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Is Canned Fruit Healthy?

Canned fruits used to be mushy and tasteless. Improvements in canning technology and advances in agriculture have lead to canned fruits that taste good and retain their texture. Canned goods provide a cost-effective way for people to enjoy fruits that aren't in season or aren't regionally grown. They also keep longer than fresh fruits, making them ideal for people who can't shop regularly or who don't have access to produce. Choosing the canned variety generally doesn't diminish the amount of nutrition you get from fruit.

Fresh fruit contains high concentrations of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. It's also a fiber-rich, low-calorie food. When manufacturers can fruits immediately after picking them, they retain most of their nutritional value. The canning process actually makes it easier for your body to absorb certain nutrients, which means that canned fruit is sometimes more nutritious than the fresh variety.

Fruits come packed in liquid to help preserve freshness and enhance flavor. The liquid you choose can mean the difference between a healthy snack and a sugar-laden one. Avoid fruits that have been canned in heavy syrup because they have high amounts of added sugar and extra calories. Healthier choices include fruit canned in its own juices, fruit juice or water.

Canned foods contain bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA. This estrogen-like chemical is linked with cell changes, hormonal disorders and certain cancers, according to a 2010 report published in USA Today. Acidic foods such as tomatoes and pineapple usually absorb higher levels of BPA from cans than non-acidic foods. Manufacturers have begun making canned fruits in BPA-free cans. Look for BPA-free on the label if you're concerned about exposure to this chemical.

Consuming at least 2.5 cups fruits and vegetables per day can reduce your risk of obesity and chronic disease, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2010 Dietary Guidelines. Because fruits contain so few calories, so many nutrients and so much fiber, the USDA recommends 2 cups fruit per day, or four to five servings in a 2,000-calorie diet, in addition to 2.5 cups vegetables. Canned fruit is a convenient way to get more fruit in your diet.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.