Canned vegetables may be convenient and a time saver in the kitchen, but that means the food is processed and packed with salt and preservatives. Sure, those canned foods can sit on the shelf for months, sometimes years, and they are as easy to add to a meal as popping the top. However, the canning process decreases nutritional value, so by gaining convenience, you lose coveted nutrients (not to mention increase your risk to being exposed to BPA). Here are five foods you should never buy canned:
Beans that come precooked in a can may be nutritious, but the downside is that they’re packed with salt. It’s best to buy dry legumes in bulk and just cook them yourself, a habit that will save you money and be more nutritious in the long run. If you must eat canned beans, at least wash them very thoroughly. A 2011 study in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology by the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory found that draining and rinsing reduced the sodium content between nine and 23 percent.
When canned, vitamin C content of fruits and vegetables dramatically declined. Berries, like strawberries and raspberries, have twice as much or more vitamin C than when canned.
Like with berries, the vitamin C content of canning spinach dramatically declines. Spinach has twice as much or more vitamin C than when canned. Boiling also makes the raw food lose nutrients, but it’s with canned foods that dramatic decreases happen.
The high acidity content of tomatoes can cause BPA to leak into your food. BPA is a toxic chemical linked to reproductive abnormalities, neurological effects, cancer, and several other ailments.
Pineapple can contain about 20 mg of vitamin C per 100g of food when raw, but when canned, that nutrient content shoots down to about just 5 mg. Since today’s fresh fruits and vegetables are lower in certain vitamins and minerals than they were 50 years ago, imagine just how nutrient-deficient processing this nutrient-lacking food is!
For your modern, busy lifestyle, it might not be feasible to buy everything fresh. So, if you need to keep your fruits and veggies in your kitchen longer, buy them frozen, not fresh. Interestingly, many frozen produce contains more nutrient content than their fresh counterparts. That is because frozen fruit is picked and processed at the peak of ripeness, and the freezing process locks in the nutrients. The next time you go to the grocery store, remember: never canned, always fresh(or frozen)!
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Image source: Michael Francis McCarthy / Wikimedia Commons