Insights & Actions for Healthy Living

What is a soba noodle and why should I eat it?

We all have probably seen recent advertisements for a noodle bowl containing soba noodles from a national restaurant chain. Most of us probably have never heard about soba noodles before seeing them appear on the menu of our favorite eatery.

Soba noodles are made from buckwheat and are thinner in size than regular wheat pasta. They originated in Japan in the 1800s as a more nutritional substitute for white rice. Soba noodles have a nutty flavor derived from the buckwheat.

There is a nutritional difference between wheat noodles and soba noodles:

  • Lower in calories by as much as half as wheat – soba contains 113 calories per cup serving
  • Not all are gluten free due to the addition of wheat flour but those that are purely buckwheat are considered gluten free
  • No fat or cholesterol
  • Relatively low in sodium – contains 68 mg sodium per cup serving
  • Does contribute carbohydrate and therefore will raise blood sugar as do wheat noodles. It has been reported that buckwheat noodles cause a slower increase in blood sugar than wheat noodles. Contains 24 grams of total carbohydrate per cup serving. Glycemic load is 22.
  • Contains 6 grams of protein per cup serving including the amino acid lysine but is not a complete protein source so it needs to be paired with another protein source to ensure you are getting a complete protein
  • Contains good source of manganese and thiamin per serving

When buying soba noodles, check the ingredient list and be sure you are using noodles with at least 80% soba or buckwheat. Many noodles have wheat flour as the primary ingredient so won’t provide the benefits you seek if you want to switch to a different grain pasta.

If you seek a gluten free choice or are looking to keep pasta in your diet but desire the benefit of lower calories, then soba noodles are definitely worth a try to keep you diet healthy and balanced.

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