Ramen is a delicious Japanese soup made of noodles and broth that is frequently garnished with various ingredients like pork, green onions, bean sprouts, seaweed, and corn. But, you might need to make some adjustments if you want to consume ramen as a healthy dish.
Ramen is a popular meal that may be tasty but is frequently loaded with salt, calories, and carbs, leading many people to worry if it is unhealthy. Having said that, it’s probably not a smart idea to have ramen noodles every day.
Instant ramen is one of those quick and inexpensive dishes that seem to work when you’re short on time and money, along with frozen pizza and microwave burritos. The old-fashioned ramen bowls and styrofoam cups loaded with noodles aren’t exactly your go-to for everyday nourishment, though, now that you pay more attention to what you eat.
Traditional instant ramen is certainly something you now avoid while perusing the grocery store aisles, whether you’re on a low-carb or ketogenic diet or simply trying to be more selective about the foods you eat. Even yet, you could be thinking it would be wonderful if you weren’t forced to completely stop eating ramen. Ramen could have you questioning if Is ramen healthy for you?
So, that depends entirely on the kind we’re referring to.
Fresh ramen noodles are a healthy option, especially when they’re paired with vegetables and a protein like pig, beef, chicken, shrimp, egg, or tofu. You can get them in certain Chinese and Japanese restaurants.
The ubiquitous instant noodles that you may microwave or soak in boiling water are the subject of this guide. Let’s examine the instant ramen facts so you may decide with knowledge whether you want to resume your regular consumption of this practical favorite.
What Are Ramen Noodles?
Little blocks of dry ramen are available. They come with a flavor packet that is devoid of nutrients and quite heavy in salt. Japanese ramen is a well-liked noodle dish both in Japan and abroad. Despite the many variants, the fundamental components of ramen noodles are a broth base, long, thin wheat noodles, and a variety of toppings. Ramen noodles are typically linked in the US with the dry product with the garishly colored container. Yet in order to comprehend the cuisine, it should be viewed as a soup that includes noodles rather than just noodles.
What Are Ramen Noodles Made Of?
The ramen noodles might be thick and straight or thin and curly. Typically, a thicker noodle goes with a heavier broth, but occasionally, ramen restaurants may let customers select both the type of broth and the kind of noodles. Nonetheless, the basic ingredients for all ramen noodles are wheat flour, water, salt, and kansui, an alkaline mineral. Noodles’ flexibility and chewiness are due to kansui. Moreover, it gives ramen its yellow hue. Ramen noodles do not contain eggs despite what some people may believe because of this.
One 81g packet of ramen noodles has 14g of total fat and 6.58 g of total saturated fat, or about 33% of your daily recommended consumption, according to USDA.gov. Fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein are all lacking in ramen noodles. Ramen noodles provide a lot of calories but practically little nutritional value. Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone is used to preserve ramen in its storage state (TBHQ). It is a petroleum-based substance that is difficult to digest and is also present in lacquers and insecticides. The body is exposed to this chemical for a longer amount of time than usual since it makes the noodles difficult to digest. Also, it will prevent your body from absorbing other nutrients.
Where Do Ramen Noodles Come From?
Ramen noodles are thought to have come from China and then been brought to Japan. Yet ramen is a frequent and well-liked dish in Asian cuisines, particularly in Japan. Japan offers a wide variety of dried, pre-packaged ramen containers that are only waiting to be boiled and spiced. Yet there are ramen restaurants virtually everywhere, even in little back alleys.
The prevalence of veggies is another distinction in Japan. The variety of veggies in a bowl of fresh ramen may include:
other veg other greens
In Japan, fresh ramen will also have some protein. A piece of pork is the most widely used option.
Is ramen healthy for you?
Do the noodles eaten here and those we see in Japan vary in any way? Is the nutrition of ramen noodles different? In Japan, fresh noodles are the norm. Although not all establishments hand-make their noodles, there are few well-known shops in big cities that do. Moreover, the taste will come from the broth and will be in the form of salt, soy, miso, or pork. While some fish stock is available, most broths are made with beef and include a lot of salt. Yet, the Japanese do not consume the entire soup.
There is evidence that women with metabolic syndrome are more likely to consume ramen. The risk of developing metabolic syndrome is 68% higher in people who consume instant noodles more than twice a week. This holds true independent of how many other nutritious foods they consume or how much physical activity they get. Ingredients that have undergone extensive processing, such as salt and saturated fat, are to blame. They contribute to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and stroke.
Heart failure is a risk factor for people with heart disease. Sodium is a direct contributor to high blood pressure, which can quickly result in heart attack and stroke. Generic ramen noodles contain 1503 mg of salt, or around 65% of the daily amount advised by the FDA, according to USDA.gov. These may increase your total daily salt consumption without your knowledge. Every time you consume prepackaged ramen noodles, your risk increases.
What makes ramen unhealthy?
The instant variety of certain ramen is seen as an ultra-processed cuisine, which might be a first hurdle to overcome. Atopic dermatitis (red, itchy skin rashes), obesity, and even some malignancies, like colon cancer, have all been linked to regular intake of highly processed foods, as science has repeatedly shown. A 2017 biology research cautioned younger ramen fans that youngsters with ADHD “are recommended to avoid all meals that may include” certain instant ramen components.
Another thing to note is that the salt content in ramen noodles, which contributes to their taste, is frequently high. Why is a high sodium level a concern? This is why: It has an impact on the fluid volume surrounding your heart, lungs, and legs.
Moreover, many packaged ramen items may include ingredients that are unhealthy, such bisphenol A, tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), and monosodium glutamate (MSG), in addition to palm oil, saturated fat, flavor enhancers, and additives (BPA). Even the crackly, polystyrene containers that ramen is sometimes packaged in contain substances that, in certain situations, may cause cancer.
So perhaps it’s not a good idea to stock up on that bulk ramen carton from Costco, but other nutritionists claim that the odd dish of ramen can still be a part of a balanced diet.
Pay heed to certain general warnings, like these, to make ramen healthier:
Read the ingredient lists thoroughly (and steer clear of eating anything with difficult-to-pronounce components).
A limit of 2,300 milligrams (mg) of salt per day is advised by the American Heart Association, so keep an eye out for it.
Create a nourishing lunch that is satisfying on many levels by combining ramen with a few healthy items. (Further down, a talented chef makes some alluring recommendations.)
Is ramen a bad carb?
The body uses carbohydrates, a necessary macronutrient, to create glucose (sugar), which it uses as fuel. What, however, separates “good” carbs from “bad” carbs? There are three types of carbohydrates, according to the Cleveland Clinic: sugars, fiber, and starches. Sugars can also be classified as simple or complex carbohydrates. This establishes if a food contains healthy or poor carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates are good for you. Whole plant foods including fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains include them. Also, these foods provide significant amounts of fiber, vitamins, and minerals that improve satiety and support health. They take longer to digest, which makes your blood sugar less likely to surge. This enhances satiety and gives you balanced energy, both of which are beneficial things.
The opposite are simple carbohydrates. They do raise blood sugar, which results in energy slumps and makes you feel hungry more quickly after meals. Further to raising your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol, this leads to weight gain. Simple carbohydrates are included in highly processed, prefabricated meals that lack nutritional value. This group of foods includes instant ramen noodles.
So, one answer to the question “Is ramen a harmful carb?” is that it actually depends on the individual. You may add healthy noodles to a homemade version of the pre-packaged version to add more nutritious carbohydrates to your ramen bowl. (In the section below, we provide detailed advice on a handful of the top ramen noodles to try.)
Tips to make ramen healthier
Here are several methods to improve the nutritional content of this quick lunch if you like ramen (and really, who doesn’t?) but are worried about the effects on your health:
- Include vegetables: According to Dr. Joan Salge Blake, a nutrition professor at Boston University, “You may construct a better, economical lunch by adding inexpensive, washed canned beans and frozen vegetables to it.” To add nutrition to your dinner, you can also choose fresh or frozen vegetables like cauliflower, spiralized zucchini, seaweed, kimchi, carrots, or spinach. Dr. Blake notes that they will increase the meal’s nutritive fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals while lowering its salt and saturated fat content.
- Choose goods with less sodium: You might be amazed at how simple it is to locate reduced sodium ramen components. The following choices are provided.
- Verify the substances a second time; if they sound like complex manufactured compounds, they probably are. See the following advice instead.
- Choose organic: Products that are organic are often more nutrient-dense and less likely to contain toxic chemicals.
- Create your own broth as an alternative to the dubious flavor packets that frequently accompany instant ramen noodles. Instead, to cut down on the salt in the dish, prepare your own vegetable broth (our sibling site, Taste of Home, has a terrific ramen recipe that incorporates broth). Next, add your own herbs or seasonings. (Again, suggestions from a chef are below.)
Ramen is often seen as a go-to budget meal. After all, it’s cheap and provides a filling, warm meal in minutes. But if ramen is part of your regular diet, the health consequences are real and not to be taken lightly. The sodium, preservatives, additives and artificial flavors present in most packaged ramen can degrade your health over time when eaten regularly for extended periods. In some cases, it may even increase the risk of certain diseases like cancer or diabetes due to its high fat content. Eating too much of it can result in an unhealthy weight gain as well. If you’re looking to eat healthier but don’t want to sacrifice convenience or affordability, consider using whole grain or other alternative noodles in your soups or look for ways to add vegetables and lean protein that are lower in sodium. It’s possible make delicious meals with few ingredients while staying within a budget that won’t compromise the quality of your health. When making food choices, always opt for healthy alternatives first and keep track on how much you consume them because no matter how convenient they are -your health should come first!
To conclude, the answer to whether ramen is healthy for you is complex. The core ingredients that make up ramen – including noodles, broth, and additional flavorings – vary drastically based on product. When making your ramen selection, make sure to review product labels carefully and pay special attention to salt content. Additionally, while it’s true that certain add-ins can be unhealthy in the context of a ramen bowl, when done responsibly and mindfully, add-ins like eggs or vegetables can help to make your ramen a nutritious meal. Overall, if you’re eating predominantly healthy foods but want to indulge in the occasional ramen feast, there’s no need to fear — just look for products with reduced sodium or natural ingredients and consider adding a few healthful optional items of your own such as corn kernels or spinach leaves. As long as you learn about what goes into a typical bowl of ramen and tailor your own dish accordingly, you will enhance its nutrients rather than diminish them! If you have further questions about what makes a ‘healthy’ bowl of ramen or need help sorting through nutrition labels, contact us at Angelo’s Burgers today!