Shirataki noodles are usually considered good. These noodles are low in calories and carbohydrates and high in glucomannan (fiber). Glucomannan is a water-soluble dietary fiber with multiple health benefits and is often used for promoting weight loss. However, shirataki noodles have very little micronutrients. It may be as beneficial as glucomannan, but it expands rapidly and may absorb up to 50 times its weight in water, which may cause discomfort. In some extreme cases, glucomannan can lead to malnutrition as well because the soluble fiber can stop the gastrointestinal (GI) tract from absorbing all of the essential nutrients from the food because it passes through the digestive tract. Glucomannan being highly absorbent may present a danger for children and adults of choking, intestinal blockage, or throat and esophagus blockage if glucomannan expands before reaching the stomach. Glucomannan has also been found to cause bloating, flatulence, and soft stools or diarrhea. It can potentially reduce the availability of oral medications and supplements to the body. However, if the noodles are eaten after being saturated with water and the sauce may reduce the side-effects. If Shirataki noodles are considered for weight loss strategy, it should not be eaten in isolation for lasting results. For an individual to achieve lasting results, they may need to make a permanent change to lifestyle.
What are the common health benefits of shirataki noodles apart from weight loss?
Shirataki noodles are sometimes referred to as the miracle noodles. Rightly so, because of the health benefits that include:
- Gut health: The dietary fiber in the shirataki noodles serves as a prebiotic. This promotes the growth of good bacteria, and this would support better gut health. Prebiotics also decrease swelling and relieve stress.
- Prevent the occurrence of colon cancer: Shirataki noodles aren't completely digested. They just pass through the length of the digestive tract. As they move, they stimulate the muscles in the intestines. They clean the digestive tract and promote soft-stool consistency as they pass through. While on their journey, the noodles create healthy, short-chain fatty acids in the body. These can help in lowering the levels of bad cholesterol and boosting the immune system. They can also clean the colon, which aids in mineral absorption. All these actions are essential for general health and may even help prevent the occurrence of colon cancer.
- Lowers cholesterol levels: The fiber in shirataki noodles also helps in lowering cholesterol levels in the body. The fiber appears to have some beneficial effects on total cholesterol. This includes triglycerides, low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol, body weight, and more.
- Helps patients with polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD): The high contents of glucomannan fibers in shirataki noodles may help to lower the insulin spikes in the body. Glucomannan can also lower fructosamine levels, a marker that is used to measure healthy blood sugar levels. All these are helpful in people who suffer from PCOD.
- Great for diabetes: People with diabetes will also benefit from shirataki noodles because they can aid in stabilizing the fluctuations of blood sugar levels. With the presence of the glucomannan fibers in the noodles, the digestion of food slows down and controls the release of glucose. This control can prevent possible spikes in blood glucose levels. Glucomannan fibers in shirataki noodles are also water-soluble. This makes them essential in stabilizing blood sugar.
- Other common benefits include:
- Relieving constipation by encouraging quicker bowel movements
- Reducing the risk of cancer and other serious diseases by strengthening the activity of the antioxidants in the body
- Reducing the thyroid hormone levels in people suffering from hypothyroidism
- Helping improve overall skin health and preventing acne
- Encouraging the faster healing of wounds
Do shirataki noodles taste good?
Shirataki noodles are usually tasteless until cooked with other ingredients. The smell of the shirataki noodles is not pleasant for everybody. However, one can get rid of this smell by simply soaking and rinsing the noodles with cold water. It is usually recommended to boil these noodles in water with half a tablespoon of salt for a couple of minutes. These noodles are considered tasteful if cooked with garlic, ginger, soy sauce, curry powder, or sesame oil. Many diners may prefer to have this noodle immersed in miso soup because of its balanced taste. For meats, one may add lean pork, chicken, and beef. Green, leafy vegetables and other vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower can be used as well.