When it comes to a healthy diet, our patients are the best! Our patients enjoy plates heaping with veggies, whole grains, and dairy products (for the all-important calcium that supports teeth and bones). At Lori Lemire Family Dentistry, your family dentistry in Coos Bay, we know how lucky we are to have such health-conscious patients!
But maybe we should draw your attention for just a minute to the subject of vegetables: sometimes leafy greens might fall by the wayside when compared with powerhouses like the carrot– in fact, leafy greens might be construed as “just salad.”
Nothing could be further from the truth! When you load up on veggies, make sure you’re loading up on those leafy greens; they may be one of the best things you can do for your oral and systemic health. Check out these key players in the leafy greens arena!
These sadly underrepresented greens are still popular in the southern United States, where they are most often slow-roasted with a pork product, but up in Oregon time has forgotten collards. And that’s a shame, because they are tremendously good for you.
Collards are high in calcium, folate, and potassium– all key ingredients in your oral health. Calcium helps to remineralize dental enamel, folate protects your gums, and potassium is irreplaceable as an electrolyte that helps send nervous signals to your mouth and makes all the magic work.
Can’t “beet” the tops
When it comes to power-house greens, sometimes we’re not only forgetting to put them on our plate but we’re actually throwing them away (or composting)! Commonly abandoned greens are the tops of root vegetables like beets or turnips.
These greens are best enjoyed when lightly cooked with a little salt or maybe vinegar. Turnip greens contain Vitamins A, C, and K, and are high in calcium. Plus, these greens are practically free when you’re purchasing your favorite root vegetables! Next time you’re at the grocery store or farmers market, be sure and select the beets with the tops on.
Much has been said about kale’s health benefits lately: in just one cup, this tough-yet-tender leafy vegetable has almost 3 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fiber, Vitamin A, C, and K, folate, and alpha-linoleic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid)
Despite its powerful nutritional punch, eaters may balk at kale’s rough, chewy texture and tendency to fill the gaps in our teeth, leaving us with green smiles. Try stewing kale lightly with a bit of tomato sauce for a “BBQ” tasting treat, or, in a raw salad, you can “massage” kale (basically, squeezing the leaves prior to cutting) for tender chewiness.
Want some more ideas?
Try our new peppery favorite: mustard greens. They’re perfect for spring. Or interested in something a little more colorful? Try rainbow chard— this unique and beautiful variety of chard packs 13 essential vitamins and minerals!