What Is Pho, and Is It Healthy? Benefits and Downsides

What Is Pho, And Is It Healthy?

Pho is a popular Vietnamese noodle soup made from pork bones and other ingredients. You may have heard it called “pork bone” or “bamboo.” Pho has been around since ancient times in Vietnam. There are many variations of pho, but they all contain pork bones and vegetables such as carrots, leeks, onions, mushrooms and more. Some versions of pho include seafood like shrimp, squid and fish sauce.

The main ingredient in pho is pork bones (or bamboo) which are cooked with other ingredients including vegetables, herbs and spices. Other common ingredients include noodles (usually rice), soy sauces, hoisin sauce or chili oil, sugar and salt. Many restaurants add extra flavorings to their version of pho.

Pho is often served cold so that the flavors don’t overpower your taste buds during digestion. However, some people prefer their pho hot. Hot pho is usually served with steamed or fried rice.

Is Pho Healthy?

While there isn’t much research done on the health benefits of eating pho, many believe that it’s high in protein and fiber. It contains antioxidants, vitamins A and C, potassium and manganese.

Many also believe that eating pho on a regular basis can help prevent heart disease. Others think that drinking the broth while eating the noodles can help prevent stomach ulcers.

If you’re watching your weight, you may want to avoid eating pho on a regular basis since it’s relatively high in fat and calories. One cup of pho contains around 800 calories and 50 grams of fat! Still, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your favorite bowl of soup every once in awhile.

Is Veggie or Chicken Pho Healthier?

Both vegetarian and chicken pho are relatively healthy, but there are slightly more benefits to eating the meat version. The chicken or pork gives you much-needed protein and amino acids. It also provides vitamins like B12, which is often only found in animal products.

If you’re a vegetarian, you might be wondering where you’ll get your protein. There are plenty of plant-based proteins out there, but it’s important to eat a variety of different foods to ensure that you get all the nutrients your body needs.

Is Pho Good For You When Sick?

There isn’t much scientific evidence that eating pho when you’re sick will make you feel better. This is because the main ingredients in pho like ginger, star anise, cinnamon and cloves have little to no medicinal value. What it really comes down to is whether you like the taste.

If you do enjoy the taste of pho, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t eat it when you’re sick. It’s always a good idea to stay hydrated while you have a cold or the flu, so drinking the delicious broth is a plus!

Is It Allowed On A Low-Carb Diet?

While it might seem like you shouldn’t eat pho if you’re on a low-carb diet, this isn’t necessarily true. The noodles in a bowl of pho don’t have that much carbohydrates. Even if you fill up on them, it won’t add up to be that many carbs for the day.

However, if you’re following a low-carb diet like the keto diet, you should probably avoid eating pho. The high amount of fat and calories can quickly ruin all your hard work. The best thing to do is to only have a small portion of pho at your next meal.

Is It Allowed On A Low-Fat Diet?

Most people who are on a low-fat diet avoid eating pho altogether. The soup is loaded with lots of delicious oils, usually in the form of chili oil or sesame oil. While there is nothing wrong with healthy fats, you need to make sure that you’re not having too much.

If you want to enjoy a bowl of pho, you should definitely chop up some fresh vegetables to add in. This will not only help you get in your daily serving of vegetables, but it will also help cut down on the fat content.

Is It Allowed On A Low-Calorie Diet?

While you can enjoy a bowl of pho if you’re on a low-calorie diet, you should definitely watch how much you eat. A regular bowl of pho can easily contain over 700 calories! If you’re eating pho for lunch and dinner, you’re almost guaranteed to gain weight.

The best thing to do is to portion control. Make sure you stop eating as soon as you start feeling full. You should also avoid having another bowl of pho for dinner, even if you’re still hungry. Having a big bowl of steamed rice is likely to have more calories than you need.

The Takeaway

Most popular cuisines can be eaten while following a specific diet plan, and Vietnamese food is no exception. If you really enjoy the taste of pho, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t eat it. As long as you’re careful about what else you’re eating on a daily basis, you’ll be fine.

Do you have a favorite Vietnamese food?

Tell us about it in the comments!

Up Next: What Can You Drink On A Low-Carb Diet?

Don’t forget to pin it!

Sources & references used in this article:

Guest Editorial: The workforce shortage disadvantages those in greatest need by B Gray – Journal of primary health care, 2009 – researchgate.net

PLGA Microspheres Loaded with β-Cyclodextrin Complexes of Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate for the Anti-Inflammatory Properties in Activated Microglial Cells by CY Cheng, QH Pho, XY Wu, TY Chin, CM Chen… – Polymers, 2018 – mdpi.com

Urban Tourism at Religious Sites: Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn (Wat Pho) by N Sermsri – Veridian E-Journal, Silpakorn University (Humanities …, 2017 – he02.tci-thaijo.org