Noodles can now be healthier

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Asians for ages have been in love with noodles for its taste and filling which makes it complete in itself. From being an integral part of our dinner/lunch, it started occupying an important space in our kitchen for snacking purpose. Instant or generally precooked noodles provided us respite by helping prepare noodles in just two minutes. From backpackers to hikers, from hostellers to housewives, everyone loved it. But the past controversy put all the noodles under scanner and also made it go off the kitchen shelves of many in a country like India. What that left is an indelible mark in the minds of many consumers and a question that are noodles actually healthy? It’s time we take the onus to find out if the product we consume and feed to our dear ones is actually healthy. Most brands present in India have noodles made of refined wheat flour/maida which has high content of fats, calories, sodium and preservatives. Instant noodles contain saturated fats which if consumed excessively or regularly can raise the level of cholesterol in the blood which in turn can increase the risk of heart disease and type diabetes.

Although instant noodles are convenient and delicious, they bring with themselves higher risks of indigestion due to the high flour content and metabolic syndrome owing to the sodium and unhealthy saturated fat and glycemic loads as has been proven through studies conducted at Harvard. As a matter of fact, a doctor at a leading hospital chain has quoted, “Maida-based instant noodles are loaded with preservatives and are nothing but a source of empty calories ripped of all nutrition. Excessive consumption may lead to obesity.”

It is time we start switching to healthier products which are made out of ingredients in turn contributing to better health and nutrition. For instance, the instant and maida noodles can be replaced with spaghetti that has higher protein content offering better nutrition and health in every serve. Belonging to the Mediterranean lands, which are known to be resource hubs for the healthiest food itemsolive oil, wine, pasta, etc, spaghetti in no measure misses the marks of good health. It has about 35 per cent more protein than the regularly available instant noodles and contains no trans-fats and cholesterol, so you can binge on as much noodle as you want without worrying about the increase in weight /fat intake.

Spaghetti as a noodle offers the ideal noodle experience not just because of its better nutritional content but also due to its smooth texture. It is made up of only durum wheat semolina which is mixed with fresh water and then dried to give noodle shape, which means it undergoes no refining process and has no addition of additives/preservatives imparting it a smooth texture. Also, this needs no addition of oil at the time of boiling as it does not stick which in turn reduces the overall fat content of recipe. It is an ideal noodle for preparing any recipeso if you like it the Chinese hakka way, or with tomato sauce and veggies, you prepare it your way.

The writer is managing director, Borges India.