Nutritional Value of Arepas

A woman makes traditional arepa's with a cornmeal dough.
Image Credit: acongar/iStock/Getty Images

Arepas, a type of bread popular in Central and South American cuisine, is primarily made of either cornmeal or flour held together with water and seasoned with salt. Some recipes call for the addition of butter, eggs or milk. This bread offers some nutritional value, although the nutrients vary depending on whether you eat it plain or stuffed.


Calories and Fat

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A serving of 1 arepa introduces 150 calories into your diet. A traditional preparation -- arepa stuffed with cheese -- contains a larger quantity of calories: 270. Both stuffed and plain arepas contain 2 g of saturated fat, an unhealthy type of fat that can contribute to heart disease. The saturated fat in arepas may also affect your body's ability to heal. A study published in the August 2011 issue of the "British Journal of Nutrition" notes that rats fed a diet high in saturated fat demonstrated delayed wound healing; more research is needed to determine if this finding is relevant to humans.

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Carbohydrates and Protein

Including arepas in your diet provides you with 19 g of carbohydrates and 5 g of protein. Your consumption of carbs and protein may be greater if you opt to stuff your arepas. A cheese-stuffed arepa, for instance, contains 64 g of carbs and 15 g of protein. Carbs and protein influence the amount of energy you have at your disposal.


One plain arepa is a source of vitamin C, with 5 percent of the daily recommended intake. You also get 3 percent of the vitamin A you require each day. The vitamin C in this bread influences skin elasticity and joint function due to the collagen-boosting power of the vitamin. Vitamin A benefits your eyesight.



Unstuffed arepas contain iron: Each roll contains 1 percent of the iron you need each day to boost the production of red blood cells. This mineral content increases when stuffed. For instance, a cheese-stuffed arepa introduces an additional 9 percent of iron into your diet. With a cheese-stuffed arepa, you also take in 25 percent of the calcium your body uses to keep your bones strong, dense and healthy.



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