Take a hike ramen, there’s a new noodle in town. Soba noodles are not only tastier and more versatile, but they’re healthier.
Once you know more about the nutrition of soba noodles, you’ll want to kick that hard ramen brick and its high-sodium, monosodium glutamate-laden packet to the curb.
Here’s why you’ll want to pick up soba noodles on your next trip to the grocery store.
What Are Soba Noodles?
Soba noodles are popular in Japanese cuisine. They look a lot like spaghetti. They’re not as trendy in the United States, but people are catching on as they realize that buckwheat is useful for something other than making pancakes.
Authentic soba noodles are made from 100 percent buckwheat flour. Some brands add another type of flour like wheat or white flour.
Buckwheat is a pseudocereal, not a true cereal grain. Cereal grains come from the seeds of grasses, such as wheat. Pseudocereals come from the seeds of non-grasses, yet look like cereal grains. They are used in similar ways.
Soba Noodle Nutrition
To get maximum nutrition from soba noodles, look for brands made from 100 percent buckwheat. Buckwheat has several health benefits, including the following:
1. Good Source of Manganese
One cup of soba noodles has 0.4 mg of the mineral manganese. This is 21 percent of the daily recommended value. Manganese is important for bone health, glucose metabolism, and wound healing. It also supports your nervous system.
Research shows manganese deficiency may play a role in osteoporosis, diabetes, and epilepsy. Soba noodles contain small amounts of other important minerals, including:
2. Good Source of Thiamin
Thiamin, also known as vitamin B-1, is needed for energy metabolism and healthy cell growth and function. Thiamine is the primary nutrient depleted during alcohol intake and metabolism. Thiamin deficiency may cause cardiovascular problems like an enlarged heart, muscle weakness, confusion, and memory loss. A 2013 animal study showed that thiamin deficiency may play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
3. High in Protein
One cup of cooked soba noodles contains 6 grams of protein. Protein is critical to grow, maintain, and repair cells throughout your body. It helps build muscle, including your heart muscle. It also produces hemoglobin and helps keep your immune system healthy.
4. High in Soluble Fiber
Soba noodles are high in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber may help banish belly fat. A 2009 study found that participants who consumed the most soluble fiber had less visceral (belly) fat.
5. Supports Cardiovascular Health
Buckwheat may support heart health by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. It’s also thought to have anti-inflammatory effects in your body. Buckwheat’s flavonoid content is thought to be partially responsible. Flavonoids are plant compounds that support metabolic and cardiovascular function by reducing cell damage.
6. Helps Control Blood Sugar
A 2001 study showed that buckwheat products had a lower GI response after meals than white wheat bread. This may also be because of lower carb and higher fiber content. Although a cup of soba noodles has 24 grams of carbs, it’s less than traditional pastas and noodles. The high-fiber content helps to slow down how fast those carbs are digested, making it less likely to spike blood sugar levels.
7. Low in Fat
Soba noodles are a great option if you’re counting fat grams. When eaten alone, they’re virtually fat-free. To keep the fat count down, eat them in a light broth and add fresh herbs.
8. Free of Gluten
Buckwheat is gluten-free. This makes soba noodles a great alternative to traditional noodles and pasta made from wheat. But because some varieties contain other flours with gluten, read labels carefully if you have celiac disease or are sensitive to gluten.
9. A Prebiotic Food
A 2003 study on rats determined that buckwheat could possibly be considered a prebiotic food. Prebiotics are undigestible fibers that feeds probiotics. Probiotics are “good” bacteria in your body, especially your gut. They help protect against harmful bacteria and other microorganisms.
How to Cook Soba Noodles
You can enjoy soba noodles hot or cold. They’re often served with a dipping sauce like peanut or ginger sauce. They are sometimes served in broth.
Soba noodles are cooked in boiling water or broth. They are usually cooked al dente, which takes about five minutes. After cooking, the noodles are drained and rinsed.
These recipes make it easy to incorporate soba noodles into your diet.
- Green tea chicken and soba noodles: The combination of green tea, chicken, shitake mushrooms, and soba noodles is delicious. Ginger, soy sauce, and Sriracha complete the taste profile. View the recipe.
- Nori rolls with shitake and soba noodles: Nori is an edible seaweed. When you wrap it around soba noodles, cabbage, and shitake mushrooms, culinary magic happens. View the recipe.
- Sugar snap pea and carrot soba noodles: This colorful dish contains edamame, sugar snap peas, carrots, and soba noodles doused in a spicy, honey-ginger sauce. View the recipe.
- Cold soba noodle salad: Perk up a boring, brown bag lunch with this salad. Soba noodles are dressed up with a sauce made from honey, ginger, soy sauce, garlic, and chili paste. View the recipe.
- Soba noodles with lemony kale pesto: This recipe’s homemade kale and lemon pesto takes soba noodles to a new level. View the recipe.
- Tofu soba noodles: Tofu and soba noodles just seem to go together. This recipe features noodles tossed in both rice vinegar and brown sugar dressings. Crushed peanuts top it off. View the recipe.
- Make your own soba noodles: If the thought of making your own soba noodles is intimidating, think again. They’re not as hard to make as you may think. The main ingredients are buckwheat flour and water. If gluten isn’t an issue, you can add white or wheat flour to make the dough easier to work with. Keep in mind that this will alter the nutritional value. View the recipe.
Served cold or hot, soba noodles are a delicious and nutritious alternative to traditional pastas and other noodles. They’re a good source of:
Soba noodles are a great food to add to your healthy eating plan. The next time you’re in the grocery store and see a packet of ramen, reach for 100 percent buckwheat soba noodles instead.