Are you fond of ramen noodles? While it has become popular, do you know if ramen is healthy or not! Let’s find out.

Ramen noodles are a popular type of quick noodle that is consumed all over the world. People who are short on time or have a tight budget often opt for instant ramen noodles. Ramen is a traditional dish in Japan and Korea and is considered to be a comfort food. It is perfect to have it when you’re at home, craving something savoury. However, there’s a debate on whether ramen is good or bad for your health. If you’ve been wondering if ramen is healthy for you or not, here’s everything you need to know.

What is ramen?

Ramen is a type of noodle soup dish that is made with wheat noodles, broth, and toppings. Instant ramen may include a flash-fried or air-dried block of noodles, a flavour packet, and dried toppings that are rehydrated and cooked in boiling water.

ramen noodles
Instant ramen noodles are not healthy for you. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

Ramen vs instant ramen noodles

Ramen, the beloved noodle dish, typically features quick-cooking noodles served in a flavourful broth with meat and vegetables. On the other hand, ramen noodles, particularly in their instant form, are quick and convenient alternatives, but they often come with added preservatives and flavour enhancers, says nutritionist Eti Jain.

Is ramen healthy?

It is important to note that ramen itself is not inherently good or bad for health. How it affects you depends on how it is prepared and consumed. When made with fresh, wholesome ingredients and prepared with mindfulness towards nutritional balance, ramen can be a satisfying and nourishing meal.

However, instant ramen noodles, often laden with sodium, additives, and preservatives, can pose health risks when consumed excessively or as a staple in one’s diet. Therefore, individuals need to approach ramen consumption with moderation and mindfulness, opting for healthier preparation methods and balancing it with a variety of nutritious foods in their diet.

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What are the benefits of ramen?

Here are some of the notable benefits of ramen as explained by the expert:

1. Rich in high-quality protein

Traditional ramen incorporates various protein sources like pork, chicken, or tofu, providing essential amino acids crucial for muscle growth and immune function.

2. High in nutrient-rich vegetables

Ramen is not only delicious but also loaded with a variety of nutrient-dense vegetables, providing a healthy dose of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are necessary for maintaining overall health and well-being.

3. Contains complex carbohydrates

Ramen is made up of wheat-based noodles. These noodles are an excellent source of sustained energy, thanks to their complex carbohydrates. Unlike simple carbohydrates, which can lead to spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, wheat-based noodles help maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day, providing a consistent source of fuel for the body.

4. Good for bones

Ramen broth is slowly simmered for hours to extract all the goodness from its ingredients. It contains collagen, amino acids, and minerals that offer a plethora of health benefits, including promoting healthy joints, aiding digestion, and improving the elasticity of your skin.

How to make ramen noodles healthier?

To make your ramen healthier, try incorporating these quick and easy tips in your ramen noodles bowl:

1. Add protein

One way to increase the protein content in your ramen is by incorporating chicken broth or eggs. Both chicken broth and eggs are excellent sources of protein that can be easily added to ramen bowls. Not only will this help you meet your daily protein requirements, but it can also enhance flavour and nutrition.

2. Include vegetables

One simple way to ensure that your ramen bowl is packed with essential nutrients is by incorporating fibre-rich vegetables like broccoli and carrots. By adding these colourful and nutritious veggies to your plate, you can not only enhance the taste and texture of your ramen but also boost its overall nutritional value.

3. Give a flavourful spice touchup

A great way to make your ramen healthier is by replacing pre-packaged flavour enhancers with herbs and spices. Not only are herbs and spices a more natural seasoning alternative, but they also add a depth of flavour to your ramen that cannot be replicated by artificial ingredients. Plus, herbs and spices are packed with antioxidants and other nutrients that are beneficial for your health.

ramen noodles
Add some spices and veggies to make ramen more flavourful. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

Are there any side effects of ramen?

While instant ramen noodles offer convenience, they come with side effects:

  • High sodium content: Instant ramen noodles often contain excessive salt, contributing to high blood pressure and cardiovascular issues.
  • Additives and preservatives: Ingredients like tert-Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) and monosodium glutamate (MSG) found in instant ramen can pose health risks, especially when consumed in large quantities.

While instant ramen noodles offer convenience, they can lead to health problems if consumed regularly. By understanding the benefits, drawbacks, and ways to make it healthier, we can enjoy ramen responsibly, ensuring a balance between convenience and nutrition in our diet.

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