Are Rice Noodles Healthier And More Nutritional Than Pasta And Other Noodles

Are Rice Noodles Healthier And More Nutritional Than Pasta And Other Noodles?

Rice noodles are made of rice flour and water. They may be a healthier option than whole grain noodles for people with celiac or gluten sensitivity.

Noodles and pasta are now a significant part of our diet. Whether you want a healthy meal or a quick snack, you have many options to choose from, including rice noodles, regular pasta, whole-wheat spaghetti, instant noodles, and more. Among these, rice noodles are gaining popularity due to the demand for gluten-free diets.

Each noodle variety has its own nutrient profile. So, one may be more suitable for you based on your nutrition needs and health condition.

Rice noodles are a staple in Southeast Asian cuisine. Unlike regular pasta, they don’t contain semolina or durum wheat. Instead, their main ingredients are rice flour and water, giving them a mild flavor. Manufacturers may also add tapioca or corn starch to achieve their transparent look and chewy texture.

You can find rice noodles in dried, fresh, and frozen forms, just like pasta. They come in different textures and shapes, including the popular thin rice noodles, also known as rice vermicelli.

What are the benefits of rice noodles?

Rice noodles can have many positive effects on your health due to their rich nutrient profile. Here are some of their benefits:

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A great source of selenium. Selenium is an important antioxidant that can improve your immune system and thyroid gland function. You can get an average of 7.92 μg of selenium from just 1 cup (176 grams) of cooked rice noodles, which is 14% of your recommended daily intake.

Low in sodium. Cooked rice noodles have low sodium content, around 19 milligrams per 100 grams of serving. However, be cautious with ingredients like soya sauce, as they can be highly salty.

Rich in manganese. Manganese plays a significant role in inflammation reduction and blood sugar control. You can get 0.201 milligrams of manganese from 1 cup (176 grams) of cooked rice noodles.

A good source of copper. A cup of cooked rice noodles provides 0.067 milligrams of copper, which helps in the formation of red blood cells and enhances your immune and nervous systems.

Gluten-free. Rice noodles are safe for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten intolerance since they don’t contain gluten, unlike wheat-based pasta.

Rice noodles have a texture and taste similar to wheat-based spaghetti and noodles, making them a suitable replacement for regular pasta if you follow a gluten-free diet. However, make sure to choose noodles with a gluten-free label to avoid cross-contamination.

How do rice noodles nutritionally differ from regular pasta?

It’s important to note that both rice noodles and regular pasta are made from refined grains, which makes them less nutritious and fiber-rich compared to whole-grain noodle varieties.

However, most dry pasta is enriched to compensate for the lost nutrients during the refining process.

Both rice noodles and pasta have similar amounts of cholesterol, fats, carbohydrates, and calories. Yet, their protein content differs significantly, with enriched pasta containing nearly 12 times more protein than rice noodles.

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In terms of minerals, enriched pasta has higher iron and phosphorus content compared to rice noodles. For instance, 100 grams of cooked rice noodles contain 0.14 milligrams of iron, while vitamin-enriched pasta has 3.8 milligrams per 100 grams.

Even in terms of vitamins, pasta has a better nutritional profile, including B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, and folate, which rice noodles lack.

However, rice noodles have an advantage over regular pasta as they are gluten-free. This makes them a better choice for individuals with gluten sensitivity.

How do rice noodles nutritionally differ from other noodles?

Various types of noodles, such as those made from black beans, zucchini, whole grains, chickpeas, and instant noodles, have different nutrient profiles than rice noodles. Here’s how they differ:

Fewer calories: Noodles like veggie noodles made from yellow squash and zucchini, as well as shirataki noodles made from the konjac plant’s root, have lower calories than rice noodles.

Higher fiber content: Spaghetti squash noodles and whole-grain noodles have higher fiber content compared to rice noodles. Whole-grain noodles are made by combining durum wheat, water, and sometimes eggs, increasing their fiber content.

Fewer nutrients: Packaged instant noodles, such as ramen noodles, are often fried and processed with high salt levels to extend their shelf life. These are considered unhealthy due to their increased risk of hypertension and cholesterol-related diseases.

What is healthier: Rice noodles, regular pasta, or other noodles?

When choosing between rice noodles, regular pasta, and other noodles, consider several factors.

If you’re generally healthy, you can consume any noodle variety. However, for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, rice noodles or gluten-free pasta are healthier options. Similarly, low-sodium noodles like rice noodles are preferable for individuals prone to hypertension. If you aim to lose weight or follow a low-calorie diet, shirataki noodles and spaghetti squash noodles are more suitable.

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If you have digestive issues like constipation and irritable bowel syndrome, whole grain noodles may be preferable over rice noodles. Whole-grain products are higher in fiber and often considered healthier than refined rice noodles.

Before making significant changes to your diet, it’s best to consult your doctor for guidance on the best foods to meet your health needs.

Sources:

Circulation Research: "Sodium intake and cardiovascular health."

Endokrynologia Polska: "The role of selenium in thyroid gland pathophysiology."

FoodData Central: "Rice noodles, cooked?"

Frontiers in Nutrition: "Gluten-Free Products for Celiac Susceptible People."

The George Institute: "Instant noodles too salty."

Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology: "Gluten-Free Rice Breading Using Composited Rice Flour and Pre-Germinated Brown Rice Flour for Health Benefits."

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