Your teeth enjoy Thanksgiving dinner just as much as you do. The vegetables and protein we enjoy with family and friends benefit our oral and overall health in unique ways you may not realize. Here are a few reasons why some Thanksgiving foods are good for your teeth:
Packed with Protein
Turkey is known for its protein content, but even people who don’t eat meat can enjoy the benefits of protein during Thanksgiving with foods like green beans, peas, and corn.
The body uses protein for strong bones and muscles and healthy skin. It also lowers blood pressure. Our bodies don’t store protein, so it’s important to make sure that we have enough in our daily diet!
Various Vitamins in Vegetables
Side dishes like kale or broccoli are great because of their vitamin content. Dark, leafy green vegetables are rich in vitamins A, C, E and K. They also have high levels of iron, fiber, and potassium. Dark greens also give our bodies folate, a vitamin that promotes heart health.
Orange and yellow vegetables like squash, carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin are packed with vitamin C, beta-carotene, and other nutrients that help our bodies in many ways. They help lower our blood pressure, lower our LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol, boost our immune systems, and promote healthy joints. It doesn’t hurt that they’re foods that are good for your teeth, too!
Chances to Choose Wisely
Thanksgiving might seem like a troublesome holiday for diets and positive food choices. In reality, this is the best holiday to make better choices and keep an eye out for foods that are good for your teeth. On Thanksgiving, trying swapping these traditional items with food for healthier teeth and gums:
- Replace butter with margarine.
- Use fat-free and low-sodium broth options.
- Use fruit and sugar substitutes in place of corn syrup or refined sugar in desserts.
- Choose whole grain pasta.
- Try plain Greek yogurt or fat-free sour cream in mashed potatoes and casseroles.
- Eat breakfast that morning (and every morning) to cut down on over-eating Thanksgiving dinner.
- Select reasonable portions instead of filling plates. You can always go back for more.
- Eat slowly – enjoy the time with family and friends and allow your stomach to digest food before moving on to dessert.
Keep moderate servings in mind and your smile will have something to be thankful for this year!