Is it safe for pregnant women to eat instant noodles? Here's what doctors say.
Do you often crave for instant noodles while pregnant? Is it safe? We’ve asked an obstetrician to find the answer for you.
Here in Asia, we love our instant noodles even though we know that they might not be the healthiest food choice out there. But what happens when we become pregnant? Is it safe for women to eat instant noodles during pregnancy?
Two strong reasons why eating instant noodles during pregnancy is not advisable
1. It has high salt content
Eating one serving of instant noodles gives you 861mg of sodium. That’s about 1,722 mg from one full package.
Now, consider the fact that experts say people should limit their sodium intake to between 1500mg and 2300mg a day. So, just one packet of instant noodles fulfills this recommended amount. Doctors advise you to watch your salt intake for good reasons, mostly because it can contribute to high blood pressure or hypertension.
When you’re pregnant, you need to be extra carefully with your blood pressure as hypertension can lead to many health complications. But expecting mums need to watch out in particular for one called preeclampsia, which can have severe health consequences on both baby and mummy.
Scientists have conducted studies and proved that lessening the amount of salt in your food does help to reduce high blood pressure. Another study even shows that in the long run, not taking in too much salt reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases by as much as 30% (24).
So, it makes sense for pregnant women to avoid eating too much salt, especially high-sodium foods like instant noodles.
2. Instant noodles contain synthetic chemicals like preservatives and colouring
Processed food has added chemicals, such as preservatives and colouring. There are numerous studies showing the health risks of such additives. When pregnant, certain additives if consumed in large amounts, can have severe health implications on the developing baby — even affecting his brain.
In addition, instant noodles take longer to digest in your bodies. That’s because they contain wax and a preservative called TBHQ – taking as long as four to five days to be completely digested. The delayed digestion can interfere with your digestive system — which is already frequently affected by problems due to pregnancy hormones.
What doctors say about women eating instant noodles during pregnancy
Dr. Benny Johan Marpaung is a Specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Brawijaya women’s and children’s hospital in South Jakarta. He says that “While pregnant, whatever mums eat will directly affect fetal development. Therefore, it’s best for pregnant women to pay attention to their food intake.”
Dr. Benny explains further that synthetic flavours and preservatives in instant noodles can be dangerous for a mum’s pregnancy. It can also have a negative impact on the baby. Therefore, it’s best for mums to steer clear of eating instant noodles while pregnant.
For pregnant women craving instant noodles, why not try this instead?
Pregnant and craving some instant noodles? Why not try a healthier alternative like a hearty, healthy beefy tomato noodle soup?
Ingredients (for four):
- 4 tomatoes – roughly chopped (skin removed; make a cross at the base of the tomato and soaked in hot water for 5m for easier peeling)
- 500g beef – sliced
- 500ml beef stock
- 1 tsp of:
- tomato puree
- sugar to taste
- sesame oil
- dash of worcestershire sauce
- dash of pepper
- cornflour + water for thickening
- noodles of your choice – cooked according to packet instructions
How to make it:
- Boil the tomatoes in beef stock till soft and all broken up.
- Add in beef and remaining ingredients.
- Add in cornflour with water to thicken.
- Serve it over noodles.
We hope you found this article useful, pregnant mummies! If you’re craving some noodles, why not try our wantan mee noodle or soto mee recipes? They’re sure to be a lot healthier than instant noodles!
This article about eating instant noodles during pregnancy was translated by Kevin Wijaya Oey and republished with the permission of the theAsianparent Indonesia.