There are a lot of myths about canned food items. One of the biggest myths that people believe is that they are considered to be less nutritious as compared to other frozen or fresh food products.
According to popular opinion, canned foods are filled with harmful ingredients that can deteriorate health. On the other hand, many believe that eating canned foods can be a way to adopt a healthier lifestyle. To decide whether canned food is actually good or bad for health, it is important to understand what actually canned foods are?
What are canned products?
The word ‘canned’ itself suggests that a method of packing food in airtight containers to preserve them for a longer period of time. Food canning was first introduced in the late 18th century in order to provide food to the soldiers and sailors during the time of war.
The process of canning depends upon the type of food. Basically there are three main steps for canning food items:
- Processing: In this stage, the food is boned, sliced, chopped, cooked, pitted, shelled, or peeled.
- Sealing: In this process, the food is filled in the cans and sealed.
- Heating: As the name suggests, this is where the sealed can is heated to kill harmful bacteria present in the food.
Heating allows the canned food to be shelf-stable, which makes it safe to eat even after a couple of years. The most common foods that follow this procedure include canned fruits, canned vegetables, canned seafood, canned beans, canned soup, etc.
Why choose canned items?
As mentioned earlier, it is often believed that canned foods are less nutritious. But according to researchers, canning is a process that helps to preserve almost every nutrient of the food.
Nutrients like proteins, carbs, fats are not at all affected by the process of canning. Other minerals and vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K also remain unaffected.
Vitamins such as C and B are quite sensitive to heat and air so they might get destroyed even when they are heated on a stove or microwave at home or by storing them for a long time.
If the process of canning is said to destroy certain vitamins, on the other side, it also helps to increase the level of different healthy compounds. One of the great examples is that when canned tomatoes and corn are heated, they tend to release more antioxidants.
Also, canned potatoes help to lower the chances of harmful cholesterol by increasing the level of good cholesterol. According to a study, people who consumed more than 5 canned items per week tended to have more than 17 necessary nutrients as compared to those who consumed only 2 canned items. This proves that consuming canned food is not injurious to health.
Easy to use
Canned foods are an easier and practical way to have more nutrient-rich food in your diet. In today’s time, almost every food product is available in a can. Canned foods are pretty convenient as they can be stored for a long period of time. Most times, they require very little preparation for cooking and serving. Canned foods are cheaper than fresh products.
Check the ingredients and preservatives
At the time of canning some preservatives such as salt, sugar, etc are added in the food. Some canned foods may contain a high amount of salt which is not a problem for most individuals but is problematic for those who often suffer high blood pressure problems.
While canned foods are easy and convenient there are some factors to keep in mind while buying canned foods. Before you buy any canned item, the most important thing is to check the ingredients and label. If the amount of salt used does not suit you then it is better to choose food with no sodium or less salt.
If you do not want extra sugar then you must go for foods packed with juices or water rather than food packed with syrups. Drained or rinsed canned foods lowers the chance of high sugar and salt. You should not buy cans that have dents, bulges, cracks, or any kind of leaks.
Safe for consumption
Most of the canned foods are packed in steel cans. Steel cans are considered to be the safest option for food packaging. They are strong, resistant, tamper, and contain an airtight seal that protects the food from outside bacteria. Cans that are made up of steel can also be recycled. Labels used here can also be recycled.
Canned foods help in reducing the wastage of the food. As most of the cans contain a limited amount of food, we are less likely to throw away the food. They are indeed the best option for those who live in remote areas.
It is very easy to find canned food as compared to fresh foods. For example, canned tuna and canned fruits are even sold at gas stations or near railway stations. Even some grocery stores have offered to buy one and get one free set. As you already know, canned foods last for a longer period of time, which is why they are the best option to fill your pantry during the times when you arrive back from vacation and there is nothing to eat in the house. If you live in an area that is prone to natural calamities then canned foods are the best option for you because you will need to have food when there is no electricity in the house for several days.
Canned foods are the best option if there is no fresh food available. They provide lots of nutrients and are extremely affordable. If you buy the right canned food with proper ingredients and labels then, they may easily become a part of your healthy diet.
Quick and easy to prepare
Canned food products are known to help prepare quick dishes during some challenging situations. They help us with time management, consume vegetables and fruits, prepare a healthy meal for the whole family to enjoy, and more. The biggest benefit of canned foods continues to be the fact that they are harvested at peak freshness.