They probably won’t hurt you in small doses. And they might even help IF (big if) you happen to be deficient in thiamine, or in some cases, iron. But are instant noodles healthy? They aren’t your best bet as a regular menu item unless you give them the “treatment.”
What’s Good About Them?
Thiamine – it turns out instant noodles are especially high in thiamine, AKA vitamin B1. One serving (and that usually means half of a package) can give you almost half of an entire day’s requirements. And who only eats half a package?
And some instant noodles are iron-enriched too. If your system is lacking iron, you could eventually develop anemia.
And What’s Not So Good?
This is a longer list, but most of it also depends on your individual health needs.
- High in sodium. And if you’re sensitive to it, lowering sodium can not only help your blood pressure, it can lower your risk for cardiovascular problems.
- High in MSG. The FDA labels MSG as safe. But if you’re sensitive to MSG, it can give you headaches and nausea.
- If weight reduction is an issue, then the real question is are instant noodles healthy enough? They’re low in calories, but they’re also low in protein and fiber. Both can give you a sense of fullness you may not get from noodles. And if you’re cutting back on calories, staying healthy means paying extra attention to nutrient density.
You can make instant noodles healthier with healthy additions. If you’re going the cheap and easy route (heartily recommended), add some nutritious canned foods – canned mushrooms, peas, onions. Add some protein (hard-boiled eggs, cheese, or canned meat) and fiber-rich vegetables, and you’ve added in your sense of fullness. Now it’s a meal!
Are instant noodles healthy? It depends on your individual needs. Once in awhile, if you enjoy them, they probably won’t hurt. But if you’re sensitive to the ingredients or you’re not getting the nutrition you need, look elsewhere.