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Do canned vegetables offer the same nutritional benefits as fresh produce?

Lana Bandoim's picture
Canned Vegetables vs Fresh Produce

A study from Michigan State University that was published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine reveals that canned vegetables can offer the same nutritional benefits as fresh produce. In addition, some canned products actually have more vitamins than the fresh versions.

Are canned vegetables better?

Researchers suggest that in some cases canned vegetables may actually offer more nutritional value, and they use canned tomatoes as an example. Compared to fresh tomatoes, the canned version has more lycopene. In other cases, the canned produce was on a similar nutritional level as the fresh produce.

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The study points out low-income families and many households in the United States rely on canned items on a daily basis. In addition to being a cheaper alternative to fresh vegetables and fruits, the canned products can be bought in bulk, stored and will last longer than a fresh cucumber. Researchers view this as a safe and healthy alternative for families who may be struggling to purchase fresh items and meet the daily requirements.

Concerns about canned products: BPA and other issues

The study examined both canned fruits and canned vegetables, but the results were similar. Compared to fresh and frozen items, canned products offered the same or better nutritional value. However, many people hesitate to buy or consume canned items because of concerns about their safety.

BPA (Bisphenol A) is cited often as one of the main reasons people are afraid to buy canned food. BPA is a chemical that has been used in the lining of metal cans and linked to health problems. The chemical has been removed from many plastic baby products, but it is still being used in other items. Consumers may want to research the canned vegetables and fruits they purchase to make sure they do not have BPA in the metal lining.

BPA is not the only concern because some canned vegetables have high levels of sodium while some canned fruits have high levels of sugar. If you are on a restricted diet, then it is important to search for canned products that have low or no sodium and low sugar.