Any meal can be healthy. It all depends on what ingredients you use and how you cook it. For example, let’s take French fries. You can cut your potatoes into fries and bake them in the oven using olive oil and adding some herbs and spices. (I like to use sweet potatoes.) It is very healthy instead of eating French fries deep-fried in oil. And, the same goes with soups. Depending on what you add to the soup will make a difference. Most times, soups tend to contain too much sodium. Or, the noodles are processed. With that being said, let’s take a look at a soup called Pho. Is it delicious and nutritious or stealthily unhealthily?
What is Pho?
Pho is a traditional Vietnamese soup. It is made with a special broth full of herbs, spices, vegetables, and noodles. Also, the soup contains cubed or chopped meat, chicken, or tofu. However, it is the broth that puts the icing on the cake. Pho broth is made with bones. You don’t eat the bones. They are cooked in the soup to extract the bone’s minerals and nutrients.
The soup is cooked by letting it simmer for hours on low heat so all the ingredients can fuse together in the broth.
How Pho Differs
Pho soup mainly differs by the taste of its broth. For instance, some do not use bones or use different spices. But, on the other hand, some are particularly hot and spicy. Also, the soup can have a different type of noodle; for example, rice or ramen noodles may be used.
Health Benefits of Pho
Pho seems like a classic beef or chicken soup. But some of the specific ingredients give a powerful punch to your health. Pho contains nutrient-rich herbs high in flavonoids and polyphenols that reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart, and brain disease. They are also excellent to support gastrointestinal, muscle, and joint health. The ingredients below are some main ingredients you will find in Pho that act as powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.
1. Herbs and Spices
- Ginger, Coriander/Cilantro, onion, garlic, lemongrass, cinnamon bark, lemon, or lime.
- Chile Peppers or Powder. You would think that these spices cause inflammation when they reduce it. Yes, chili peppers are anti-inflammatories and antioxidants. Chile peppers are also excellent for lowering blood pressure and preventing brain disorders. Also, they are perfect for circulation. Why do you think your nose runs and you sweat, when you eat them. (LOL)
Carrots, leeks, bok choy, broccoli, turnips, mushrooms, cabbage, edamame, snow peas or any soup friendly vegetable will taste good in the soup.
3. Bone broth
Bone broth has been shown to help improve joint health. It contains glucosamine and collagen.
The Negatives of Pho
The downsides to Pho soup are slim to none. However, there are a few minor things that you may want to look out for.
The primary gluten ingredient in Pho would be noodles. Therefore, using a rice noodle would make your soup gluten-free.
2. High in Sodium
Soup broths tend to be high in sodium to create taste. One cup of broth provides about 800 to 1,000 mg of sodium. The AHA recommends your sodium limit be 2,300 mg daily. So, you can see how pho can eat up your sodium RDA quickly.
Although 20g of saturated fat a day is healthy for you, if you want to reduce your fat intake, make sure the beef or chicken is lean. If you want to avoid the fat, totally use tofu.
Really the only unhealthy thing about pho is the sodium. One cup of broth is still under the RDA, but it is still a lot to consume in one sitting. Besides that, Pho has excellent health benefits and powerful disease prevention ingredients. You could eat Pho every day. If you do want to eat it often, just make sure you are using a low sodium broth.