Canned food is in use from past many years. It was actually made in the 18th century for the sailors and soldiers to have enough food supply to last for quite some time. Many people say that canned food is unhealthy due to the presence of chemicals and preservatives that make it last so long, while many think it is completely okay to eat canned food. This article will answer all your questions about canned foods, and if you should or should not eat them.
1. What is canned food?
Canned food refers to the food that is packed in canned and is not fresh or frozen. Canned food is a good and easy way to keep food last for longer without worrying about its going bad. Fruits, vegetables, beans, seafood and meat are often canned. Different food products have different ways to preserve and package the food, but the basics remain the same. It consists of 3 main processes.
1. Processing: in this step, food is bought and sorted, then it is peeled, sliced, chopped, boned, shelled or cooked.
2. Sealing: the cans are sealed after filling with the food.
3. Heating: the cans are then heated to kill any bacteria or any other microorganisms, that increase the shelf life of the product, from 1 to 5 years or longer.
2. Canned food and nutrition level:
Canned foods are often thought to be less nutritious because they are assumed to have lost most of the nutrients during the processing of canning. But studies show that carbs, fat and proteins nutrient value increase after they are cooked. Most of the fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, K and E are also preserved in the can food. So the nutrition value of canned foods is pretty stable. However, water soluble vitamin like vitamin B and C are often damaged as they are heat sensitive and are often lost in the normal cooking process too. However, canned foods are fully nutritious, and the process of heating does not affect its value.
In fact, one study showed that people who ate six or more canned items per week had 17 essential nutrients then those who ate 2 or less canned items per week. In fact, in most cases canned items increase the antioxidant and other nutritional value of certain foods.
3. Canned foods are affordable and convenient:
Canned foods are a very easy way of getting a wide variety of foods from any part of the world. Even food items that are not grown or found in one area can be found easily in canned variety. Canned foods are very convenient, easy to cook and are extremely affordable. Canned foods are also a wonderful way of keeping any food in your fridge for long without it being spoiled or rotten. Canned food is a great way to add nutrient dense food to your diet in less money.
4. BPA exposure cause:
Canned food, though being healthy might be a one big cause of BPA exposure. Bishphenol-A is found in many packaged food and has been seen to leach out from the can to the food inside. Although the reports are mixed, BPA is still thought to be one reason of many serious health conditions like heart problems, type-2 diabetes and male sexual dysfunction. One study looked at 78 different canned foods and found BPA in about 90% of them. Another study found that people who ate canned soup everyday for 5 days a 1000% increase of BPA in their urine. If you are trying to limit your exposure to BPA then eating a lot of canned food is not good for you.
5. Additional salt, sugar or preservatives might be added:
Sometimes, additional salt is added to canned food like often to peas. It may not be a risk for many, but high salt intake still poses a problem for people with high blood pressure, kidney malfunction, heart patients, etc. Similarly, often additional sugar is added to canned food which is not good and increase the risk of type-2 diabetes and obesity.
Canned foods also contain preservatives that might be natural or synthetic. So often sugar, salts and preservatives are added to canned foods t o improve the texture, flavour and shelf life of the product.
6. Take home message:
Canned foods are healthy and are nutritionally dense, sometimes they might have sugar, salt or preservatives added to them, but the best way to avoid it is to read the ingredient list or choose one with low or no salt added. Read the ingredient list to know how much sugar it contains, and pick the one with no syrup added to it. Make the healthy choice yourself and enjoy nutritious meals in low budget!
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