Once canned foods saved people from hunger; today canned foods are unfairly underrated. Although some canned foods aren’t healthy, many others are loaded with nutrients.
There are canned foods that are even healthier than fresher ones, according to a growing number of studies already conducted. Read on to learn more details about them and which canned foods are actually nutrient-dense.
1. Canned tomatoes
The fresher, the better? This is not the case with canned tomatoes. When compared with fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes contain about 3 times the amount of iron and calcium. (1)
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Moreover, the canning process activates the antioxidant lycopene in tomatoes, which is a lot easier for the body to absorb. Lycopene has been proven to decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases, macular degeneration, prostate cancer, and other medical conditions. (2)
On the other hand, canned tomatoes have reduced levels of fiber and vitamin C as opposed to fresh tomatoes. Anyway, this canned food will save you time and increase your antioxidant intake.
2. Canned pumpkin
If you’ve ever peeled, gutted, and cut a pumpkin, you know how tricky and time consuming it can be. Canned pumpkin is a no-brainer and it’s plentiful in nutrients, including vitamin A, fiber, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, protein, vitamin E, and vitamin K.
A cup of canned pumpkin contains 7.1 grams of fiber, 505 milligrams of potassium, and 56 milligrams of magnesium. (3) It also meets your needs of vitamin A for the day, helping to improve your vision.
Canned pumpkin promotes weight loss as it’s low in calories and fat. You can use canned pumpkin in soups, baked goods, oatmeal, and even smoothies. You can mix canned pumpkin puree with apple puree for a quick, nutrient rich snack.
3. Canned black beans
One of the most versatile canned foods out there, black beans are a great addition to your diet if you’re trying to load your diet with fiber and protein. A cup of canned black beans offers half of the daily value for fiber.
Canned black beans are also brimming magnesium, folate, and powerful antioxidants. In fact, 100 grams of canned black beans contain about 10 times the amount of antioxidants in the same serving of oranges. (4)
4. Canned chickpeas
Canned chickpeas are an excellent ingredient in stews, soups, and salads. They’re also super healthy. There are about 10 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein in a single cup of canned chickpeas. Make sure you drain and rinse them well to eliminate sodium.
Apart from protein and fiber, canned chickpeas contain iron, calcium, vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin A. They have a moderate amount of calories, so that can promote weight loss.
5. Canned coconut milk
Canned coconut milk is more popular than ever and it’s used in place of cow’s milk in many recipes, including sauces and baked goods. When compared to refrigerated coconut milk, canned coconut milk is creamier, thicker, and higher in fat.
A cup of raw, canned coconut milk contains 4.57 grams of protein, 41 milligrams of calcium, 104 milligrams of magnesium, and 497 milligrams of potassium. Canned coconut milk might aid in weight loss, strengthening the immune system, and maintaining a healthy heart.
6. Canned beets
Have you ever tried canned beets? They make a perfect addition to salads and soups. Canned beets have almost the same nutritional value as fresh ones.
A cup of canned beets offers 14% of the recommended daily consumption of folate and 4% of potassium and phosphorus. (5) Canned beets are extremely low in calories, fat, and cholesterol.
7. Canned corn
While fresh corn – be it boiled or grilled – seems to be a healthier option than the canned version, you can actually get an impressive fiber boost. A cup of canned corn provides nearly 4 g of belly-filling fiber.
Mix it with canned black beans and serve for dinner along with brown rice to enhance your fiber and protein intake. You can also use canned corn in salads but rinse it well to eliminate salt.
8. Green chiles
Canned green chiles are known for their strong flavor and they are used in a variety of meals. Canned green chiles also yield phytochemicals and vitamin C for strong immunity. Other health benefits include better heart health, improving mood, preventing iron deficiency, and managing blood sugar levels.
The problem with canned chiles is that they might contain calcium chloride, which makes the chiles taste pickled. Although canned green chiles aren’t as hot as Jalapenos, moderation is still critical – especially if you have digestive issues.
9. Canned artichoke hearts
Both canned and fresh artichoke hearts are often overlooked. Artichoke hearts offer an astonishing nutritional profile, though. A can of artichoke hearts contains 6 grams of fiber (24% of DV) and 9 grams of protein. (6)
They also contain a range of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin A, potassium, iron, and calcium.
Artichoke hearts have low caloric value and they’re ideal for people trying to shed pounds or maintain a healthy weight. You can use canned artichoke hearts in salads, pasta, stews, or even mixed veggie soups.
10. Canned pineapple in juice
Fresh and canned pineapple is a delicious way to curb your sugar craving. Just make sure you purchase canned pineapple in juice, not syrup. Pineapple in syrup is loaded with tons of sugar while in juice is noted for its high nutrient value.
Pineapple canned in juice contains nearly 60% as much vitamin C as fresh pineapple, providing 28% of the recommended daily intake. (7) Pineapple helps to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, boost the immune system, enhance bone health, and keep eyes healthy.
11. Low sodium canned soups
Canned soups have got a really bad reputation on the market these days, but not all people know that there are low sodium options, which can be good for you. It’s also important to choose vegetable soups to avoid extra sodium and fat content.
Low sodium canned soups that contain mixed vegetables might boast a great nutritional value. Read the labels to ensure you’re buying the healthiest version possible. If you see any words that you can’t even pronounce, leave that can on the shelf.
12. Canned apricots
Apricots have a very short season so there are two options to enjoy them longer: you can either freeze or can them. While frozen apricots have a nutritional value similar to the one of fresh apricots, the canned version is also loaded with a plethora of nutrients.
Canned apricots are high in fiber as well as vitamins A and C, and low in sodium, cholesterol, saturated fat, and calories. They’re incredibly tasty and you can snack on them or add to your yogurt bowl. You can also use canned apricots in your baked goods.
The final word
Canned foods are non-perishable, convenient, and budget-friendly. Not only do they help us save time in the kitchen, but canned foods are also nutrient-dense.
Plus, they’re typically cheaper than fresh produce – especially during the winter months. Not to mention that you can start canning your own food at home. Some canned foods can last up to 18 months. Isn’t it great?