From Farm to Smile: Seasonal Favorites

45250139_b4153c9936At your Tigard dental office, spring is our favorite season. Yes, it’s true that all Oregonians say that, but dentists in the Portland metro area have another reason to be excited about spring: farmers markets.

Farmers markets aren’t just about supporting the local economy, they’re also one of the best sources of fresh, healthy, seasonal food– the kind of food that feeds your smile. Diet is just as important as daily hygiene when it comes to oral care; the food we eat provides vitamins and minerals that our mouths need to support oral tissues and keep teeth and bones strong.

Fresh-picked food is the ultimate way of acquiring these critical nutrients for your smile: and here are some great seasonal favorites to look for!

Great greens

With cool nights, plenty of rain, and a bit of new sun poking through, greens are growing as fast as Portlanders can eat them. Lettuce is a surprisingly great food for dental health; in addition to fiber, romaine lettuce packs potassium, vitamins B1, B6, and B2, vitamin C, iron, calcium, and magnesium– all critical for gum and tooth health.

In addition, the high water content of lettuce stimulates salivation, one of the key factors in a healthy mouth. Saliva cleans the mouth, fights bacteria, and carries the materials necessary for remineralization of damaged enamel. Plus, with a nice vinaigrette, a simple salad is delicious.

The heartier stuff

Want greens that pack a bigger punch than lettuce? Throw some chard or kale into your salad. Chard is in season right now– this dynamic vegetable thrives in cooler weather, but likes the sun too. For those with kids, chard comes in a rainbow of colors (there is actually a variety called rainbow chard), making it an attractive addition to a saute or stir fry, or sprinkled raw into a salad. Swiss chard is a great source of Vitamins K, A, C, E, B2, and B6– plus iron and calcium!

We’ve highlighted the almost magical properties of kale in previous posts, but it’s worth another plug for this amazing vegetable: Kale actually contains the omega-3 fatty acids fresh fish is famous for, plus B vitamins, iron, and protein!

Oregon specialties

Nothing says Oregon like crispy fiddleheads gently sauteed and lightly salted, served with locally grown salad greens or fresh salmon. Fiddle heads– the uncurled new folliage of the fiddlehead fern– are only in season for a few weeks in the spring, but they are worth the wait. This wild delicacy also boasts a host of healthy nutrients– including omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, and magnesium!

Our other Oregon favorites are morel mushrooms. With their distinctive honey-comb appearance and nutty flavor, morels also contain vitamin D, B, and iron. And they’re fun to eat!

Keep an eye out for these great foods

And tell us your own favorites at your next appointment with Dr. Williams at your favorite Tigard dental office. We love to support our patients’ dental health in every way– and indulging in favorite seasonal foods is certainly a fun one!

Photo Credit: bartmaguire via Compfight cc

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