Provided by: Amanda Albiar, NCSF-CPT

I enjoy a healthy change in my eating regimen and thus try to bring variety into my eating plan. One of the ways I do this is by paying attention to how a chef prepares a certain dish when eating out or watching cooking shows on TV. Most recently, I’ve noticed a certain noodle in several dishes at restaurants and also saw them cooking with these noodles on two different cooking shows. The noodles turned out to be “Soba noodles” and apparently there are many different types of Soba noodles. The most interesting component to this Japanese noodle is that it is made with buckwheat….and buckwheat is wheat free. This can get confusing; especially if you are on a gluten-free plan.

Buckwheat is not wheat at all, it is a seed. Since buckwheat is a seed, it’s not a grain (specifically it’s not a wheat grain), and thus is gluten-free and safe for people with celiac disease or other non-celiac gluten sensitivities. Buckwheat is a good source of nutrients like protein, fiber, iron, carbohydrates, thiamine, and manganese. Manganese is particularly important because it makes up a component of several enzymes, including those needed to convert food into energy and antioxidant enzymes — a class of enzymes that squash harmful free radicals to prevent cell damage. Manganese also helps make collagen, a protein required for wound healing, maintain healthy cartilage and strong bones.

Another great thing about Soba noodles is that they have less calories, more fiber, and more protein than traditional pasta. So it will help keep your blood sugars more stabilized. Traditional pasta is made out of refined flour and tends to be higher in calories, sugars and carbohydrates. Keep in mind that you will not get all of the nutrients you need with just the Soba noodles; so top the noodles off with lean protein, tofu, and plenty of vegetables.

Resource: Livestrong.com, Oct. 2017

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