Is canned food bad for your health?
Canned food is originally created to preserve the food for a longer shelf life for soldiers at wars. Foods are kept in airtight containers and can often last for 1-5 years. However, in recent years, people tend to think that canned food is bad for health. What they might not know is, if making the right choices, we can benefit a lot from canned food not just for its convenience and low price, but also the same high level of nutrients as fresh food.
Benefits of canned food
Food used for canning is at the peak of its freshness. Canned food can preserve nearly the same nutrients as fresh food, including protein, carbs, fat, and most minerals and fat-soluble vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C and B may be damaged during processing or storage, but at the same time, other healthy compounds will increase. For instance, tomatoes lose some vitamin C during canning and release a higher amount of antioxidants like lycopene as well.
On the other hand, for those who often buy fresh vegetables or fruits and have to throw them away after a few days, canned foods are incredibly convenient and cheap because they can be stored for up to several years. Since a wide variety of food can be canned, canned food also offers the possibility for people to have a higher intake of nutrients.
Making the right choice
Food packaging often creates BPA (bisphenol-A), a chemical that may lead to health problems like heart disease and diabetes. If you want to minimize the risk, don’t regard canned food as your first choice in daily eating. In some cases, canned food may contain dangerous bacteria called clostridium, but it usually can be avoided if you choose famous brands. What’s more, you should never eat from the cans with dents, cracks, bulges, or leaks.
Note that some canned foods can be high in sugar and salt, which can be linked to health risks like high blood pressure, obesity, etc. When you are selecting the canned food, take notice at the label and ingredient list. To reduce the intake of salt, choose “low sodium” or “no salt added”. To avoid extra sugar, choose the fruits immersed in water or juice instead of syrup. Beyond that, you can also drain or rinse the food yourself to reduce the salt and sugar content.