Washingtonians know there’s more to our produce than apples. Your Vancouver WA dentist is a connoisseur of a wide variety fresh and local fruits and vegetables, and there’s a good reason: diet is a critical element in dental health.
No matter how good your oral hygiene, if you aren’t eating right for your mouth– your teeth and gums will suffer. Your teeth require minerals to keep the underlying bones and overlying enamel strong and rock hard. You gums need vitamins to stay pink and healthy.
There’s no better way to gain this critical nutrition than through great local, seasonal food! Check out these favorites– close by at your local farmers market.
Get your greens
Leafy greens are a spring staple. They flourish in the cool, rainy weather but like a bit of sun too. Greens are great for two general things: first, they have tons of water in them. This stimulates saliva production, and of course, the more water in your system the better. Second, despite their unassuming appearance, greens are dense with vitamins and minerals you need for optimal oral health.
Tired of lettuce? There’s plenty out there. This season, try:
- arugula, which contains magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, calcium, and iron
- watercress, a great source of vitamins A, C, K, and E, as well as thiamine and B6
- rainbow chard– high in fiber, as well as vitamins A and K
- collard greens, which pack phosphorous, potassium, thiamine, folate, and vitamins B6, A, C, and K– it addition to be delicious with BBQ.
OK, don’t really get stung. But stinging nettles are a valuable spring food native to Western WA that has been coming back in popularity that last few years– and it may even be growing in your back yard!
In some Scandinavian countries, stinging nettle has been a healthy spring food choice for generations, and for good reason! Nettles are dense with important minerals that support our tissues and bones– even our brain. Calcium, magnesium, and iron, are all important oral health minerals you gain from eating nettles. These guys are also rich with chlorophylls, which provide potent antioxidant action, as well as being a general anti-inflammatory for your gum health.
And– they’re high in vitamin C. Skip the orange juice, eat stinging nettles! Gently saute with vinegar, oil, and salt, for a nice side. Or steep for an earthy tea!
Get your spice on
After a long winter, herbs create new growth in the spring– the tender, tasty growth that makes the perfect addition to all your soups and salad dressings. We often think of herbs as just flavoring, but they actually come with a lot of healthy benefits too!
Here’s a few seasonal herbs you can pick up at your local market:
- Oregano. High in vitamin K, which may reduce or prevent tooth decay according to some studies.
- Rosemary. This fragrant herb has anti-inflammatory compounds and improves circulation.
- Sage. This herb is tremendously rich in vitamin K– twice that of oregano!
- Parsley. This one is off the charts– high in vitamin K, C, A, folate and iron, parsley is no mere palate cleanser.
What’s your favorite local produce?
Share your recipes with us at your next appointment with your Vancouver WA dentist.