Why canned fruits, vegetables are healthier than fresh produce

By: Chioma Umeha

The question:”Are canned fruits and vegetables a healthy alternative to fresh produce?” is common. Expert reports from Johns Hopkins Health Alerts answers in affirmative. Here are their reasons:

Although the heating process involved in canning does partially destroy some vitamins and other essential nutrients found in fresh produce, canned produce is still good for you. Very few of us pick, prepare and consume our produce at peak freshness — when it’s the most nutritious. Fresh fruits and vegetables are harvested before they are ripe, trucked long distances and stored before they make it to your produce section. As they age further in your grocery store or refrigerator, they lose additional nutritional value.

Canned Fruits
 Canned produce, in contrast, is packed and sealed at the peak of freshness, which helps prevent further nutrient loss associated with the canning process. In fact, canned whole tomatoes, tomato paste and jarred pasta sauce contain more lycopene than fresh tomatoes.

And compared with fresh corn and carrots, the canned varieties have more antioxidants, which may help prevent a number of diseases including cancer and heart disease. Beware of sugary syrup and salt. However, canned vegetables tend to be high in sodium, and canned fruits are often packed in sugary syrup. Look for fruit packed in natural fruit juice, and be sure to consume only canned vegetables that are advertised as low in sodium. Also, rinse canned foods before preparing them.

Finally, if you prefer canned produce to fresh produce because it keeps longer, try frozen fruits and vegetables, which are also packaged at the peak of freshness but don’t have the extra ingredients associated with canning.

Health Alert: A diet abundant in nutrient-rich foods can be a powerful tool in preventing disease. Maintaining a healthy weight through a combination of diet and exercise is known to lower the risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis and many kinds of cancer.

This story was published in Daily Newswatch on  May 11, 2013.


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