Canned foods have made a great contribution to our kitchen needs. They are readily available, save cooking time and are cheap as compared to fresh foods. Just imagine making a fresh pasta sauce from scratch or boiling red kidney beans for an hour or two, in order to get them to a desired state. Some canned foods do have the same nutrition that fresh foods offer (depending on the canned process), some canned foods even offer added nutrition. Also if we go on the internet and research through some recipes, we will find that majority of these mention the use of canned products. So yes, canned foods are not as bad as they are considered. Before you decide whether canned foods are bad for you or not I would briefly cover the process of canning.
Canning is a process used to preserve food, in which food is packed in an air tight container. Depending on the acidity content of the type of food, some foods are sterilized at high temperatures or boiled, and some are dried at freezing temperatures. Canning is done at the time of these processes especially when the food is boiled or sterilized at high temperatures, so no bacteria can come in contact with the food. However this still hardly answers the question of whether canned foods are good or not.
As most of you know boiling foods just not only kill the bacteria but also destroys the nutritional value of the food. Therefore all the canned foods which have gone through the process of boiling, may have less nutritional value as compared to fresh foods. Pressure steam does not destroy lot of nutritional value of the food but certainly destroys the flavor. As an example, if you buy canned fruits or vegetables from the market they will sure taste bit different from the fresh ones. However the good news is, that some companies today are using dry freezing method to preserve the nutritional value as well as the goodness of flavor in the food.
One of the major problems with the products is, that most of them are sold in cans. Research suggests that most of these cans are coated with Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used to prevent food absorbing the flavor of the can. In some cases this chemical can leach itself from the can onto the food. Various researches done in the past have associated BPA with cancers and development problems. On the other hand some research papers find this chemical safe specially in lower doses. I recommend, better be safe than sorry.
If you really care about the nutritional value, flavor and freshness of your food; I reckon stick to fresh foods. Some canned foods are packed with extra salt and sugar which are definitely not good for people suffering from high blood pressure or diabetes. If you still want to consume canned foods please refer to these points mentioned below for your best health concern:
- For cooking purposes read the amount of sodium mentioned on these canned foods, so you don’t add up extra salt as it may double your salt consumption.
- Most of the canned fruits are full of sugar, try to pick the one with least sugar mentioned. You will hardly feel the difference between the two.
- Keep your cans away from hot temperatures. Heat can make the BPA reaction stronger with the food. So please keep it in a cool place.
- Some products may even mention BPA free, try purchase those. Glass bottles is other alternative, but not all the products will be offered in glass bottles.
- If possible rinse your canned food – beans, chick peas, legumes, etc.
- Where possible buy dry food products in cans, rather than liquid food products.
One good tip before ending this blog. If apocalypse or civil war or other mass catastrophe hits the globe, fill your bags with canned food. With some of them you can last eighteen months.
Stay fresh and healthy with Eat All Fresh. Stay tuned, still plenty to follow.
- NAKUL BAJAJ