If there’s one thing your Lakewood dentist loves, it’s Colorado in the spring. For health professionals, spring means more than just fresh flowers and the return of migrating birds– it means new, delicious vegetables to integrate into our patients’ healthy diets.
There are many elements to keeping your mouth healthy. Daily oral hygiene and regular visits to our office are certainly at the top of the list– and so is nutrition. Vegetables’ high doses of vitamins and minerals make them the most valuable food for oral health out there. This spring, branch out and try a new local Lakewood vegetable, or chow down on an old favorite!
Here’s a list of tooth-healthy vegetables you can find growing near you.
This flowering perennial has been eaten for millennia; Egyptian hieroglyphs feature asparagus and the Romans highlighted the vegetable as a special feature in their festival to Epicurus. A friendly vegetable, asparagus is one of the first to greet us in the spring season, often showing up when snow is still on the ground.
Asparagus’ young shoots are rich in vitamins and minerals important for tooth and gum health: Vitamin B, C, and E, and the minerals calcium, magnesium, zinc, folic acid, iron, phosphorus, and potassium– just to list a few of its many attributes!
Also called the “broad bean,” fava beans are eaten all over the world. Many farmers use the beans as a cover crop to keep soil from eroding and to fix nitrogen back in their soil. This is convenient, because after working as a cover crop over the winter, favas are ready to eat in the spring!
Like other beans, the fava is rich in dietary fiber and protein. They are also a good source of folates, vitamin B6, thiamine, and the minerals iron, copper, manganese, calcium, and magnesium.
Green garlic– May and June
Green garlic is really just very young garlic; it used to be pulled early by growers thinning their crops, but due to high demand is being grown on its own. Young garlic contains the flavors of its older relatives, but much more delicately. These greens are delectable in stir fries or light sautes.
A pungent herb, garlic is rich in Vitamin B, C, and manganese. It is also reputed to have antibiotic properties– it was used as an antiseptic in both world wars to prevent gangrene.
Also an herb, and a vigorously growing one at that, mint returns in the spring with its calm and refreshing scent. Mint can be added to many dishes (and toothpastes), but your Lakewood dentist suggests mint tea as a great oral health booster.
Mint tea contains phyto-nutrients and soothes both stomach and nerves. Drinking it as a tea washes the mouth, increases salivary production, freshens breath, and reduces stress.
After a winter of frozen peas, we’re all looking forward to the fresh variety– but their greens are often overlooked as a vegetable! Pea greens can be clipped and put into salads or lightly stir fried, and they’re available as soon as the plants are big enough– no need to wait for peas to start eating! These simple vegetables are also an easy way to involve kids in gardening and healthy eating.
Pea greens are high in vitamin A, folic acid, and carotenoids.
We love to hear from you!
Do you have a favorite spring vegetable recipe? Please share it with us at your next appointment with your Lakewood dentist.