Top 5 winter foods
SUMMARY: Looking for some healthy food choices in the dead of winter? Discover them here.
Posted: December 25, 2013
As we battle through the thick of winter, it can be tempting to let our diets hit the back burners. Sure, walking to the grocery store becomes more a chore when there's a foot of snow on the ground, but once you get your hands on these top five winter foods, you'll be happy you did.
Besides, it's important to remember that overall and oral health are interconnected. In other words, a healthy mouth is the gateway to a healthy body. If you want to keep your smile as white as the snow, don't skip the produce aisle just because it's winter.
1. Pomegranate: It's no coincidence that the pomegranate is known as the "jewel of winter." This round, seedy fruit packs a wealth of antioxidants that protect the immune system while fighting off free radicals, disease-causing components - perfect during the winter time as sicknesses rise to a yearly high. In a study conducted by the Out Patient Department of Bapuji Dental College and Hospital, researchers tested the impact of sugar-free pomegranate juice on teeth. Results showed that the juice reduced the amount of dental plaque bacteria. Whether you can get your hands on the fruit or the juice, both are a mouthful of healthiness.
2. Cheese: Similar to milk, cheese provides a solid dose of calcium and vitamin C. For your pearly whites, cheeses such as cheddar, feta and gouda help neutralize the acids that wear down tooth enamel, keeping away harmful dental plaque and cavity-causing bacteria.
"What I think is exciting about this is it shows that cheese - particularly as a snack - can reduce the acids that will cause cavities and gum disease," president of the Academy of General Dentistry Dr. Jeffrey M. Cole told CBSNews.com
3. Fish: During the winter, most of us are deficient in vitamin D, which is produced by the body when it is exposed to sunlight. However, one good way to compensate is by eating fish. Salmon, halibut and tuna are all good sources of vitamin D. On top of that, Harvard scientists have connected the omega-3 fatty acids in fish with lower rates of gum disease. They theorize that the omega-3 fats diminish the inflammation that occurs when bacteria irritates the gums.
4. Citrus: When feeling sick, many people try to devour oranges and citrus drinks. This is because the bright-colored fruits are loaded with vitamin C. As a matter of fact, one medium orange offers more than 100 percent of your daily dose. Lemons, limes and grapefruit all good options as well. According to Eating Well magazine, citrus fruits all deliver their fair share of flavonoids, sure to add some sunshine to your day. As a disclaimer, however, avoid eating citrus foods within 30 minutes after brushing your teeth, as the high acidity can wear down dental enamel.
5. Dark leafy greens: Even when the rest of the produce aisle looks glum, dark leafy greens, including broccoli, spinach and kale thrive. Broccoli is an excellent source of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Like many greens, spinach is rich in vitamin A, which plays a role in building strong bones and teeth. Though slightly bitter, kale contains a large amount of folic acid and potassium, helping to prevent soreness in muscles after a winter work out. In fact, frost can even take away the bitterness of kale.
Brussels sprouts are another top-notch winter vegetables. They are high in vitamin C, fiber and may even reduce the risk for cancer. To optimize the healthy benefits of these greens, steam them to boost your digestive tract.