Our dental and oral health is important to us, that’s why it’s important to take care of your mouth and teeth as you would the rest of your body. For many of us, we maintain our regular dental appointments, brush two to three times daily, and even floss now and then. However; we often neglect to realize that our oral and dental health begins with what we put in our bodies.
Doctors recommend that for good dental health, it’s important to eat a variety of foods; ensuring to avoid those containing sugars and starches. Foods with higher sugars and starches produce more acids in the mouth, and the longer they stay in the mouth, the more they damage the teeth. In addition to eating properly, it’s important to ensure we are providing our gums and teeth with the proper nutrients; this can be achieved with good, clean supplements.
Here is a list of natural ingredients and supplements to support your overall dental and oral health:
- Coenzyme Q10 promotes gum healing and cell growth.
- Lysine combats canker sores
- Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids promotes healing, especially of bleeding gums.
- Calcium and Magnesium help prevent bone loss around the gums.
- Vitamins A and E are needed for healing gum tissue.
- Grape Seed Extract is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
- Zinc plus Copper enhances immune function.
- Aloe Vera Gel eases inflamed gums and soothes the tissues when applied directly to the affected area.
- Chamomile Tea is soothing to gum tissues.
- Green Tea is helpful in decay prevention and decreases plaque
- Clove Oil is good for temporary relief of tooth and gum pain.
- Echinacea keeps inflammation down and enhances immune function.
Are all supplements safe and effective?
Sadly, not all supplements are safe and effective. Therefore, be knowledgeable when choosing supplements as many on the market contain contaminants, extra additives (like sugar), and may not contain the actual nutritional content that the label claims. Manufacturers are not required to test their products for safety and effectiveness. According to WebMD, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does regulate dietary supplements; however, it treats them like foods rather than medications. Unlike drug manufacturers, the makers of supplements don’t have to show their products are safe or effective before selling them on the market. That is why it is important to do your research and only take good, clean supplements that are backed by scientific proof. Any reputable company will conduct regular testing on their products to ensure the efficacy and safety of its products. If you are unsure where to start, check out the products my friends and family use and see for yourself.
The heart is one of our most important organs in our entire body. It is really nothing more than a pump composed of muscle. This pump circulates blood throughout the body, beating approximately 72 times per minute. The heart pumps the blood, which carries all the vital materials that help our bodies function and remove waste products. Simply put, without our heart, we would cease to exist; therefore it’s vital that we take care of our heart, and that begins with what we eat. Following are some great heart-healthy shopping tips from the American Heart Association, as well as, a couple fantastic heart friendly recipes your taste buds will delight in.
HEART HEALTHY SHOPPING:
Fruits and Vegetables
*BUY AND EAT A WIDE VARIETY OF FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES!
*Aim for items that are good sources of fiber (i.e. beans, peas, oranges, bananas, strawberries and apples)
*Raw vegetables make great on-the-go snacks; like carrot and celery sticks, broccoli, cherry tomatoes and cauliflower.
*Avoid fruit juice as it is packed with added sugars and provides little to no fiber versus fresh fruit. Plus, it’s not as good at satisfying hunger.
Milk, Cheese, Butter and Eggs
*Select fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk and cheeses
*Avoid milk that contains added sugars or flavorings; such as vanilla, chocolate or strawberry
*Use egg whites or egg substitutes whenever possible as the egg yolks are high in cholesterol
*Choose soft margarines that contain “0 grams trans fat”
*Save the butter, cream and ice cream for special occasions and, even then, in moderation. These foods are packed with saturated fats
Meat, Fish and Chicken
*You should eat one serving of grilled or baked fish at least twice a week; best fish to purchase are salmon, trout and herring.
*Choose lemon juice and spices to marinade or spice, avoid cream sauces
*Avoid fried foods as they are usually high in trans-fat
*When purchasing red meat or pork, look for the cuts containing less fat; often these are labeled “loin” and “round,” Additionally, buy “choice” or “select” grades of beef rather than “prime,” and be sure to trim off the fat before cooking.
*When buying or eating poultry, choose the leaner light meat (breasts) rather than the fattier dark meat (legs and thighs)
*Avoid eating too much red meat and opt for great substitutes (such as dried beans, peas, lentils or tofu. A one-cup serving of cooked beans, peas, lentils or tofu can replace a two-ounce serving of meat, poultry or fish
“Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it.”
-Heather Morgan, MS, NLC
Rosemary-Peach Chicken Kebabs with Orange Glaze
From: Heart Health Cookbook
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 16 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 large ripe but firm peaches, cut into 16 1-inch wedges
1 large green bell pepper, cut into 16 1 1/2-inch squares
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. grated orange zest
3 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
3 Tbsp. chopped, fresh rosemary
1 1/2 tsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
- Lightly spray the grill rack with cooking spray. Preheat the grill on medium.
- Meanwhile, thread the chicken, peaches, and bell pepper alternately onto four 14- to 16-inch metal skewers. Sprinkle the pepper and salt over the kebabs.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the glaze ingredients. Set aside half the glaze (about 2 tablespoons). Brush both sides of the kebabs with the remaining glaze.
- Grill the kebabs for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center and the vegetables are almost tender, turning once halfway through and brushing with the reserved 2 tablespoons of glaze, using a clean basting brush. Reduce the heat or move the kebabs to a cooler area of the grill if they are cooking too fast.
Quinoa and Asian Pear Salad
From: Heart Health Cookbook
1 cup uncooked quinoa
4 oz. snow peas
1 large Asian pear, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 medium green onion
1 tsp. sesame seeds
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
- Prepare the quinoa using the package directions, omitting the salt. Transfer to a medium bowl. Fluff with a fork. Let cool.
- Meanwhile, fill a small saucepan halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook the snow peas for about 45 seconds, or until bright green and tender-crisp. Drain in a colander. Plunge into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain well in a colander. Cut the snow peas into 1/2-inch pieces.
- Stir the snow peas, pear, bell pepper, pecans, green onion, and sesame seeds into the quinoa.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Stir into the quinoa mixture, tossing gently to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes so the flavors blend. Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to serve chilled.