Instant noodles are one of the most widely consumed food on the planet. They are lifesavers to busy university students, and other people with little time. They can be easily prepared and can be very delicious too.
However, they have a lot of debate and controversies regarding the health or medical effects of instant noodles. Many people view instant noodles as an unhealthy food with no nutrients, still others view instant noodles as the perfect food for them. Since I care about your health, I’ve decided to write on the health facts about instant noodles. I made meticulous research to find out the truth, myths and health facts about instant noodles.
Please, read and find how you can benefit from this article. But before we proceed, what are instant noodles? Let’s find out.
What are instant noodles?
Instant noodles are pre cooked noodles made from usually wheat flour, palm oil, and salt. They are steamed, dried and packaged and sold in packets or cups. Instant noodles are normally sold along with flavoring powder and probably seasoning oil. The flavoring powder is made up of salt, monosodium glutamate, seasoning, and sugar. Did you also know that instant noodles were invented? Yes, a Japanese, Momofuku Ando of Nissin Foods invented instant noodles in 1958. Today, instant noodles is
a popular food is many parts of the world. China being the highest consumers of indomie and Indonesia coming in second. In 2007, Nigeria was ranked as the 13th highest consumers of instant noodles. Popular brands of instant noodles include, Top ramen, Cup noodles, Indomie noodles and Sapporo Ichiban.
Now, enough of the side talk, let’s find out some shocking health facts about instant noodles.
Health Facts About Instant Noodles
1. Nutritional content of instant noodles
Instant noodles are primarily made up of wheat flour, salt and wager. Other micro nutrients may vary according to different brands of instant noodles. However the main nutritional content of most instant noodles have low calories fiber, protein, vitamins and mineral content. On the other hand they are have higher fat, carbohydrate, sodium content.
2. Instant noodles are not really good for weight loss.
Even though some instant noodles have few calories per serving, they are very low in dietary fiber and proteins, which are essential for any weight loss diet. However, you can eat noodles or ramen to lose weight, if you diet carefully with the help of a nutritionist.
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3. Some instant noodles provide essential nutrients.
Different brands of instant noodles contain different nutrients. Some brands fortify they instant noodles with manganese and Vitamin B complex vitamins, like riboflavin and thiamine. In fact, a 2011 study of more than 6000 instant noodle consumers showed that they had a had a 31% greater intake of thiamine and a 16% higher intake of riboflavin than those who did not consume instant noodles.
4. Instant noodles are very high in sodium.
This is one major health issue regarding the consumption of instant noodles. The average sodium content in meal of noodles is about 1700 mg. That is very close the recommended average daily intake of sodium (2300 mg). What could the high sodium content in noodles lead to? It could increase the risks of hypertension and even kidney failure. People who are said to be salt-sensitive are especially at risk.
5. Instant noodles takes hours before being digested.
Dr. Braden Kuo, a director of the gastrointestinal motility laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard University, conducted a study to test the digestion of ramen noodles. He made use of a tiny camera to study the breakdown of instant ramen noodles in the stomach. The results, unbelievable! The noodles were found to be intact after two hours of being consumed. This can be very harmful because it stresses the digestive system to break down such processed food.
6. They contain MSG.
Like I mentioned earlier, most noodles are made with a common ingredient called monosodium glutamate (MSG). It is an additive used to provide flavor to processed food. The FDA recognizes MSG as safe for consumption. However, some research on MSG, has linked it’s consumption to weight gain nausea, high blood pressure, headaches and negative effects on brain health. Well, some contrary studies have shown that all these symptoms may not occur if they are consumed moderately. Nevertheless, some people are sensitive to MSG, this condition is known as he MSG symptom complex. If you have it, you are to avoid foods containing MSG. People with MSG symptom complex usually have headaches, numbness and nausea after eating noodles.
7. Instant noodles increase the risk of metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that could lead to increased risk of heart diseases, stroke and diabetes. In 2014, a study conducted in South Korea, among women who consumed instant noodles found out that women who consume instant noodles twice or more a week were found to be more likely to have metabolic syndrome.
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Now that we have seen the health facts about instant noodles, is it still healthy yo eat instant noodles? Yes, it is. Here’s how you can make your noodles healthier for eating.
There might also be some evidence that suggests that high consumption of instant noodles can lead to decreased vitamin D in the body.
How to make instant noodles healthy?
The first step in making your noodles healthy is by purchasing a good instant noodle. Some brands of noodles contain low sodium and moderate fiber content. It is imperative that you read the labels before buying. Purchase instant noodles that have lower sodium content and/or made from whole grains.
The next set is preparing the noodles.
They say cooking is an art. A particular type of food can be cooked in different ways, including instant noodles. Try adding vegetables and proteins like egg or meat, while consuming noodles. This is called hacking your food to be healthy.
The key to eating healthy is moderation. Instant noodles are a great source of food, but they should be eaten in moderation. I recommend at most once a week. If you try to eat healthy, you will learn to live healthy.
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