Fitting Canned Foods into a Heart Healthy Diet

How many times have you heard the phrase “fresh is best?” We are here to tell you that is simply not the case. Canned can fit into your heart healthy diet. 

Canning is a process that was developed as a means of preserving foods. Foods are prepared and sealed in cans before being exposed to high heat to kill bacteria and prevent spoilage.  Canned foods have gotten a bad rap in the heart-healthy community because salt is often added as a preservative. But when it comes to consuming nutrient-dense foods such as fruit, vegetables, and legumes, canned can be a great option. The canning process does not significantly affect the nutrient profile of your favorite fruits and vegetables – sometimes it improves it. Did you know that canned tomatoes and corn have higher antioxidant levels than their fresh counterparts?

Picked at Perfection

Canned fruits and vegetables are picked at perfection. Picking at peak ripeness ensures a fresh, in-season taste all year round. 

Cost and convenience – Keeping an arsenal of canned foods is a cost-effective way to ensure that nutrient-dense items are always on hand. 

Reduce food waste. How many times have you picked out a fresh fruit or vegetable with the promise of eating it, only to find it rotten in the back of your produce drawer? Canned foods stay shelf stable for one to five + years.

Picking Canned Foods

Always look for a “no salt added” option. If “no salt added” is not available, try to find a lower sodium option. Low sodium and regular canned items can be rinsed to decrease the sodium content. Drain and rinse canned vegetables and legumes three times to remove some of the salt added during processing. 

Avoid canned fruits packaged in heavy syrup. Look for fruit packaged in water only. 

Choose canned fish packaged in water instead of oil. Canned tuna is a great source of omega-3’s!

When it comes to looking for heart-healthy pantry staples, don’t fear the can! Cruise the aisles and pay attention to the labels, and you can find fabulous options all year round.

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