Is Canned Soup Healthy? Benefits, Downsides and Nutritious Options

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Canned soup can be a healthy addition to your diet as long as it's not high in sodium.
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Like many canned foods, canned soup can be a healthy addition to your diet. Most Americans need to eat more veggies, and canned soup is an affordable staple that can help you meet your nutritional goals. Not to mention, some canned soup options are great sources of protein.

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Canned soup is also a great food to eat if you're feeling sick or just need to put together a quick meal, just make sure you read the nutrition label.

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Nutrition in Canned Soup

Some canned soup varieties will give you important nutrients thanks to the veggies and protein-rich foods they're made with. Plus, many canned soups fall below 400 calories per can, making them great for quick, nutritious meals.

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For example, a can (which is the serving size) of Amy's Organic Lentil Vegetable Soup ($48.24 for 12 cans, Amazon) gives has 270 calories, 11 grams of tissue-building protein and 8 grams of satiating fiber — a nutrient we should all be eating more of, according to the USDA.

You'll also get an impressive 25 percent of your daily needs for iron and 15 percent of your daily needs for potassium.

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A can of Healthy Choice Chicken With Rice Soup Made With Bone Broth ($26.40, Amazon) will give you as much as 22 grams of protein per can at just 190 calories, and also comes with some potassium and iron.

Lean proteins like beans, pulses and lean meats like chicken and turkey along with hearty vegetables make healthy canned soup options.

When Canned Soup Isn't Healthy

Not all canned soup can be considered healthy. One of the biggest concerns about canned soup is the sodium.

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Sodium in Canned Soup

Many canned soup products are made with high amounts of sodium, which is used to improve the taste of the soup. Despite adding flavor, too much sodium isn't good for your health.

A serving of Canned Cream of Mushroom Soup, for example, can have as much as 843 milligrams of sodium, which is 37 percent of the daily recommended amount of 2,300 milligrams in a day, per the USDA.

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Taking in too much sodium from processed foods like canned soup contributes to high rates of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke, according to the CDC.

Warning

Certain canned soup products can be high in sodium and should be eaten in moderation. Adults should aim to limit sodium in their diet to no more than 2,300 milligrams per day, per the USDA.

If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease or you're at a higher risk for heart disease, you may want to limit sodium even further to 1,500 milligrams per day, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

Choosing Healthy Canned Soup

When you're shopping for canned soup, make sure to read your labels.

1. Check the Sodium

To keep it healthy, opt for canned soup with less than 600 milligrams of sodium per serving, which is the upper limit set by the FDA for a meal or dish to be labeled "healthy," per the CDC.

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Ideally, though, you'll probably want to search for one with even less sodium. Look for the low-sodium or "no salt added" wording on your canned soup labels.

2. Go for Protein

Eating enough protein can help keep you full for longer, not to mention, it supports your body's tissues as you age.

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3. A Note on BPA

BPA, a chemical used in cans, is a concern for many people when it comes to canned soup. Some research has shown that BPA can seep into food or beverages from containers that are made with.

BPA exposure has been tied to effects on hormone production, blood pressure, type 2 diabetes risk and heart disease risk, per the Mayo Clinic. That said, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains that the very small amount of BPA that occurs in foods is likely safe based on a large body of research.

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If you're worried about the BPA in canned soup, choose brands that offer BPA-free packaging, which you can look for on the product label or manufacturer's website.

You can also look for soups packaged in Tetra Pak, a type of carton made from cardboard, PET plastic or aluminum.

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