Food

January 24, 2024

Unlocking the Nutritional Treasure of Canned Fruit: Dietitian Insights

Unlocking the Nutritional Treasure of Canned Fruit: Dietitian Insights

In a world where fresh produce often takes center stage, the humble canned fruit quietly awaits its turn in the spotlight. Have you ever wondered if those cans of peaches, pineapple, or pears are as healthy as their fresh counterparts? Prepare to be surprised.

The Nutritional Value of Canned Fruit

Chelsea LeBlanc, RDN, owner of Chelsea LeBlanc Nutrition in Nashville, Tennessee, wants to challenge the misconception that "fresh is best." According to her, canned fruits are equally nutritious. These fruits provide carbohydrates for energy, fiber for digestion, and a host of essential vitamins and minerals to support overall health.

Let's delve into the nutritional details of three popular canned fruits, as provided by the USDA's FoodData Central.

Peaches

A 1-cup serving of peaches canned in peach juices contains:

  • Calories: 120
  • Carbohydrates: 30g
  • Dietary Fiber: 3g
  • Total Sugar: 30g (No Added Sugar)
  • Protein: 1g
  • Total Fat: 0g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 10mg
  • Vitamins: A (60mcg), E (1.1mg)
  • Potassium: 290mg

Peaches not only offer sweetness but also a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals. Notably, they contain no added sugar.

Pineapple

A 1-cup serving of pineapple canned in pineapple juices contains:

  • Calories: 140
  • Carbohydrates: 35g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2g
  • Total Sugar: 33g (No Added Sugar)
  • Protein: 1g
  • Total Fat: 0g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 5mg
  • Vitamins: C (18mg)
  • Minerals: Magnesium (43mg), Potassium (352mg)

Pineapple, with its tropical flair, delivers vitamins and minerals without any added sugar.

Pears

A 1-cup serving of pears canned in pear juices contains:

  • Calories: 130
  • Carbohydrates: 34g
  • Dietary Fiber: 4g
  • Total Sugar: 30g (No Added Sugar)
  • Protein: 0.5g
  • Total Fat: 0g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 10mg
  • Vitamins: C (3mg)
  • Minerals: Copper (122mcg), Potassium (190mg)

Pears contribute a unique blend of nutrients, including copper, to your diet, all without added sugar.

All three of these canned fruits provide valuable micronutrients like potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin A. Importantly, they don't contain any added sugar, making them a healthy choice for those concerned about sugar intake.

The Unexpected Benefits of Canned Fruits

Budget-Friendly and Long-Lasting

Canned fruits are not only nutritious but also budget-friendly. They typically cost less than fresh fruit, making them an affordable option for those on tight budgets. Moreover, canned fruits have a longer shelf life, reducing the risk of rapid spoilage and food waste. Opting for store brands can further stretch your budget while delivering the same nutritional value.

Peak Freshness Preserved

Canned fruits are harvested at their peak ripeness and swiftly canned, preserving their nutrition and flavor. This means you can enjoy the taste of juicy summer peaches all year round. Chelsea LeBlanc emphasizes this point, stating, "Since they’re packed at the peak of freshness, you can keep eating those juicy summer peaches all year long!"

Nutrient-Rich Goodness

Just like fresh and frozen fruits, canned fruits are rich in essential nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Research published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition highlights how fruits and vegetables support overall health and reduce the risk of diseases like cardiovascular disease and cancer. In fact, some studies suggest that higher fruit and vegetable intake, including canned fruits, may even promote better mental health by reducing stress and depression symptoms.

Convenience at Its Best

Canned fruits require little to no preparation, making them a convenient choice for busy individuals. According to LeBlanc, "The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend adults eat 1½ to 2 cups of fruit each day, but only 1 in 10 Americans are eating enough fruits and veggies. Canned fruits make it easy to meet these recommendations. They’re pre-cut and ready to eat—saving you valuable time washing, peeling, and chopping." This convenience factor makes canned fruits suitable for older adults, those with limited mobility, and anyone seeking to save time in the kitchen.
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Canned fruits offer a healthy, convenient, and affordable way to increase your daily fruit intake. These pantry staples are nutritious and flavorful, making them a versatile addition to your meals and snacks. Opt for fruits canned in water or without added sugar when possible, and savor the natural sweetness they bring to your culinary creations. Embrace the surprising health benefits of canned fruits, and let them take a deserved place on your plate.


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