Kale: Oral Health Superfood!

4148851745_5750f8dd44Around the holidays, there’s a pretty big focus on food, and a lot of that food is less-than-good-for-you: cakes, pies, sugar cookies, candied nuts and yams! The team and Dr. Williams, your favorite Tigard dentist, wants to suggest an alternative: kale.

Wait, wait– keep reading! It’s the best! Honest!

It’s nutritious

The first reason to eat kale? It is a super-hero when it comes to nutrition. A cruciferous vegetable, kale is brimming with vitamins A, C, and K, and essential minerals: potassium (a critical electrolyte), iron, calcium, manganese, copper, and phosphorus. It even has protein– 3 grams in 1 cup.

All these vitamins and minerals are a key ingredient to preventive dental medicine. Without the proper nutrition, you teeth and gums suffer as much as they would if you didn’t brush or visit Dr. Williams! Nutrition is critical when it comes to our oral health because it gives our bodies the raw ingredients they need to make sure our gums and teeth are healthy and strong.

It has health benefit perks

Not only is kale the boss of nutrition in the vegetable world, research is showing it may also impart some important health benefits on its consumers. Does this sound too good to be true? Take a list of these findings by scientists:

  • Researchers have found that an antioxidant in kale, called alpha-lipoic acid, lowers blood glucose levels in diabetic patients.
  • Additionally, alpha-lipoic acid increases insulin activity, prevents oxidative stress, and may reduce peripheral neuropathy in diabetic patients
  • Kale’s high potassium and low sodium content makes it the perfect food for patients suffering from a cardiovascular disease. Researchers find that high potassium and low sodium intake can reduce the risk of stroke, high blood pressure and clogged arteries, while the high fiber, vitamin C, and B6 in kale are also supporters of heart health.
  • Kale (as well as other green vegetables) has the ability to block some carcinogenic activity because they are high in chlorophyll (the plant’s version of mitochondria), thus potentially lowering the risk of cancer in eaters of kale.
  • Kale’s high fiber and water content is a boon to healthy digestion and elimination of food
  • The high vitamin C and A content in kale is ideal for healthy skin, hair, nails, and teeth!

Its delicious

Lets get down to the good part. It’s easy to make kale a delicious part of your diet– let’s talk about how:

  • The salad: kale salad is intimidating to the uninitiated because its leaves are so much thicker and more fibrous than the usual lettuce. We recommend “massaging” the leaves before cutting, taking advantage of all that water they contain to make them softer and more pliable. Add a hearty salad dressing, like tahini (Goddess dressing is to die for!), and some avocado to get that Omega 3 fat content!
  • The ingredient: everyone thinks greens have to be in salads, but really you can stick them in anywhere. Try kale blended in your morning smoothie. Throw blanched kale in with pasta, or substitute spinach or another vegetable with kale.
  • The chip: if you want a treat, why not indulge in one that’s going to help your teeth, your heart, and your skin and hair?? We recommend tossing kale pieces with a little Kosher salt and olive oil, before spreading on a baking sheet and popping into the oven. After 15 minutes, you have delicious, crispy kale chips— maybe not the best source for reduced sodium, but a great way to eat healthy food!

What’s your favorite way to eat kale?

Let us know at your next appointment with Dr. Gregory A Williams, your Tigard dentist.

Photo Credit: Food Thinkers via Compfight cc

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