until couscous begins to brown.
  2. Slowly add water, then raisins and carrots. Cover. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Remove from the heat, and let stand for 10 minutes.
  4. Fluff with a fork. Serve immediately.

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories                     218

Total fat                      4 g

Fiber                           3 g

Protein                       6 g

Carbs                         39 g

Click here to get the full heart disease prevention recipe.