If you have tried a dish with udon noodles, then you know how delicious and fun they are to eat. If you haven’t tasted them yet, you’re in for a treat. They are a chewy noodle with mild flavor made from wheat and will elevate many dishes. Whether you are looking to try a healthy alternative to other noodles or want a warm comfort food as the weather turns colder, this article aims to show why udon noodles reign supreme.
What are udon noodles?
These white noodles are incredibly popular. Usually four to six millimeters in width, they rank as the thickest of all the Japanese noodles. Although they often are made out of wheat, there are brown rice varieties that are ideal for those with gluten allergies or sensitivities. Typically found in broth in the form of udon soup, these noodles will not disappoint. Outside of the delicious and warming soup dishes, you may find them in stir-fry recipes or even served cold. Miso sauce is a common accompaniment when cold udon noodles are on the menu. Other udon noodle dishes include Nabeyaki udon, curry udon, yaki udon and are even found in hot dashi. Now that your mouth is watering, you might be wondering what the benefits are.
Well, are udon noodles healthy?
The answer is yes. There are five main health benefits to these slurpable noodles:
- Carbohydrates – When made from a wheat flour of high-quality, the complex carbohydrates are beneficial. These are higher in fiber and promote slower digestion than their simple carbohydrate counterpart. If your goal is to watch your weight, or maintain a healthy blood sugar level, then definitely lean towards complex carbohydrates. Another added benefit is that complex carbs aid in the prevention of heart complications.
- Easy to Digest – The simple recipe for udon noodles – comprised of flour, water, and salt – makes eating them easy on the body. Void of unnecessary added fat, they are processed quickly and efficiently. Some attribute the intense kneading required when making udon noodles to their easy digestibility. When this process occurs, the wheat proteins are concentrated and mix with starch molecules, thus allowing the digestive enzymes to work their magic.
- Colon Cancer Prevention – A high fiber noodle, if consumed regularly, aids in preventing constipation. As intestinal health improves, the risk of more serious health problems – such as colorectal cancer – is decreased. The American Institute for Cancer Research cites that the risk of colorectal cancer is decreased by 10% for every 10g of fiber eaten daily.
- Stress No More – In conjunction with exercise and proper sleep, diet also plays a role in managing stress. Complex carbohydrates are recommended for those dealing with stress and a warm bowl of udon noodles in broth will not disappoint.
- B Vitamins – Half of the B vitamins are found in whole grain udon noodles – B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin) and B9 (folate). A diet rich in B vitamins helps to turn the food you consume into energy.
It is understandable though if you are familiar with ramen and not udon. There are slight differences between ramen and udon. Ramen and udon are both typically made from wheat, but udon is free from additional ingredients. They differ in color with ramen being yellow. As far as the dishes go, ramen noodles are popular in broth and share similar pairings to udon. Many people prefer, after trying both, the texture and flavor of udon noodles above ramen, however.
Try both and judge for yourself at Noodle Bar PHX. Our Japanese restaurant in Phoenix has been satisfying customers dish after dish and features a menu of both Japanese and Italian dishes that will not disappoint. Visit us today and see for yourself!