When it comes to stocking your pantry, it's extremely important to pay attention to the nutrition facts for each item. Some canned foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, and more, while others can do serious harm to the body. If you're still questioning which canned foods you and your family should be eating, here's a helpful guide.
Some may choose to stay away from canned tomatoes out of fear of botulism or BPA. However, that usually occurs in low acid foods.
Also, BPA-lined cans are no longer used in tomato packing facilities in the United States. Tomatoes have several health benefits, including reducing risk of heart disease and cancer.
According to Medical News Today, pears come in over three thousand different varieties. However, when pears are packed into a can, the liquid that is used is very unhealthy.
It usually contains water, fiber, and fructose and the latter is extremely high in sugar. Canned pears packed in their own juice or light syrup usually have more sugar per serving than those packed in heavy syrup.
One of the healthiest canned foods people can buy is pumpkin. Gabrielle McGrath, a registered nutritionist, says that pumpkin has tons of health benefits.
Those who buy cans of pumpkin puree without the additives should know that they are full of nutrients and antioxidants. These can boost the immune system, protect eyesight, and lower the risk of chronic disease.
Worst: Baked Beans
While several kinds of beans, such as kidney or pinto beans, have lots of health benefits, that doesn't remain true for baked beans.
Registered nutritionist Gabrielle McGrath wants people to avoid any baked beans that come in a can. This is because they are usually loaded with saturated fat, sugar, and unnecessary additives.
Best: Stone Fruits
For those who may not be aware, stone fruits are any fruit containing a large pit, including peaches, plums, apricots, and nectarines.
These have a relatively short season, so they become perishable a lot quicker. The cost of canned stoned fruits has risen, so keeping them in the pantry is economically savvy.
Worst: Maraschino Cherries
Maraschino cherries have become one of the most iconic dessert toppers, whether they be placed on ice cream sundaes, Shirley Temple drinks, or pies.
By the time these cherries reach the jar or can, they are no longer real cherries. Their flavor, color, and sweet syrup are made up of a bunch of additives and chemicals.
While many canned meats usually have a high sodium content, there are a few that are actually quite healthy.
Canned chicken is packed with protein; as long as it is top quality. It's important to choose brands of canned chicken that are known for being organic, pasture-raised, and packaged in water.
Canned or jarred sauces ranging from flavors such as tomato and Alfredo can really do some damage.
While these sauces are filled with rich flavors, they usually contain a ton of salt, added sugar, and saturated fat. If these are eaten regularly, they can possibly lead to chronic diseases including obesity or heart disease.
Best: Coconut Milk
One of the reasons people should consider getting their coconut milk in a can versus a carton is that cartons have more additives and sweeteners. They also have a thinner liquid texture.
Not only is coconut milk tasty, but it's packed with antioxidants and antimicrobials, which prevent your body from contracting various diseases.
Healthline states that apples can improve bone health, protect against asthma, and prevent cancer. Canned apples aren't so healthy.
One serving of canned apple slices has over 30 grams of refined sugar. Apples are something that can be bought year-round, so it doesn't make sense to buy them in cans.
Bri Bell, a registered dietician, recommends that everyone keep canned beans and lentils in their pantry. Legumes are one of the healthiest sources of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates.
Also, they make great additions to so many recipes such as soups, salads, chilis, and grain bowls. The most important thing to look out for in canned legumes is their salt content.
Canned pasta is something that many people grew up eating because it's quick and simple to make. Sadly, these delectable dishes are on the unhealthy side.
Sofia Norton, a registered dietician, says that canned pasta is arguably one of the worst canned products of all time. It has high levels of preservatives, additives, salt, and sugar.
Pineapples are one of the sweetest and juiciest fruits available and are usually picked right at the peak of the season. However, they can fall victim to negative external impacts that cause the price to fluctuate.
This is why people should keep canned pineapple at home. Having it on hand will prevent you from dealing with inflated prices or rotten fruit.
Berries tend to be full of antioxidants, which is great for fighting chronic diseases such as heart disease or breast cancer.
However, canned berries are a different story. These have tons of sugar that most should avoid. For example, the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council found that a half cup of canned blueberries has 22 grams of sugar.
Best: Green Beans
Canned foods may get a reputation for being a processed food with no nutritional benefits, but there are plenty that are healthy.
Canned green beans are a perfect example. These tend to have low levels of salt and still have most of the same nutrients as fresh ones. Green beans are high in vitamin K and calcium as well.
Worst: Fruit Cocktail
One of the most iconic snacks in American culture is the fruit cocktail. Whether it be in the school cafeteria or at the dessert table, most have probably tried one.
These have gone down in popularity for a good reason. Fruit cocktails are extremely high in sugar with one cup having the equivalent of 44.4 grams of sugar.
While tuna may not be the most fragrant food, it sure is healthy. Canned tuna is relatively cheap to buy at the grocery store and comes with many nutritional benefits.
There are high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that are great for reducing cholesterol levels and keeping the arteries clear.
Worst: Sloppy Joe
During the 20th century, the Sloppy Joe sandwich was one of the most popular meal choices. The sandwich could be ready in less than 15 minutes and was quite delicious.
Canned Sloppy Joe sauce is made up of tomato puree, high fructose corn syrup, and other unhealthy additives. High intakes of fructose are linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, insulin resistance, and more.
Sardines may look a bit intimidating once the can is open, but they are actually one of the most nutritious canned foods available.
The omega-3 fatty acids found in these fish can protect the cardiovascular system to keep the arteries free of blockage. Other oily fish that provide similar health benefits include salmon and mackerel.
Soup can be a thing of comfort. It may be something that can make you feel better when you're sick or keep you warm during cold weather.
Unfortunately, canned soup is a sodium bomb. Most cans have more than a day's recommended serving of sodium. Instead, try making a soup from scratch where you can control all the ingredients.