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

A Vietnamese soup made of rice noodles, broth, herbs, meat, or even tofu. Pho is a nutritious soup that is rich in protein. However, it has high sodium levels and calories. Pho can help lower inflammation and improve joint health.


Pho (pronounced “fuh”) is a delicious Vietnamese soup made of the broth of fatty meat rice noodles, different herbs, or chicken, beef, or tofu.

While it was it is traditionally a Vietnamese street food, the popularity of this dish has spread across other countries.

This article examines the pho dish and its nutritional content, advantages, disadvantages, and benefits.

What is the word Pho?

The traditional way to prepare Pho is by simmering a broth from beef bones as well as onions, ginger, and other spices on the stove at a simmer for several hours.

Rice noodles, also known by the name of “banh pho,” are later added, as well as herbs like basil, cilantro, and basil. In the end, thinly cut chicken or beef is added and simmered in the broth.

A few people prefer topping this with sprouts of beans, veggies, chili peppers, as well as lime.

Although it is most often consumed in the winter months, many restaurants offer this Vietnamese soup throughout the year.

Pho can be found in different forms throughout Vietnam as well as in other parts of the world, depending on the flavor of the broth, the size of the noodles, as well as ingredients that are added to the final product.


Pho is an authentic Vietnamese soup that is made from rice noodles, broth herbs, thinly cut meat, tofu, or even poultry.

Pho is a health supplement that has many benefits.

Pho could appear as an ordinary soup. However, its ingredients could provide a variety of advantages.

Nutritious ingredients

A number of the ingredients in Pho can provide health benefits, for instance:

  • Bone broth could help promote joint health. Bone broth contains glucosamine as well as chondroitin and collagen -each of which could aid in joint health. But, it generally has only a small amount of these ingredients ( 1Trusted Source2Trusted Source3Trusted Source4Trusted Source).
  • Ginger reduces inflammation. Ginger is a source of gingerol, a chemical that has been found to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It may also reduce joint inflammation and pain ( 5Trusted Source6Trusted Source).
  • Herbs and veggies are very nutritious. Herbs and vegetables in Pho, including Thai basil, cilantro, green onions, and chili peppers, contain a wealth of nutrients as well as potent anti-inflammatory substances ( 7Trusted Source8Trusted Source).

Protein is a good source.

The majority of variations of Pho contain pork, beef, chicken, tofu, or pork. A 2 cup (475ml) serving is packed with around 30g protein, which makes it a great source of this filling nutritional ( 9Trusted Source).

A healthy intake of protein is essential since this macronutrient acts as the principal building block for your body. It’s used to build muscles and tendons, organs such as skin, and hormones. It is also required to perform other functions ( 10Trusted Source11Trusted Source).

The recommended daily allowance to consume protein amounts to 0.4 grams per pound (0.8 grams per kilogram) in body mass daily, but many people require more than the recommended amount. Pho, as a part of healthy eating habits, can assist you in meeting your nutritional needs ( 12Trusted Source).

Contains nutrient-rich herbs

A variety of herbs and spices, such as basil and cilantro, that are used in the pho dish are rich in polyphenols. Polyphenols have been associated with the risk of a lower incidence of chronic illnesses such as cancer and heart disease ( 13Trusted Source14Trusted Source15Trusted Source).

While it’s not easy to estimate the quantity of spices and herbs required for positive health effects, eating Pho could help you get a dose of these potent substances.


Because rice noodles are the most common ingredient used in Pho, the dish’s ingredients are usually gluten-free. However, it also depends on the other components and how they were prepared.

Although eating a non-gluten diet is not always healthier, Pho may be an option for those who are avoiding gluten.


The high-nutrient content of Pho may help lower inflammation and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. In addition, it is usually gluten-free.

Potential downsides

While eating Pho might provide certain advantages, you need to be looking for certain things.

It is possible to be high in sodium.

Pho may be rich in sodium, particularly commercially made versions.

Soup bases and broths are known to contain high levels of sodium, delivering around 1,000 mg of sodium per 1 cup (240-ml) portion ( 16Trusted Source).

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released by the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Agriculture, recommend not more than 2,300 mg of daily intake ( 17Trusted Source).

So, a single serving of Pho can provide about the equivalent of half the sodium you need daily.

Consuming excessive amounts of sodium can have adverse health effects for certain populations, with the most obvious being an increase in blood pressure ( 18Trusted Source19Trusted Source).

The best method to lower the sodium amount in Pho is to make soup from scratch or purchase one with lower sodium.

Calories can quickly add up.

Pho’s calorie content will vary widely based on the noodles and the cut of meat that is used.

To help keep your calories under control to keep your calories in check, choose a rice noodle with higher levels of fiber, like ones made with brown rice. The fiber content can aid in promoting feelings of fullness, which can help make it easier to eat fewer calories in general ( 20Trusted Source).

The amount of fiber and nutrients can be enhanced by incorporating more vegetables, including carrots, mushrooms, beans, bean sprouts, or dark leafy greens.

To reduce the calories and fats in meat, opt for a lighter cut of beef, like the top round. Proteins that are leaner alternatives, like chicken or tofu, can be used, as well.

Incorporating more veggies as well as lean protein and reducing the amount of noodles that you consume may make you feel fuller quicker, which could help reduce the temptation to eat.


Pho may be high in calories and sodium based on the ingredients used in the. Make your bone broth or opt for a low-sodium version and concentrate on fewer protein sources and noodles that are high in fiber.

It’s the bottom line.

Pho is an authentic Vietnamese soup that is made from rice noodles, broth herbs, and meat, as well as tofu.

Due to its nutritious components and high protein content, it could provide many advantages, including less joint inflammation and better joint health.

It is high in calories and sodium; therefore, portion size is vital.


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