I had a PWN reader e-mail me this week about soba noodles, wondering if they were a healthy choice, or if she should stick with whole wheat pasta instead. There are so many different types of healthy noodle alternatives out there now, since pasta is one of those foods that some people just aren’t willing to give up (and, as we know, white pasta has very few redeemable qualities!).
Soba noodles are a Japanese noodle made from buckwheat. They are very thin and are served either hot or cold. Soba noodles are relatively low in calories, with one cup of cooked noodles having about 115 calories. They have no fat, 25 grams of carbohydrates, and about 6 grams of protein per serving. Whole wheat pasta tends to be a bit higher in calories, carbohydrates, and protein per serving.
Buckwheat contains vitamins B1 and B2; selenium; zinc; and also a certain bioflavonoid called rutin that is found in things like green tea and red wine. Rutin can strengthen our capillaries and help with circulation and high blood pressure, and it also is an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals. Choline is another compound found in buckwheat that contributes to health. Choline supports healthy metabolism and can also contribute to lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.
Another benefit of soba noodles is that if they are made from pure buckwheat, they are a gluten-free noodle. With so many people on a gluten-free diet these days, it’s nice to have so many options. Just read labels carefully because sometimes soba noodles are made from a combination of buckwheat and whole wheat, and therefore will contain gluten.
The conclusion? Soba noodles are a healthy choice, but just like any pasta, should be eaten in moderation for people who are trying to lose weight. When compared to whole wheat pasta, soba noodles may be a bit healthier but both are great options. Also, keep in mind that some restaurants that serve Japanese food use a lot of sodium and may even use MSG, so try ordering things that contain less broth or sauce and more vegetables and protein. Or, even better, prepare the soba noodles yourself at home using a great Japanese recipe. For some recipes, try this one from one of my favorite blogs, 101 Cookbooks, or this one from the ladies at Haute Apple Pie.