A Word From Dr. Stern:
2012 was transformative for me. In that year, I lost close to 30 pounds as I began eating healthy and resumed the exercise regimen that served me so well for decades. In that time, my previously chronic allergies, sinus problems, and colds have not happened! Diet, exercise, and good oral health are where is all begins. It is my mission to help you get healthy and stay healthy. With that in mind, please enjoy our tips on the healthiest fruits and vegetables of the season… and remember to brush and floss, of course!
You’ve heard before that you are what you eat. What you might not know is that your teeth especially are what you eat. Sugary drinks and candy will make teeth weak and cavity-prone, while fruits and veggies contribute to stronger, healthier pearly whites.
Fortunately, fall’s bounty offers plenty of delicious options that benefit your overall health — like lowering your risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, kidney stones, infections and more. Plus, your teeth and gums will thank you.
To maximize your oral health, keep your kitchen stocked with crunchy fruits and raw vegetables, which help clean plaque from your mouth — good options this time of year include apples and celery. These high-in-water foods keep the saliva flowing, important because it clears away lingering food particles and fights off the acids that threaten to wreak havoc on your smile. You still have to brush and floss, of course, but these foods will do some work keeping your mouth clean in the meantime.
When you’re shopping around, farmers markets are always a great place to find what’s local. Buying fresh, in-season produce is the best option, as this is when it’s at its peak flavor and nutritional content. What else is tasty in our area this time of year? Try:
- Fiber, which helps lower cholesterol
- Potassium, which helps maintain healthy nervous system and blood pressure
- Calcium and vitamin K, both of which support bone health
Brussels sprouts for:
- High fiber (just one packs 15% of our RDA)
- DNA health and stability
- A compound called isothiocyanate sulforaphane, which supports cardiovascular functions
- Sinigrin, a glucosinate that has been found in studies to help prevent prostate cancer, colon cancer and bladder cancer
- Antioxidants that get rid of free radicals in the body
- High vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system
- Cancer prevention, especially prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer and bladder cancer
- Energy, thanks to its high levels of vitamin B
- Allicin, which has been found to reduce the occurrence of stroke and heart disease
- Rehydration and toxin elimination—cucumbers are 95% water
- Bacteria-killing phytochemicals that vanquish bad breath
- Silica, which helps promotes joint health by strengthening the connective tissues
- Increased levels of nitric oxide in the blood, which prevents blood clots and lowers your risk of heart attacks
- Resveratrol, an antioxidant with immense anti-inflammatory properties that helps prevent cancer, slows the aging process, staves off Alzheimer’s disease and more
- Flavonoids that can reduce the chances of developing cataracts and lower your risk of macular degeneration by more than 30%
- Mega antioxidants like carotenoids and flavonoids, vitamin C, vitamin A and manganese, all of which protect our cells from free radicals
- Weight loss—one cup has just 36 calories, zero grams of fat and 20% of the RDA of dietary fiber
- Vitamin K (1327% of the RDA in one cup), which is necessary for the synthesis of osteocalcin, a protein that strengthens the composition of our bones
- Help with insomnia—the white fluid that you see when you break or cut lettuce leaves is called lactucarium and has sleep-inducing properties similar to opium but without the strong side effects
- Clearer thinking, clearer skin, increased energy, thanks to minerals that remove toxins and keep your acid/alkaline balance in order
- Vitamin C and beta-carotene, which work together to lower cholesterol
- Antioxidants like vitamin C and copper, which serve to bolster your immune system and fight disease
- 20 to 25% of the RDA of fiber
- Folate, the natural form of folic acid that’s essential for a healthy pregnancy
- Calcium and potassium, essential minerals for healthy bone growth and the prevention of osteoporosis
- Omega-3 fatty acids, which are proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, arthritis and other disease that may be the result of chronic inflammation
- A metabolism kickstart, thanks to their high fiber, nutrient-dense make-up
Having trouble remembering to eat all your servings of fruits and veggies? Keep cut-up, ready-to-eat pieces in a clear container in your fridge; eat at least one salad a day; and substitute traditional desserts with fruit-based ones.
The result? A healthier body and a healthier mouth. Now that’s something to smile about.