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Are Instant Noodles Bad for You?
Instant noodles are a popular convenience food eaten all over the world.Though they're inexpensive and easy to prepare, there is controversy over whether or not they have adverse health effects.This is because they contain few nutrients and high amounts of sodium and MSG.
This article looks at the possible effects of instant noodles on health.
What Are Instant Noodles?
Instant noodles are a type of pre-cooked noodle, usually sold in individual packets or cups and bowls.Typical ingredients in the noodles include flour, salt and palm oil. The flavoring packets generally contain salt, seasoning and monosodium glutamate (MSG).After the noodles have been made in the factory, they are steamed, dried and packaged .
Each package contains a block of dried noodles as well as a packet of flavoring and/or oil for seasoning. Buyers cook or soak the block of noodles in hot water with the flavoring before eating it.
Instant Noodles May Provide Important Micronutrients
Despite being relatively low in some nutrients like fiber and protein, instant noodles contain several micronutrients, including iron, manganese, folate and B vitamins. Some instant noodles are also fortified with additional nutrients.
In Indonesia, about half of instant noodles are fortified with vitamins and minerals, including iron. One study actually found that consuming iron-fortified milk and noodles can decrease the risk of anemia, a condition caused by iron deficiency.
Additionally, some instant noodles are made using fortified wheat flour, which has shown potential in increasing micronutrient intake without changing the taste or texture of the final product .Research has also shown that eating instant noodles could be associated with an increase in the intake of certain micronutrients.
A 2011 study compared the nutrient intake of 6,440 instant noodle consumers and non-instant noodle consumers.Those who consumed instant noodles had a 31% greater intake of thiamine and a 16% higher intake of riboflavin than those who did not eat instant noodles .
Some types of instant noodles are fortified to add extra vitamins and minerals. Instant noodle intake may be linked to a higher intake of riboflavin and thiamine.
How to Select the Healthiest Instant Noodles
If you do enjoy the occasional cup of noodles, there are ways to make it healthier.Picking instant noodles made from whole grains, for example, can increase fiber content and boost feelings of fullness.
Lower-sodium instant noodles are also available and can help bring down your sodium intake for the day.You can also use your instant noodles as a base and top them with some healthy ingredients to make a more well-rounded meal.
Throwing in some vegetables and a good source of protein can enhance the nutrition profile of your instant noodle dinner.