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Is Canned Food Any Better?
If you have ever wondered which is better, canned or fresh vegetables, you might be surprised by the next sentence. Although the heating process involved in canning does partially destroy some vitamins and other essential nutrients found in fresh produce, canned produce is still good for you. In fact, canned is a great alternative to freshly picked fruits and veggies.
See, very few of us pick, prepare and consume our produce at peak freshness — when it’s the most nutritious. Fresh fruits and vegetables are harvested before they are ripe, trucked long distances and stored before they make it to your produce section. As they age further in your grocery store or refrigerator, they lose additional nutritional value.
Canned produce, in contrast, is packed and sealed at the peak of freshness, which helps prevent further nutrient loss associated with the canning process. In fact, canned whole tomatoes, tomato paste and jarred pasta sauce contain more lycopene than fresh tomatoes. And compared with fresh corn and carrots, the canned varieties have more antioxidants, which may help prevent a number of diseases including cancer and heart disease.
Beware of sugary syrup and salt. However, canned vegetables tend to be high in sodium, and canned fruits are often packed in sugary syrup. Look for fruit packed in natural fruit juice, and be sure to consume only canned vegetables that are advertised as low in sodium. Also, rinse canned foods before preparing them.
Finally, if you prefer canned produce to fresh produce because it keeps longer, try frozen fruits and vegetables, which are also packaged at the peak of freshness but don’t have the extra ingredients associated with canning.
Article content courtesy of Johns Hopkins Medicine