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low sodium ramen

We recently received this email asking for ramen help.

Meredith wrote:

I hope you can help! My friend has a 16-year-old son who has been diagnosed
with heart failure, he is waiting for a transplant and they expect it will go well. Part of his treatment is that he has to be on a low-sodium diet for the rest of his life. This kid LOVES ramen, he was eating 4 or 5 cups a day at first because the hospital doctors said his sodium was very low. Now it’s normal, and he has to cut back almost entirely. They were willing to give him 1 a week but he’s trying to bargain for more often! I figured I’d help by researching low-sodium ramen. Surely such a thing exists, and I figured you guys would know about it! Is it out there anywhere in the world? I can use Craigslist to recruit somebody to send it to me, wherever it could be found!

Well, Meredith, our hearts go out to your friend and her son! To start with, I was about to post a link to this article, so you’re timing is perfect. The article has tips on how to reduce the sodium in instant ramen. The tip about not using the entire seasoning packet is a quick and easy way to reduce the amount of salt in instant ramen. I’m not sure that “washing” the brick ramen will help much, but “washing” Cup Noodles should help immensely, since the seasoning is already mixed in with the noodles.

I’ve also looked through my pantry, and did some research, and you’re in luck. Nissin has a new Choice Ramen that’s low in fat and sodium. I bought a few packs recently that I haven’t gotten around to review yet, but according to the info on the back, one brick is 2 servings, and each serving has 400mg of sodium (that’s for the beef flavor. The chicken flavor has 480mg). That might still be high for your young friend, but if you cut back on the seasoning packet, that’ll reduce the salt content even more. I bought mine at a local Albertson’s so I imagine they should be pretty easy to find. For something more exotic, it looks like Korean ramen makers are also getting into the low sodium act.

So now I want to open this up to all our readers. Can anyone else help Meredith out? Are there other low-sodium instant ramen out there? Please post a comment below and help out a worthy ramen fan!

(Also, for anyone who’s concerned about wax in instant ramen (gee, like sodium isn’t bad enough)…don’t worry. It’s a false alarm!)

  34 comments for “low sodium ramen

  1. Sandy
    8/29/2008 at 5:52 pm

    I have high blood pressure, so the Salt in the seasoning packet in Ramen noodles, I don’t even use with my noodles. (sorry) I make them in the microwave in a bowl with water, add frozen peas and zap it. Then I add either Fat Free butter, yes, they have it, or butter made with Olive oil. You can add garlic, Parmesan cheese, etc. Any low sodium cream soup. Scrambled eggs and LOW Sodium Soy Sauce. There are lots of things to flavor Ramen noodles, without using the seasoning packet. I use that when I make a crock pot of beans though!!!

  2. 8/29/2008 at 9:43 pm

    Thanks Sandy! Unfortunately this kid doesn’t like ramen without the seasoning packet. I think they’re compromising on giving him half the packet, and I was also able to locate some Nong Shim Chapaghetti at my local Korean market. It’s not exactly LOW sodium…but it’s LESS sodium than his usual Nissin. :)

  3. Mark
    9/30/2008 at 8:07 pm

    Maruchan now makes a low-sodium version of Chicken and Beef. They are both in a light-blue package and are marked 35% less sodium. I haven’t tried the beef since I prefer the chicken, but the chicken is 440mg vs 780mg per serving. Could be wrong but that’s more than 35%, more like 43% less. I originally saw it at several Walmarts, but lately only at one. Not sure if they’re selectively stocking it or it’s doing so well they are running out.

  4. 10/5/2008 at 9:09 pm

    Thanks for the tip, Mark. I’ll keep an eye out for the Maruchan one.

  5. Raymond
    12/31/2008 at 2:59 pm

    If the kid likes those seasoning packets, maybe try http://hormelfoods.elsstore.com/view/category/517-herb-ox/; it’s sodium-free broth & seasoning. I haven’t try these yet as I just found them by googling. I might try to see if they’re at a local (health?) supermarket first. For just the seasoning part, there is also http://mrsdash.com/products/seasoning-blends.aspx. Maybe now I can eat ramen again!

  6. 1/4/2009 at 9:02 pm

    Raymond, thanks for the great advice! I’m familiar with the Mrs. Dash seasoning but I’ve never seen the sodium-free broth mixes before. Looks interesting.

  7. Marji
    1/14/2009 at 10:35 am

    I just don’t like salt so I stay away from it whereever I can. I have been using the Herb Ox Sodium Free / No MSG for quite some time and am very happy with it. If a dish needs a bit more salt, I get to control the quantity. It’s made by Hormel and comes in jars or a box with 8 packets. I can get it at my local Giant supermarket!

    Hormel’s phone number from the back of the packets: 1-800-523-4635

    Good luck!

  8. Jessica
    1/18/2009 at 4:56 pm

    Hi,
    I saw this blog while I was looking for low salt ramen myself so I thought i would help you. I also grew up on a low salt diet for most of my life sand ai should get back to it. I also have heart probs as well. They are usually found at walmart in bricks.. I usually find them on the bottom shelf there but there are cup versions as well (both are maruchan). I did try both flavors and I prefer the cup versions.. it tastes more like the original while the bricks taste bland. The chicken tastes more like celery water :P ..so ur friend’s son may not miss the salt with the cup version. If you dont find the cup version just buy extra low salt bullion (wyler’s) for more flavor. I’m still looking for the cups.. My next stop is to look online into those sites that sell every kind of ramen imaginable.. I used to find the cups at walmart and the local marc’s but I dont see them anymore…. btw the choice ramen is good too.. I dont miss the salt at all.. pls help..

  9. 1/19/2009 at 9:01 pm

    @Marji & Jessica: Thanks for the helpful info! If anyone’s seen the low-sodium Maruchan cup ramen, please leave a reply here and let us know!

  10. Liz
    2/23/2009 at 10:46 am

    I’m pretty sure that all the seasoning is for the Top Ramen is chicken bullion. Why not purchase Wylerís Sodium Free Chicken Instant Bullion and substitute it?

  11. Cally
    8/30/2009 at 9:42 pm

    I was looking for very low sodium. Came accross this website.. http://www.redchopsticksbrand.com/products.php I’m trying to figure out if there is anyone who sells this in the US so i can buy :(

  12. 9/13/2009 at 9:01 pm

    @Cally: that sure looks…interesting! I’ve never seen it in any U.S. markets or Asian markets in the U.S. but I’ll be on the lookout now!

  13. Emmy
    11/24/2009 at 11:29 am

    I’m a college student and I survive off of maruchan ramen, but I’m always looking for lower sodium options ever since my older brother, a 20 year old healthy athlete, had a heart attack two years ago (he’s fine now, but it was pretty scary and a real wake up call for me! It CAN happen to anyone, and it never hurts to make healthier lifestyle choices).

    What I do: I Sprinkle in about 1/2 tsp of the original seasoning, and add 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder, and 1 and a half teaspoons of curry powder. This only really works if you like curry, though. Also, the chili powder can be left out, I just like mine with a tiny kick. :)

  14. 11/29/2009 at 10:28 pm

    @Emmy: sorry to hear about your brother. Wow…heart attack at 20!? Thanks for the tip!

  15. sandra Roy
    1/13/2010 at 9:58 am

    Hi,I have searched everywhere for the low sodium.Walmart,Stop & Shop Big Y every store that is around me.They have al stopped selling the low sodium.They say because the demand is low.I loved it.Sad!!

  16. 1/25/2010 at 9:38 pm

    @sandra Roy: Ah! No wonder I couldn’t find them in Walmart any more, even though I know I’ve seen low sodium ramen there before. :(

  17. Ash
    4/5/2010 at 8:35 am

    Ive been able to find the low soduim ramen pretty consitently (Light blue brick packets) At the Harris Teeter Grocery Store

    Apparently there is a cup version but I have never really looked for it.

    http://www.maruchan.com/faq_images/sodium.jpg Hopefully the image link works.

    Also I have used broth/stock that is low in soduim and flavored it with veggies that i love. Its another way to put a spin on ramen.

    • 4/6/2010 at 10:19 pm

      @Ash: thanks for the info! I think I’ve seen the Maruchan low sodium cup noodles but I don’t think I’ve ever seen the brick version.

  18. cschrepp
    8/30/2010 at 8:46 am

    I use NuSalt (little blue canister) which is potassium chloride “salt”, instead of traditional sodium chloride salt. My MD recommended it for a salt substitute, as it doesn’t have the health risks of sodium chloride salt. If you add some chicken flavor, with some NuSalt, you can probably replicate the desired flavor, without the risk.

    • 9/2/2010 at 10:50 pm

      @cschrepp: thanks for the tip!

    • Dearjym
      4/11/2013 at 4:07 pm

      KCl is as toxic as Sodium Chloride, it can cause immediate death due to cardiac arrest. At the very least, have it approved by your doctor. As an aside, it is also the 3rd drug administered in lethal injections, the one that kills..

  19. Binoculops
    11/30/2010 at 11:13 pm

    I like to put lots of veggies in my ramen; Garlic, onions, peppers, cilantro, scallions are all great for ramen and just the tip of the iceberg. Also you could add an egg or meat (precooked, obviously) like, chicken or shrimp. All together, it makes it taste so much better than any packet could do alone and, if it’s done well, using less of the packet wont be as noticeable. If you’re really good, he may learn to become happy with less packet, a packet alternative (which I know you’re aware of), or even no packet or alternative at all; it all depends how all out you go with the additions. Also, it makes it more of a meal so the kid may be satisfied with less (also depending on how all out you go). It’s much healthier for him considering all the fresh veggies. He’s old enough to do it himself or at least to be taught how if he doesn’t already know; and cooking and/or learning to cook is a great activity for anyone. It’s still very quick, especially if you have a water cooler with one of those nifty hot water nozzles (that hot water is hot enough; hot tap water wont be); throw all the veggies and whatnot in a big microwave safe bowl with the ramen, pour in the water, throw it all in a microwave for 2-3 minutes and you’re golden! Otherwise you (or he) can cut all the veggies to his liking while the water boils on the stove and follow the same procedure. And make sure the bowl is big or else it’ll overflow ’cause the water boils in the microwave. Ummm, yeah, you should try it at least because its a really awesome way to eat ramen, absolutely delicious, way better than just having it plain packet style. I haven’t had plain ramen since the first time I had it like this, which was only less than 7 months ago, and I had been lovingly enjoying ramen since childhood; probably like him. Totally worth trying; even once.

    • 12/5/2010 at 9:24 pm

      @Binoculops: great tips, thanks for sharing!

  20. Christopher
    4/23/2011 at 4:29 am

    Okay, I’ve read the article, but not all the posts. So I will address the medical establishment idiot out there that says “high sodium intake raises blood pressure or is bad for you”.

    Now keep in mind that salt that contains calcium silicate(anti-caking mechanism) is bad for you. It came out sometime in the 50’s. It had a girl on the label holding an umbrella shielding herself from an immense amount of salt falling from the sky. The Slogan read ‘when it rains, it pours’. Farmers were all over it, it meant that they could finally feed their livestock the necessary salt without first having to break of the granules of it. They thought wrong, they noticed that within days the animals suffered from harmful Edema(water retention) in their lower extremities and many died. To this days farmers will not, or rather cannot feed their cattle this. Suffice it to say, if it hurts other mammalian creatures so badly, how good is for humans?

    I recommend a salt called REAL SALT TM, you can get it at a Nutrition Store. It is harvests from the ancient ocean bed in Utah. However their are many other products with the same quality, but I find them more expensive. As a plus I must insist it has won many awards for best taste.

  21. Mkorbe2004
    1/30/2012 at 12:10 pm

    Here’s another idea.¬† Instead of using packets of Ramen, you can get the noodles without anything else from any asian market.¬† Cook them in low sodium chicken broth, beef broth, or seafood stock.¬† If you want a great option, put vegetables in a pot with a little olive oil and sautee celery, zuchini, corn, peppers, etc. and then put in chicken stock.¬† Once it comes to a boil, put in your noodles.¬†¬† You can put in as much or as little salt or other seasonings as you want.¬†

  22. Skavinjher80
    2/15/2012 at 1:20 pm

    I have a small mesh strainer that i empth the seasoning packet into and sift the salt out of if.

  23. Akatosh
    2/24/2012 at 2:26 pm

    Ditch the flavor packet and cook your ramen in unsalted broth (http://www.kitchenbasics.net/display.cfm?p=41&pp=16&ppp=3) and add a few other low sodium seasoning.  If you get the right mix of seasonings  you can get it to just as good as the real thing.

    • 8/17/2012 at 8:07 am

      ¬†wish i’d thought of that in college though does anyone make a shrimp broth?

  24. 2/26/2012 at 4:58 pm

    I just bought a pack of instant ramen that actually says on the back “You may reduce the sodium level by simply using less of the seasoning packet.”

  25. Allentiffany50
    3/4/2012 at 3:40 pm

    Noddle are very bad for you they have alot of salt .

  26. Salt free Mom
    1/22/2013 at 10:12 am

    I have a daughter with a heart defect. She is also a teen, we had been strict with her sodium intake, to get her off a diuretic. That was easy when she was young, it is very difficult to work this into “normal American culture”. We got lax in the past year, and now have to reconfigure our food lifestyle. I suggest to cut out those instant Ramen altogether. The spike in sodium intake will be noticed in 24 hours in his energy, and appearance. Find the noodles, as someone suggested and add sodium free flavor. I know how tough this is!!! Our rule, is, unless the sodium is under 7-8% per serving-DON”T EAT IT. Sodium occurs naturally in food. Savory Spice Shop online has many sodium free spice mixes. I do wish your friend and son well!! There are many more “heart kids” out there, too!

  27. 1/27/2013 at 5:01 pm

    Here are the ingredients for a wonderful stock for your ramen noodles (Chinese-style wheat noodles).  Makes a wonderful soup:

    2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 inch ginger, minced (optional)
    2 medium carrots, sliced
    1 medium leek or 2-3 green onions (white part only), sliced
    4 cups sodium free broth
    1 cup water
    2-3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
    1 cup frozen peas

  28. WhiteSandyBeach
    1/15/2014 at 10:57 am

    To make tasty Ramen noodles without losing the flavor – make LoMein instead of Soup Noodles.
    1. Boil noodles in sufficient amount of water
    2. Take noodles and a few TBSP of the water and place in a bowl
    3. Sprinkle 1/5 pack of seasoning into noodles
    4. Mix well and serve

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