20 July, 2024

The Nutrition Value of Canned Foods

September 7, 2022



How canned foods can benefit your health

The canning process, which has been used to preserve food for centuries, keeps food safe and nutritious until consumed. This not only cuts back on food waste, but it also means that your pantry holds a treasure of quick and potentially nutritious meal solutions. 

Fruits and vegetables used for canning are picked at peak freshness, ensuring nutrient quality and the amount of minerals, fat-soluble vitamins and protein remain relatively unchanged. The only downside is that the canning process requires high heat, so canned goods may have less water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C and B vitamins.

Here are some canned foods that should be a regular addition to your diet:

1. Canned tomatoes

Canned tomatoes and tomato sauces are among the best sources of the heart-healthy antioxidant lycopene. The body’s ability to use the lycopene is greater when tomatoes are cooked or canned because of the heat from the canning process.  

2. Baked beans

These cooked, dried beans in tomato sauce are an easy, cost-effective and nutritious addition to a meal. Dried beans are a great source of plant-based protein and fibre as well as being low in fat and about a third of the can contents is anti-oxidant rich tomato sauce.

3. Canned fish

Canned oily fish, especially pilchards, sardines and tuna are far cheaper canned, and they contain loads of heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids. Choose fish canned in spring water or tomato sauce to help control your salt and fat intake.

4. Canned legumes (lentils, beans and chickpeas)

Canned legumes are an affordable and convenient protein source. They also contain minerals such as iron and zinc and are a good source of B vitamins such as folate. Drain and rinse them to reduce their salt content and add them to your stews and mince dishes.

While canned foods can be easy and convenient, there are factors to consider when choosing nutritious options. When buying canned fruit, choose fruit canned in fruit juice rather than syrup to help reduce the sugar content. Canned vegetables, legumes and fish are best canned in water or tomato sauce, but those canned in brine should be drained and rinsed before adding them to a meal. 

Canned foods are a great environmental choice as all metal cans are 100% recyclable. Recycled cans can be used to make more cans or other metal goods like fridges or cars. 

So, go ahead and stock up on your favourite canned food essentials and feel better about your health, your budget and the environment.

Author: Feed the Nation

Let's work together for a better south africa