Besides the fact that this popular Vietnamese dish has inspired many punny restaurants (Pho-Nomenom, Absolutely Phobulous, and Good Pho You are a few of our favorites), the noodle soup is beloved by many for its delicious taste and quick order. But just how healthy is pho? Let's break it down:
If you're not familiar with the dish, its main ingredients are broth, vegetables, spices, noodles and meat. According to a report from The Times-Picayune, a medium bowl of pho contains about 350 to 400 calories on average. This is about 20 percent of your daily allotment, based on The Food and Drug Administration's recommendation of 2,000 calories a day.
Because of the meat, pho generally is a good source of protein. One bowl contains around 30 grams, which is a huge chunk — at least half, for most people — of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of protein. (Not sure how much you personally should be getting a day? Check out this interactive tool to calculate.) Proteins are good for you because they're essentially building blocks for your bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
While there are some health perks about pho — including having many vitamins and minerals — the sodium count is not one of them. As with any broth-based dish, pho can be on the higher side when it comes to sodium levels. Some bowls can contain over 1,000 mg, which is almost the entire recommended intake of sodium for the day, according to the American Heart Association. Too much sodium can increase your blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, strokes, and even death. If you gotta have your pho fix, cut your sodium intake by slurping less of the broth or making healthier, low-sodium versions at home.
Pho Soup as a Cold Remedy
"I love coriander and anise. But you can put ginger in it as well. That extra spice opens you up a little bit and... [you] feel yourself getting healthy," he said.
Pho Soup Recipes Worth Trying
Want to try making this dish at home? If your answer is "Pho sure!" (sorry, we had to…), here are a few healthy recipes from some of our favorite cooks:
- Healthy Chicken Pho from Fit Men Cook
- Chicken and Zucchini Noodle Pho from Goop
- Easy Vietnamese Chicken Pho with Bok Choy and Herbs (Pho Ga) from Feed Me Phoebe