Ramen noodles can be a quick and easy meal if you're on the go or a perfect addition to Asian-themed dishes, but they're probably not something you'll want to include in your diet regularly. While they may seem harmless enough, ramen noodles are high in calories and fat. Plus if your blood pressure is on the rise, you'll want to avoid these noodles all together, as they are incredibly high in sodium.
A single-serve package of plain ramen noodles, weighing 81 grams raw, has around 355 calories. Over 35 percent of the total calories, come from fat. Less than 10 percent of calories come from protein, while the remaining 55 percent of calories are from carbs. If you boil the noodles and add the flavor packet -- if it comes with one -- you'll add another 25 calories to your dish, bringing the grand total up to roughly 380 calories.
Counting Fat Grams
An individual package of plain ramen noodles contain over 14 grams of fat. You'll get an additional 1 gram of fat from the flavor packet, giving you 15 grams of fat in a prepared recipe. You can have 44 to 78 grams of fat for a 2,000-calorie diet, which amounts to the 20 to 35 percent of calories from fat recommendation laid out in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. (ref 2 pg 15) Having ramen noodles -- plain or prepared with seasonings -- takes up 20 to 34 percent of your entire fat allowance for the day, if 2,000 calories is your normal intake.
The Sodium Kicker
Ramen noodles are much higher in sodium than you may realize. One package of plain noodles contain more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium. Pile on that seasoning packet and you'll get another 110 milligrams of sodium. Because you shouldn't have more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 states, having a dish of prepared ramen noodles with a flavor packet takes up 70 percent of your sodium limit for the day. (ref 2 pg 21)
You'll get several minerals and vitamins from ramen noodles. A package of noodles alone has 35 percent of your selenium needs and you'll get a little more by adding a flavoring packet. Selenium is a type of antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals, minimizing risk of chronic disease. You'll also get 20 to 40 percent of the iron you need -- depending on your gender -- so your cells get enough oxygen. Ramen noodles, as well as the flavor packet, contain many B vitamins, including niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, thiamin, B-6 and B-12. These B vitamins support your brain, help with blood functions and keep your metabolism going. Ramen noodles even contain about one-fourth of your daily folate recommendation. Folate is another B vitamin that works with other B vitamins, but is also important for cell division and keeping your baby growing healthfully during pregnancy.