Other than being fairly high in sodium, udon noodles aren't terrible for you.
Udon noodles, a form of noodle common in Japanese cuisine that was introduced to Japan in the 9th century CE by Buddhist priest Kakai, is made primarily from wheat flour, water, and salt. The health benefits will vary depending on whether or not you get your udon noodles pre-made or if they are homemade. Typically, homemade udon noodles will be more beneficial as you can determine what goes in them.
Refined udon noodles will often not contain much in the way of nutrients, and fiber is low with only 4% of the daily recommended value. Whole-wheat udon noodles, on the other hand, contain a variety of nutrients with some versions containing up to 20% of the daily recommended value for fiber.
While the amount of calories in udon noodles are less than that in, say, spaghetti - there still is a significant amount, with nearly 200 calories being present in a 2 oz serving. Excess calories can lead to weight gain and subsequently an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. Another concern regarding udon noodles is the sodium content, with one cup providing over a quarter of the daily recommended limit. The effects of excess sodium are well documented and include headaches (short-term) as well as kidney and liver damage (long-term).
Udon noodles will also be a concern for people trying to avoid gluten or who have Celiac's disease, due to the wheat content. Overall, whole-wheat udon noodles can provide a decent amount of nutrients (particularly fiber, which aids in LDL reduction and thus reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease). However, for people who cannot eat wheat, udon noodles may be, at best, thought of as a lower-calorie alternative to other types of pasta.
Possible short-term side effects
- water retention
Possible long-term side effects
- heart disease
- liver and kidney damage
Ingredients to be aware of
- wheat flour
- excessive levels of sodium
- whole wheat versions provide several important nutrients
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Written by Jeff Volling | 02-17-2016
Written by Jeff Volling
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