Is Farro More Nutritious Than Rice?

Just about everyone wants to take care of their health and make smart choices with their diet. But with all the different options, substitutions, and so-called healthy alternatives out there, it can be difficult to know which foods really are the best for us. A good example of one such alternative is farro, which has been gaining popularity in the United States in recent years as a substitute for other common grains like rice. Farro has long been a staple of Mediterranean diets, but is it really better for you than a serving of rice? It turns out, many studies have shown that the short answer is yes.

Farro is a rich, nutty grain that, like rice, is often served as a side or base for bowls, stir fries, or other healthy dishes. However, farro, unlike rice, is actually a whole grain that has a much higher nutritional content than its starchy counterpart. According to Good Housekeeping, farro has a comparable amount of calories, but delivers a much higher amount of protein than rice, boasting 7 grams per serving of just 1/4 of a cup. Consumer Reports has also reported that tests have shown some samples of both white and brown rice contain trace amounts of the human carcinogen arsenic, which is absent from farro, an unprocessed and unrefined grain.

Farro contains high amounts of fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients

Farro packs a powerful nutritional punch in just one small serving. The healthy whole grain contains a large amount of fiber, with one cup containing around 20 percent of the recommended daily value, according to Healthline. It also contains a high amount of antioxidants, like polyphenols, carotenoids and selenium, which have been shown to help protect against osteoporosis, neurodegenerative diseases, and even certain types of cancer. Farro also contains a good amount of other nutrients, like iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and niacin, according to Consumer Reports. Studies have shown that eating a diet high in unprocessed whole grains has been linked to a lowered risk of developing illnesses like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Eating farro can also help regular blood sugar levels and aid in maintaining a healthy BMI.

So the next time you're trying to decide what to serve alongside your meat and vegetables, you might want to put the rice aside and load a heaping helping of farro onto your plate instead. With its rich, pleasing flavor, satisfying protein, and loads of health benefits, you're sure not to be disappointed.