Canned vegetables: a real alternative to fresh vegetables?

We admit it, fresh vegetables are always more appealing. And yet, canned vegetables have certain advantages. First of all, canned vegetables have a much longer shelf life than fresh vegetables and are available all year round, regardless of the season, which allows you to diversify your diet. Seasonal vegetables such as asparagus, green beans, or even peas are easily found canned even out of season. Furthermore, they are ready to use, which saves time in the kitchen. No need to peel, cut or wash them, they can be cooked as is.

Fresh vegetables or canned vegetables?

Contrary to popular belief, canned vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals. The fact that vegetables are canned shortly after harvest, around 3 hours, is indeed a major advantage. This limits the degradation of nutrients, in particular by preserving vitamins sensitive to light and heat. The canning process seals the vegetables in a sterile environment, which preserves their nutritional value. Finally, canned vegetables and fresh vegetables that you cook yourself have approximately the same nutritional value. Both suffer a loss of around 50% of their nutrients during cooking and for canned foods, some of their vitamins are even preserved by up to 70%.

From an environmental point of view, fresh local and seasonal vegetables are obviously preferable, as they require less energy to produce and transport. However, canned goods are a good alternative because they reduce food waste by extending the shelf life of food and providing a sustainable option throughout the year.

Raw canned vegetables, which are not labeled “prepared” like lentils, corn, peas and carrots, are similar to fresh, home-cooked foods in terms of nutritional content. These preserves usually contain only the vegetables themselves, water and salt. However, be sure to check the labeling of canned foods to ensure the presence or absence of certain additives or preservatives, as well as monitor the sodium content if you are watching your salt intake.

The dangers of canned goods

Although France banned its presence in all food containers in 2015, some canned foods still contain BPA (bisphenol A), an endocrine disruptor causing various health problems, including reproductive and developmental disorders in children. , cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers. Its presence in canned goods is often minimal and it would be necessary to consume very large quantities of canned goods for it to represent a health hazard, but to avoid it completely, prefer glass canned goods, with the same nutritional benefits, but without no health risk. As for pesticides, unfortunately, they are present in non-organic foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables as well as canned foods. However, you can reduce exposure to pesticides by opting for organic products with the “Organic Agriculture” label.

Canned goods are very often underestimated, but they nevertheless remain a practical and nutritious solution for eating on the go or saving money. Ultimately, whether you choose fresh or canned vegetables, the key is to include a variety of vegetables in your diet to reap all of their health benefits.

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