We are accustomed to the 'new normal' now – lesser outdoor trips, contactless deliveries, stocking up of foods and other essentials at home, and so on. Stocking up reminds me of the canned fish and canned vegetables that I had bulk-ordered towards the onset of the pandemic days.

Since I am a tuna, sardine, and salmon freak (a fish-lover to be precise), I had stacked my refrigerator with canned fish. Vegetables were comparatively lesser in quantity as I can do without them for days (but I can’t do without fish!). For the first time in my life, I wondered if canned food was good for health (as we were all working up to boost our immunity levels with healthy food and exercise)! My relentless research on the health-impacts of canned food led me to conclude upon the following…

First, let's discuss how canned food is made

Step 1 – The initial step consists of processing the food - be it fish, fruits, or vegetables. They are washed, peeled, or cut before canning. There’s another step before canning too – pitting.

Step 2 – The next step involves preparing the cans, that is, seasoning them. The cans are either filled with water or juice for seasoning. Once the cans are seasoned, they are filled with the food, and the lids are sealed immediately.

Step 3 – The last and final step involves heating; after the can is sealed, it is heated to a certain temperature (for killing the harmful bacteria, if any), and immediately cooled back to normal temperature. These are measures taken to prevent spoilage of the food.

The trick lies in choosing your canned food carefully. So, how to choose your canned food item?

As I had been bothering too much about canned food in the recent past, I came across many food experts and nutritionists who guided me on the same. Filtering all their suggestions, here are 3 key factors that I try to pay heed while handpicking my canned eatables –

  1. Choose the ones with low added sugar and salt:

Canned food does have a little added sugar and salt. However, you should go for the ones that are low on both sugar and sodium content.

  1. BPA-free can linings are most advisable:

Cans are made of steel; however, the lining substance often contains BPA, which is although deemed 'safe' by the FDA, but not by all other health groups! Choose canned food that offers BPA-free lining – it would be potentially harmless.

  1. Say ‘no’ to artificial preservatives:

Canning, as you know, is one sort of a preservation technique. Therefore, artificial preservatives and additives are not required.

Besides the above 3 factors, you will certainly not go for cans with dents, cracks, bulges, or leaks. Hence, this factor goes without mentioning as the above issues allow air to enter, which creates the most suitable environment for the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum to grow!     

Some virtues of canned foods

Coming down to the content that you are looking for here in this article – the 'pros' of canned food! Here’s a list of benefits of canned food for you to go through…

  • The fruits and/or vegetables that are picked for canning are plucked when they are at their peak freshness. This not only ensures the best flavor but the best quality too.
  • Canning preserves a lot of food nutrients – be it fat-soluble vitamins, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, or other minerals.
  • Since the process of canning involves high heat (even if it is for a short duration of time), canned food contains lesser quantity of water-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin C and B. However, the heating process actually increases the antioxidant content of the food!