This Slept-On Canned Food Is A Nutritional Powerhouse

Canned vegetables
Canned vegetables - Olenamykhaylova/Getty Images

Canned foods are often thought of as being unhealthy, packed full of sodium, and low in nutritional value. However, upon closer inspection, that's not true. In fact, the high sodium claim is one canned food myth you can leave behind, as it's often misunderstood. Furthermore, vegetables are canned immediately after they are harvested, which means they hold on to their nutrients particularly well. So there are plenty of canned goods that you can eat as part of a healthy diet. One of these underestimated canned food you should be eating more is heart of palm.

Palm hearts, as the name implies, are harvested from the center of the shoots of certain types of palm trees, including peach palms, coconut palms, and others. They're harvested in Central and South America as well as in Hawaii and Florida in the United States. These tasty foods have a mild sweetness, nutty flavor and a tender but crunchy texture. They are often compared to artichoke hearts or white asparagus.

As it turns out, heart of palm is a nutritional powerhouse. It's loaded with vitamins and minerals and is also low in fats. Plus, it packs a punch when it comes to protein, making heart of palm a great addition to your diet.

Read more: What These Imitation Foods Are Actually Made Of

Why Heart Of Palm Is So Nutritious

Palm hearts on cutting board
Palm hearts on cutting board - Richard Villalonundefined Undefined/Getty Images

The big reason that palm hearts are so nutritious is that they're packed with key vitamins and minerals. They contain vitamins C and B6, along with calcium, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, and folate, to name a few. These nutrients help your body's cells and organs function correctly, while also assisting with growth and development.

Additionally, heart of palm is loaded with all nine essential amino acids that your body is unable to produce on its own. Those amino acids help build proteins, supporting immune function, digestion, tissue repair, and so much more, which means palm hearts can improve your well-being. On top of that, heart of palm also contains polyphenols, which are a type of antioxidant. Not only do these destroy harmful free radicals, but they also assist in maintaining heart health and potentially lowering blood pressure. That's a pretty impressive resume.

How To Incorporate Canned Heart Of Palm Into Your Diet

Salad with sliced heart of palm
Salad with sliced heart of palm - Mauricio Sanches do Prado/Shutterstock

While you can chow down on heart of palm straight out of the can, one thing to note is that it is often packed either in water or brine. If it's a briny variety you've bought, it's not a bad idea to rinse it off first to avoid it being overly sour and salty. You can make a retro hearts of palm salad recipe, or add them to any salad for extra nutrients and crunch. Just slice them into circles or cubes and pile them atop your greens alongside the other veggies.

Heart of palm is often transformed into a plant-based alternative for crab cakes or tuna salad. It also can be used to achieve a nice creamy texture in dips without any dairy. Additionally, heart of palm can be spiralized and used as a gluten-free "pasta".

Regardless of how you incorporate this slept-on canned ingredient, heart of palm is a great way to boost the nutritional value of your meals. Next time you're at the supermarket, be sure to stock up.

Read the original article on Daily Meal