• Monday, March 04, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Why noodles are common on Nigerians dining table

Why noodles are common on Nigerians dining table

Many Nigerians prefer eating noodles almost at every time of the day, especially the single ones.

Some of the youth said they go for noodles because it can easily be prepared, and it is easy to get.

Salome Onwu, a mother of two said noodles are very easy and fast to cook, besides, it is very economical, hence it is always in her list of food items to buy every shopping day.

Noodles are nutritional staple foods in many countries of the world. Instant noodles are internationally well-known food and the consumption worldwide is on the top. They have properties such as nutrition, taste, safety, convenience, reasonable price and longer shelf life makes it popular.

Read also: Nigerians buy more noodles as rice gets pricier

Michelle Sunday, a school girl loves eating noodles because of the flavor and sweet taste it brings.

“It tastes good and very easy to cook,” she said.

Instant noodles are precooked or dried noodles fused with oil and sold with a flavoring packet.

However, some people believe in the noodles phobia, which among other things states that eating noodles could lead to obesity and other similar sicknesses.

According to Martin Luther King Jr, nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

There are a lot of debates and controversies regarding the health or medical effects of instant noodles, especially to children.

But researches has proven that pasta consumption does not contribute to obesity, and was actually linked to a lower body mass index.

As early as 5000 BC, noodles came to China and spread to other Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, Thailand and Malaysia.

Today it is one of the fastest growing sectors in world having compound annual growth rate four percent. China is the leading country in consumption of noodles followed by Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan worldwide.

In recent years, the Nigerian market flooded with various brands of instant noodles. The World Instant Noodles Association ranked Nigeria as the 11th country with the highest consumption rate of instant noodles in 2016.

This is not surprising, especially considering the fact that about 16 different instant noodles brands are readily available across the country. Some of these brands include Mimee, Honeywell Noodles, Chikki, Indomie and Supreme Noodles, etc.

Noodles are the perfect foundation for a healthy, nutritious and satisfying meal, because they are the ideal partners for so many other foods, including fibre rich vegetables and beans, heart healthy fish, antioxidant rich tomato sauce and protein packed cheeses, poultry and lean meats.

Read also: Origin of Noodles: From the shores of Asia to taste buds of Nigeria

According to Stella Apologun, a postgraduate student of public health at the University of South Wales noodles are rich in a carbohydrate which makes it an energy giving meal.

“Carbohydrates like pasta provide glucose, the crucial fuel for one’s brain and muscles. And because pasta is an awesome source of complex carbohydrates, releasing energy at a slow and sustained level, one don’t get the energy spikes associated with simple sugars.

“There is no scientific proof of noodles increasing health hazards. The only clause is the preservatives which is common with all processed foods.”

Enriched noodles or pasta is fortified with folic-acid – essential for women of child-bearing age. A serving of dry pasta supplies the equivalent of roughly 100 micrograms of folic acid, or 25 percent of the recommended daily intake.

Research has also proven that noodles or pasta is also good for human brains. A recent study found that a Mediterranean style diet has a protective effect against age-related cognitive decline in men and women 65 years of age and older.

When consumed within the context of a well-balanced, nutrient-rich, high-quality diet, pasta can peacefully fit into ones life without being at odds with his health, as stated by Lindsey Kane, RD, a registered dietitian, nutrition consultant, and lifestyle blogger based in San Francisco, California.

In another research work conducted in 2011 by Oxfam, pasta is rated the world’s most popular dish (ahead of meat, rice, and pizza). In 2013 a survey discovered that a whopping 59 percent of the US adults eat pasta at least once a week.

Clearly, pasta is a household staple for Americans, and it makes sense, too: it’s cheap, it’s filling, and it’s super versatile.

Science has proven that increasing potassium intake which is richly found in noodles can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by lowering blood pressure.

In healthy people, potassium lowers the risk of high blood pressure by helping the body remove sodium. It also helps manage blood pressure by relaxing the walls of the blood vessels.

Besides, potassium is necessary for cardiovascular health, strong bones, and muscle function. It supports the ability of muscles to contract. This makes it important for maintaining a strong, regular heartbeat, and for digestive health. Potassium can also help counter the negative effects of a diet that is too acidic.

Read also: NAFDAC reassures Nigerian noodles are safe, meets MAN

This supplement increases blood potassium levels and vice versa hypokalemia. Low potassium levels can lead to health problems and symptoms such as muscle weakness, fatigue, diarrhea or upset stomach and irregular heartbeat.

However, Braden Kuo, a director of the gastrointestinal motility laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard University, in his study to test the digestion of ramen noodles.

Kuo found out that noodles were intact after two hours of being consumed. This can be very harmful because it stresses the digestive system to break down such processed food.