This popular Vietnamese dish is loved by many for the delicious taste and quick prep time, but how healthy is it?

Let’s have a look at 5 reasons why pho is good for you.

1. It’s Low Calorie

As well as being tasty, pho is a fairly low-cal lunch option. Its main ingredients are broth, vegetables, spices, noodles, and meat. It’s also very low in fat, especially when made the traditional way by skimming the fat off the top before serving.

A report in The Times-Picayune found that a medium-sized bowl of pho contains around 350 to 400 calories on average. This is only around 20% of your daily allotment of calories, based on 2,000 calories a day.

2. It’s a Good Protein Source

Because of the meat content, pho is a good source of protein. A single bowl contains around 30 grams of protein, which is at least half of the RDA of protein.

As well as helping you to feel fuller for longer, protein is good for your bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.

3. It’s a Cold Remedy

Pho is the Vietnamese version of chicken soup for when you’re ill with a cold. You can add ginger to it for an extra healthy kick, or try the vegetarian version of pho for the best results.

4. It’s a Source of Vitamins and Minerals

Iron is one of the most notable nutrients in pho soup. A serving of the soup contains around 20% of the daily value for iron. Iron is essential for maintaining red blood cells, which are needed for oxygen transport.

Pho also contains 10% of the daily value for vitamin C, and 4% of the daily value for vitamin A and calcium, which helps to support strong bones and teeth.

5. If You Make Your Own, You can Improve the 

While restaurant pho soup is fantastic, making it at home is more cost effective, and can improve the nutritional value. For example, you could use low-sodium stock to cut the salt content, as restaurant pho is often very high in sodium.

You could also swap the rice noodles for whole-wheat ones to increase the fiber content, and you can top your soup with fresh vegetables to add more fiber, potassium and vitamin A to the meal. Good toppings include bean sprouts, bell peppers, and red onions. Try adding fresh herbs like cilantro or basil, and a squirt of lime juice ups the vitamin C content.