Are Rice Noodles Good for Your Body?

Made from water and rice flour, rice noodles are quite common in most Asian cuisines. Many people ask if they are healthy. Rice flour does not have the gluten found in white flour and other flours. That is why it is a good choice for anyone suffering from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. You can make it even healthier by combining it with other healthful ingredients. Keep reading to learn more.

Are Rice Noodles Healthy to Eat?

Yes, they are, so long as you cook them in healthy ways. While rice flour is a rich source of carbs, it is actually a simple starch and a good source of glucose that your body can easily turn into energy. Unlike brown rice, white rice does not contain anti-nutrients such as phtates and lectins. Rice noodles are also gluten-free, affordable, sustainable, and quite suitable for vegetarians and vegans. You cannot call them particularly nutritious, but they become quite healthy when served with foods such as fish and vegetables.

Nutrition Facts of Rice Noodle

1. Calories and Fat

You get about 192 calories from a cup of cooked rice noodles. It does not contain any fat, but this may change, depending on what else you use with it. Consuming it with vegetables, meats, and sauces will change its fat content and total calories.

2. Protein

You will not get much protein from rice noodles–there are only 2 grams of protein in a cup of cooked noodles. Your body needs protein to build new muscles, repair tissues, and improve your immune system. It is therefore important to add beef, turkey, or seafood to rice noodles to improve your protein intake.

3. Carbs

You need carbs to stay active, and rice noodle provides you with enough of it. You get 44 g of carbs from a cup of rice noodles–this equals 33.8% of your recommended daily intake of carbs. The carbs found in rice noodles promote waste elimination and improves your digestive system as well.

4. Minerals

A cup of cooked rice noodles provides you with 1% of your recommended daily intake of iron and calcium. You need 1,000-3,000 mg of calcium a day for healthy teeth and bones. The presence of iron in rice noodles helps deliver oxygen to cells in your body and prevents fatigue.

Is Rice Noodle Better than Regular Pasta?

You do not usually see benefits in terms of fat and calories when you switch to rice noodles from regular pasta. In fact, rice noodles have considerably less minerals and protein–you get 12 g of protein and 20% of recommended daily intake of iron from a cup of regular pasta. However, you should switch to rice noodle if you want to be on a low-carb diet. A cup of regular pasta provides you with 63 g of carbs, but the same serving of rice noodles offers 44 g of carbs only.

How to Cook Rice Noodle Healthily

Are rice noodles healthy? It depends on how you cook it. Here is how to do it correctly:

  • Get a deep mixing bowl and place rice noodles in it. Try not to snap them as you add them to the bowl.
  • Take some water and bring it to boil. Pour it over the rice noodles. Ensure they are submerged.
  • Stir noodles every two minutes to help them loosen up a bit. Taste when they look limp.
  • Drain the noodles when they are tender and run under cool water. Take a bit of sesame oil and add it to the noodles to keep them from sticking with each other.

It usually takes a few minutes to cook the thread-like vermicelli noodles, whereas you will need at least ten minutes to cook the flat rice noodles. Here is a great video to help you learn how to cook rice noodles:

Serving Tips

Once you know the right way to cook your rice noodles, it is important to learn the best ways to serve them. Here are some suggestions:

1. Stir Fries

Thin, cooked rice noodles serve as a good alternative to standard rice for Asian stir-fries. You just need to ensure that you add the rice noodles to the stir-fry during the very last minutes of cooking. Moreover, you should use fully cooked noodles only if you will be adding the ingredients of stir-fry over rice noodles that you have finished cooking. If you are using fresh noodles, you should use them during the last few minutes of stir-frying.

2. Soups

You can always add rice noodles to Asian-inspired soups. The best way to do it is to add rice noodles to your soup when noodles are still uncooked. Add it to the broth when you are about to finish cooking. Ensure that noodles are not overcooked. It is also possible to add partial cooked noodles to the broth, but do it once the soup is off the heat because the hot broth will cook the noodles.

3. Cold Dishes

You can also use rice noodles with cold dishes. For this, you will be better off using fully cooked rice noodles. You have many options in this regard–rice noodles work great with cold bean dishes, vegetable salads, and cold soups. 

The answer to "are rice noodles healthy" depends mostly on what other ingredients you use with it. So be sure to cook it in healthy ways.

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