Canned pork and beans are a classic pantry staple that have been a go-to meal for many people for decades. They’re easy to prepare, filling, and delicious.
But are they actually good for you?
With conflicting information online about the nutritional value of canned pork and beans, it can be hard to know what to believe.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the pros and cons of canned pork and beans, so you can make an informed decision about whether or not to include them in your diet.
Are Canned Pork And Beans Good For You?
Canned pork and beans can be a healthy addition to your diet, but it’s important to understand their nutritional value.
On the positive side, pork and beans are high in fiber and protein. One cup of canned pork and beans contains almost 14 grams of fiber, which is more than half of the recommended daily intake for women and almost a third for men. Additionally, one cup provides about 13 grams of protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues in the body.
Pork and beans also contain important minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. These minerals are essential for maintaining healthy bones, muscles, and nerves.
However, canned pork and beans are also high in sodium. One cup contains over 1,000 milligrams of sodium, which is almost half of the recommended daily intake. Consuming too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure and other health problems.
Furthermore, the canning process can damage certain nutrients like vitamins C and B while also increasing risks of exposure to bisphenol-A (BPA), which is associated with heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
The Nutritional Value Of Canned Pork And Beans
When it comes to canned pork and beans, it’s important to pay attention to the nutritional value. One cup of canned pork and beans contains 47.3 grams of total carbs, 37.2 grams of net carbs, 2.4 grams of fat, 13 grams of protein, and 238 calories. It also contains 8 milligrams of cholesterol.
In terms of vitamins and minerals, one serving of canned pork and beans (260 grams) contains 2.60 mcg of vitamin A, 0.0 mg of vitamin C, and 3.64 mg of iron. It also provides 101.40 mg of calcium and 601 mg of potassium.
On the downside, canned pork and beans are high in sodium, with one cup containing over 1,000 milligrams of sodium. This can contribute to high blood pressure and other health problems if consumed in excess.
It’s also important to note that the canning process can damage certain nutrients like vitamins C and B while increasing the risk of exposure to bisphenol-A (BPA), which is linked to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
The Pros Of Eating Canned Pork And Beans
Despite the potential drawbacks, there are several benefits to eating canned pork and beans. One major advantage is that they are a convenient and affordable source of plant-based protein and fiber. Canned pork and beans are a great option for those who may not have the time or resources to cook dried beans from scratch.
Moreover, pork and beans are rich in minerals like manganese, calcium, selenium, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and copper. These minerals play crucial roles in various bodily functions such as bone health, DNA formation, red blood cell production, and immune function.
Additionally, pork and beans can help fill you up and promote satiety due to their high fiber content. This can be beneficial for weight management and overall digestive health.
Lastly, canned pork and beans can be a versatile ingredient in various recipes. They can be used as a side dish or as a main ingredient in stews, casseroles, salads, and even breakfast dishes.
The Cons Of Eating Canned Pork And Beans
While canned pork and beans can be a convenient and tasty option, there are some potential downsides to consider.
Firstly, as mentioned earlier, canned pork and beans are high in sodium. Consuming too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. To reduce your sodium intake, it’s important to read labels carefully and choose canned pork and beans with “No Salt Added” or “Low Sodium” options.
Secondly, the canning process can damage certain nutrients like vitamins C and B. Vitamins C and B are essential for overall health and play important roles in immune function, energy production, and brain function. While some nutrients are still retained in canned pork and beans, it’s important to incorporate other sources of these vitamins into your diet as well.
Lastly, canned foods like pork and beans may contain bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical that has been linked to health problems like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed BPA safe in small amounts, it’s still important to limit your exposure by choosing fresh or frozen foods when possible.
How To Choose The Healthiest Canned Pork And Beans
When choosing canned pork and beans, it’s important to pay attention to the label and select products with lower sodium levels. Look for cans without any dents or bulges, as these could indicate that the can is damaged and may contain harmful bacteria.
Additionally, opt for brands that use BPA-free lining in their cans to reduce exposure to this harmful chemical. Check the nutrient labels and choose products that are lower in sugar and higher in fiber and protein.
To further reduce sodium levels, rinse canned pork and beans before using them in recipes. This can remove up to 40% of the sodium content.
When preparing canned pork and beans, consider adding fresh ingredients like onions, garlic, and black pepper to enhance flavor without adding extra salt. Canned pork and beans can be used in a variety of recipes, including stews, soups, and salads.
Alternatives To Canned Pork And Beans For A Healthier Diet
If you’re looking for alternatives to canned pork and beans for a healthier diet, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are some suggestions:
1. Dried Beans: While dried beans require hours of soaking before you can cook them, they are a healthier alternative to canned beans. Dried beans contain no added sodium or preservatives, making them a great option for those watching their sodium intake. Plus, they are less expensive than canned beans in the long run.
2. Homemade Baked Beans: Making your own baked beans from scratch is easier than you might think. You can control the ingredients and adjust the recipe to suit your taste preferences. Look for recipes that use natural sweeteners like maple syrup or honey instead of refined sugar.
3. Bean Salads: Bean salads are a healthy and delicious way to incorporate beans into your diet. Simply toss cooked beans with fresh vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers, and dress with a simple vinaigrette made with olive oil and vinegar.
4. Bean Dips: Mashed, cooked beans mixed with seasonings make a tasty dip for vegetables, chips, and even fruit. Try mashed black beans with salsa, cayenne pepper, and ground black pepper for a spicy dip.
5. Lentil Soup: Lentils are a great source of protein and fiber and make an excellent base for soup. Try making a hearty lentil soup with vegetables like carrots, celery, and onions for a satisfying meal.
By incorporating these alternatives into your diet, you can enjoy the health benefits of beans without the added sodium and preservatives found in canned pork and beans.