Grown only in Italy, arborio rice is what makes your favorite risotto dish creamy and delicious. The extra creaminess is credited to its high starch content. Although it is starchier than traditional long-grain white rice, the extra starch does not mean it's higher in carbs. Decipher the nutritional content of arborio rice to determine how this grain fits into your healthy eating plan.
Although arborio rice contains some protein and fat, almost 90 percent of the calories in the rice comes from its carbohydrate content. A 1/4-cup uncooked serving contains 38 grams of carbs, 4 grams of protein; and 0.5 grams of fat. Its carb content is very similar to long-grain white rice, which has 37 grams of carbs in a 1/4-cup serving. Arborio rice is a better source of fiber, however, with 2 grams per serving compared with 0.6 grams in long-grain rice. Fiber in food helps with hunger control, and getting more in your diet may lower your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
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Know Your Calories
Calorie-wise, arborio rice has about the same amount of calories as other types of rice, with 170 calories per 1/4-cup uncooked serving. If you follow a 2,000-calorie diet, that's less than 10 percent of your daily calorie needs. Most Americans eat too many calories, which is why there is an obesity epidemic, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. Knowing the calorie count for the arborio rice can help make it easier for you to track your intake for better calorie control.
If you're trying to limit your sodium intake, sodium-free arborio rice makes a healthy choice. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, the average American consumes 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day. High intakes of sodium increase blood pressure, and your risk of heart disease and kidney disease. For better health, the dietary guidelines recommends you limit your intake to less than 2,300 milligrams a day. If you already have high blood pressure, are over the age of 51 or of African- American descent, limit your intake to less than 1,500 milligrams a day.
Arborio rice is not a significant source of any vitamins or minerals, but it does contain a small amount of iron. A 1/4-cup uncooked serving meets 1 percent of the daily value for iron. Iron is an essential mineral that helps transport oxygen to all the organs and tissues in your body. Your body may not be able to absorb as much of the iron in the rice -- a plant source -- as it does from a meat source. Eating arborio rice with meat or a food rich in vitamin C, such as cabbage, can improve iron absorption.
- Cook's Illustrated: Arborio Rice
- Bob's Red Mill: Arborio Rice
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Rice, White, Long-grain, Regular, Raw, Unenriched
- U.S. Department of Agriculture & U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Iron
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin C