Rice noodles possess such a mild flavor that they make a good match for almost any type of sauce or topping, from mild chicken broth to a fiery Szechuan pepper dish. Beyond culinary benefits, one reason to choose rice noodles is that they’re gluten-free. They also deliver nutrients in the form of fiber, zinc and iron.
Before Asian noodles became popular in the United States, “noodles” referred to a product made from flour, water and eggs. Asian noodles are different because they don’t use eggs. In addition to rice, you'll find a variety of Asian noodles made from wheat, buckwheat and mung beans. Rice noodles are made from rice flour and water, or rice that’s soaked, ground into paste, rolled and cut into noodles. One cup of cooked rice noodles has 192 calories, 0.4 grams of total fat and 44 grams of carbohydrates.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye that works with yeast to make bread dough rise. It’s also a health problem for people who are gluten-sensitive or have celiac disease. Celiac disease, or sprue, is a genetic disorder in which the immune system reacts to gluten, damages the intestine and causes inflammation that can spread throughout the body. The only way to prevent this damage is to permanently remove gluten-containing products from your diet. Rice is naturally gluten-free, so rice noodles make a good replacement for noodles made from wheat flour.
Fiber and Protein:
One cup of cooked rice noodles has 1.6 grams of protein and 1.8 grams of fiber. For men those values represent 3 percent of their daily protein needs and 5 percent of total daily fiber. Women gain 4 percent of their recommended daily intake of protein and 7 percent of fiber from 1 cup of cooked rice noodles.
One sure sign that zinc is essential is that it’s present in all the tissues and fluids in your body. Without sufficient zinc, your immune system can’t work to its maximum ability. It's also a component of enzymes that metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Zinc helps regulate genes and it’s vital for the production and growth of new cells. Men should consume 11 milligrams and women need 8 milligrams of zinc daily. You’ll get 0.44 milligrams in 1 cup of cooked rice noodles, which is 4 percent of the daily intake for men and 5 percent for women.
In addition to its essential role in delivering oxygen to cells, iron helps your body produce red blood cells. An iron deficiency impacts your immune system because it’s needed for the development of white blood cells, called T cells that attack infected and cancerous cells. On the other hand, too much iron is toxic. That’s a special concern for children. Accidental iron overdose is a leading cause of poisoning in young children, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. One cup of cooked rice noodles contains 0.25 milligrams of iron, which is 2 percent of the daily intake for women and 3 percent for men.