How Healthy Is Red Rice?

If you are looking for an alternative to your usual brown rice, consider trying red rice. This russet-colored whole grain has a nutty flavor and soft texture, and goes well with most meats and vegetables or served as a pilaf or salad. Like brown rice, red rice is a good source of fiber. It can also help you meet your iron needs. Red rice makes a healthy addition to your diet.

Is Red Rice Healthy? (Image: EBlokhina/iStock/GettyImages)

Tip

Red rice is healthy because it is a whole grain, making it a good source of fiber and iron.

Whole Grain Benefits

As previously mentioned, red rice is considered a whole grain. A whole grain food retains the entire grain seed, including the germ, bran and endosperm. People who include more whole grains in their diet have lower rates of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. In addition, people with higher intakes of whole grains also tend to have lower body weights.

Source of Fiber

As a whole grain, red rice can help you meet your daily fiber needs. According to Colorado State University, recommended fiber intake is 14 grams per 1,000 calories consumed, per day. A quarter cup serving of red rice contains 2 grams of fiber, meeting 8 percent of your daily value for fiber. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate your body cannot digest, and may be best known for its ability to help improve bowel function and prevent constipation. But fiber in foods such red rice can also help control hunger by slowing digestion, which in turn aids in weight control. In addition, fiber can also help reduce risk of heart disease by helping to lower blood cholesterol levels, blood pressure and inflammation.

Iron in Red Rice

Red rice may help you meet your daily iron needs. According to the National Institutes for Health, recommended dietary allowance of iron for adult males is 8 milligrams. Women's needs are higher, with a recommended dietary allowance of 18 milligrams. A 1/4-cup serving meets 2 percent of your daily value for iron. Iron is an essential mineral your body needs to help carry oxygen throughout your body. Without enough iron in your diet, your body may not get the oxygen it needs, causing you to feel tired and lowering your ability to fight infection. Iron deficiency anemia is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Including iron-rich foods in your diet, like red rice, can help ensure you meet your daily needs.

Fat-Free Option

Red rice is also fat-free. While fat is an essential nutrient that provides your body with energy and aids in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, high intakes of fat have been linked to heart disease and certain types of cancers. High intakes of fat also increase your risk of obesity. However, not all fat is created equal. Saturated and trans fats should be avoided whenever possible. You should limit your overall daily fat intake to less than 35 percent of calories, or about 77 grams on a 2,000-calorie diet, according to Cleveland Clinic.

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