Is Couscous Healthy? Top 7 Health and Nutrition Benefits

Couscous Health Benefits

Couscous is a processed grain with selenium and plant-based protein benefits, but contains gluten. Originally a North African delicacy, it is now consumed worldwide. There are three types: Moroccan, Israeli, and Lebanese. Moroccan couscous is the tiniest, most readily available, while Israeli couscous is larger and takes longer to cook. Lebanese couscous is the largest and has the longest cooking time.

Couscous Health Benefits

1. Rich Source of Plant-Based Protein

The body is made up of 16–20% protein, which is composed of amino acids. Consuming protein from animal and plant sources is critical for metabolic processes. Couscous contains 6 grams of plant-based protein per cup. Except for soy and quinoa, plant-based proteins are incomplete. Plant-based protein is required in vegetarian and vegan diets, but it should be combined with other plant proteins to provide all essential amino acids. Plant-based, protein-rich diets have been linked to a lower risk of stroke, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

2. Boosts Your Immune System

Couscous contains selenium, which can provide a boost to your immune system. This powerful antioxidant aids in reducing inflammation and strengthening immunity by reducing oxidative stress within your body.

Research has indicated that elevated levels of selenium in the bloodstream enhance the immune response, while a deficiency can negatively impact immune cells and their functionality.

Furthermore, selenium plays a crucial role in the regeneration of vitamins C and E, which are essential for enhancing the function of your immune system.

3. Energy-Boosting Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are necessary for the body’s energy production. It is recommended that individuals who are physically active incorporate a higher amount of carbohydrates into their diet to aid in training and recovery. Opt for whole grain couscous whenever possible, as about half of your daily grain consumption should be from whole grains.

4. Promotes Heart Health

The presence of whole-grain couscous in your diet can contribute to the improvement of your overall heart health, primarily owing to its fiber content. Consuming an adequate amount of fiber has been linked to better weight management as well as the regulation of cholesterol and blood sugar levels. By enhancing these aspects of your health, you also decrease the likelihood of developing heart disease. Extensive research has demonstrated that individuals who incorporate higher quantities of whole grains into their diet have a notably reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

5. Reduce Cancer Risk

Choosing whole-grain couscous could help prevent cancer. People who eat more grains than those who eat less are less likely to develop colorectal, pancreatic, and gastric cancer. Researchers discovered overwhelming evidence that people who consume more whole grains have fewer cancer-related deaths.

6. Rich in Selenium

Couscous, a rich source of selenium, is a vital nutrient with over 60% of the recommended intake. This essential mineral aids in cell repair, inflammation reduction, thyroid function, and hormone production. It also reduces heart disease risk by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.

7. Improves Digestive Health

Cooked couscous has a lower calorie and carbohydrate content compared to brown and white rice, yet it boasts a higher fiber content. Brown rice has 3 grams per cup, supporting digestive health and promoting fullness. Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pearl Couscous provides 7 grams of fiber, making it a healthier option.


The Food Allergy Research and Education Center advises wheat and gluten-allergic individuals to avoid couscous due to potential symptoms like hives or severe reactions. Gluten-sensitive individuals should be aware of couscous served in restaurants unless explicitly marketed as gluten-free. Both foods are not gluten-free.

Storing and Food Security

If you decide to buy a packaged version of couscous and keep it properly sealed, it will remain fresh for approximately twelve months. However, once the couscous is cooked, it is essential to refrigerate it, as its freshness will only last for a few days.

Is Couscous Healthy?

Couscous is healthy, indeed. It’s low in fat and calories and a good source of fiber, essential nutrients, and plant-based protein. It is also a versatile cooking ingredient that supports heart health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is the ratio of water to couscous?

A1: The recommended ratio for preparing couscous is typically ¼ cups of water or broth for every 1 cup of couscous. It is advisable to refer to the instructions provided on the packaging for precise measurements.

Q2: What are the side effects of eating couscous?

A2: Couscous is not suitable for those who follow a gluten-free diet due to its gluten content and high glycemic index.

Q3: Should couscous be rinsed before cooking?

A3: Rinsing pasta is not required or advised, particularly if it is not made from whole grain.

Q4: Q1: What is the ratio of water to couscous?

A4: The nutritional benefits of quinoa are numerous, making it a superior choice. Not only is it a complete protein, but it is also gluten-free, making it suitable for individuals with gluten sensitivities. Additionally, quinoa boasts double the amount of fiber compared to other grains.

Q5: What is so special about couscous?

A5: An outstanding source of fiber, it has the potential to lower blood sugar and cholesterol.

Q6: Can anyone safely eat couscous?

A6: While couscous is considered safe for most people, it is essential to be aware that it contains gluten due to its wheat composition. Therefore, individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease should avoid consuming couscous.

The bottom line

Couscous, being abundant in selenium, has the potential to enhance your immune system and lower the likelihood of certain diseases, such as cancer. However, despite its health and nutritional advantages, it may not be the ideal carbohydrate option for everyone. Due to its gluten content, it is unsuitable for individuals with gluten intolerance. Additionally, it contains fewer nutrients compared to other whole grains of a similar nature. If you are seeking a convenient grain product that requires minimal preparation and do not have any concerns regarding gluten consumption, you may want to consider including couscous in your meals.

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