When people go to the grocery store, there is this one thing that they make sure to never miss out: canned food. There’s no doubt that we all live a fast-paced lifestyle, and our diet is no exception. After all, we love everything that makes our life more convenient, safe to say including the food we eat.
But there’s a pressing question that needs to be answered: are canned foods good or bad? Most people would think it’s bad, after all, they are foods that have been long canned to preserve its freshness. They are often thought to be less nutritious than frozen and fresh foods.
In this article, we will discuss the good and bad things about these convenient grocery finds. Read further to know more.
What is canned food?
Canning is a popular method of preserving foods for a long time. It was first developed during the late 18th century to provide an affordable and stable food source for sailors and soldiers at war.
There are three main steps in canning:
Processing – This is when food is chopped, sliced, cooked, boned, etc.
Sealing – This refers to the processed food being sealed in cans.
Heating – The cans are then heated to get rid of viruses and bacteria that can expedite spoilage. This is the reason why it allows food to be shelf-stable and safe to eat for a year or more.
Foods that are usually canned include beans, fish, meats, fruits, and vegetables.
Does canning affect the nutrient contents of foods?
Some canned foods are surely less nutritious than fresh and frozen finds, but research suggests that that’s not always the case. In fact, canning helps preserve most of a food’s nutrient levels.
Fat, carbs, and protein are said to be unaffected by the canning process. Fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K are also preserved. However, since canning involves high heat, water-soluble vitamins such as vitamins B and C can be jeopardized, since they are sensitive to heat and air, so they can be lost during the process of cooking.
Canning is worthy of praise too because it allows certain foods to increase their nutrient levels. For instance, corn and tomatoes release more antioxidants when they are heated, making canned types of these food choices even more nutritious.
What to look for in nutritious canned foods?
Low sugar and sodium content – When looking for nutritious canned foods, look for those that do not have added sugar or sodium content. However, if you are looking for canned soup, it’s fine to have a little of each.
BPA-free – Cans are made using steel, and their linings usually contain a substance called BPA, an industrial chemical. Although the FDA says it is generally safe, other health groups raise a brow until now. So, to be sure, look for canned foods that have BPA-free can linings.
No artificial flavors and ingredients – Artificial ingredients are a hard no.
Healthy canned foods to try out
Now you know that not all canned foods are bad, it’s time to dive into the good side of it. Here are some of the nutritious canned foods you can add to your grocery list:
Canned pumpkin – Dietitians swore by the nutritional content of canned pumpkin. One half cup of pumpkin puree already contains 400% of the daily recommended intake for vitamin A, a key nutrient that helps support immune health, lung health, and skin.
Canned beans – Spruce up your viands and salads with some fiber- and protein-rich beans. Canned beans are the easiest, fastest, and cheapest nutritious canned foods that can be enjoyed by the whole family. It can help create a home-cooked meal without putting too much effort. Aside from that, beans make a great nutritious snack!
Canned fish – Research shows that fish, especially fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, helps decrease risk of cardiovascular problems and increase brain function. Canned fish provides an easy, quick option for those who are always on-the-go. As such, canned fish makes a great ingredient in your pasta.
Canned black olives – Black olives are eye-catching, flavorful additions to salads, tacos, omelets, and more. They are rich in vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin. And what did we tell you about fat-soluble vitamins? They are retained throughout the whole canning process!
For many years, canned foods have been surrounded by a stigma that they are less nutritious choices as compared to fresh and frozen foods. Now, you know that not all canned foods are harmful to your health. In fact, some can even be more nutritious than fresh and frozen finds!
But that does not mean you have to stock up canned foods at home. The key to maintain a healthy body is to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly.