Instant noodles were one of the many food items that saw a spike in sales and demand when the pandemic started. The reason behind this rise is almost a no-brainer.
Many people turn to instant noodles because they’re so convenient. Anyone who can operate a stove can cook them. Instant noodles come in different flavors and can be eaten with or without soup. This food item is also affordable and easily accessible.
And during a pandemic where a person is either very busy or doesn’t have the motivation to get up and cook, that person can turn to a pack of instant noodles for sustenance at any time of the day.
Despite the convenience of instant noodles, people shouldn’t be consuming this food item regularly. In the middle of a global pandemic, everyone needs to build up their immune system and stay healthy. And avoiding instant noodles is one way to get started in achieving these goals.
Why You Should Avoid Instant Noodles
The idea of taking instant noodles completely out of your life isn’t really feasible if you’re used to it. At the very least, you should limit your consumption for the sake of your health. Below are some very compelling reasons to avoid instant noodles:
High Content of Bad Fats
Instant noodles are packed with bad fat, particularly saturated fat and trans fat. Together, these bad fats can raise your bad cholesterol.
Thus, the instant noodles you eat regularly can contribute to clogging your arteries. As they narrow, you may feel shortness of breath and chest pain. And if not addressed early on, the plaque build-up in your arteries can eventually lead to heart attacks and even develop into coronary artery disease.
High Sodium Content
A single pack of instant noodles contains high amounts of sodium. For example, a bag of Korean instant ramen has 1,483.7 mg of sodium per 100-gram serving. That’s around 65 percent of the daily recommended intake.
The human body needs sodium to function. But too much of it can lead to negative effects. For instance, high sodium consumption can lead to high blood pressure, which is linked with heart disease and stroke.
Too much sodium will also make your body retain more water, so you might feel bloated. If you’re trying to shed a few pounds, your weight loss trainer might recommend that you avoid eating instant noodles entirely since they can keep you from reaching your fitness goals.
Presence of Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
In the Western world, MSG has quite a bad reputation. Most people avoid foods with MSG as much as possible. They also don’t use it at home. MSG has a lot of great qualities, though. If you’ve heard of Uncle Roger, you probably already know that MSG is almost a “holy grail” of Asian cuisine. It adds flavor to dishes and can shorten the cooking time of some foods.
Several brands of instant noodles have MSG, along with other processed and instant food. If consumed in safe amounts, MSG won’t directly damage your body.
But there are many doubts cast on this ingredient. For example, some studies link MSG consumption to obesity and the Chinese Restaurant Syndrome, including dizziness and headaches after eating foods with MSG.
Presence of Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ)
The main preservative of instant noodles is TBHQ. In moderation, this additive isn’t dangerous. But high consumption, like with any other additives, can be dangerous.
Some studies linked TBHQ to liver enlargement, neurotoxicity, and tumors in laboratory animals. Not much research has been done on the effect of this additive on humans. And most of the studies conducted on TBHQ are no longer considered timely. Still, these studies on laboratory animals should be taken as a precaution.
Eating Instant Noodles Healthily
As mentioned earlier, quitting instant noodles may not be feasible. The accessibility and low cost of instant noodles make them a go-to food for many households. The more realistic goal is to minimize consumption. For example, consider eating instant noodles only once or twice a week.
There are also ways to eat instant noodles more healthily:
- Stir fry the noodles and add chopped greens such as spinach, lettuce, and bok choy.
- Add egg to the noodle soup for some protein.
- Add vegetables to the noodle soup, such as carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.
- Check the label and choose instant noodles with lower sodium content.
Instant noodles aren’t exactly an “evil” food. But it’s not free of drawbacks either. Like other foods, you need to eat instant noodles in moderation to still enjoy the food without jeopardizing your health.