The sun is out, temperature is warm, time to host that family barbeque! Summer always brings fun, food and fun times outdoors. It also brings the temptation to eat foods that aren’t really good for you. Nobody says you can’t have your ice cream, just in moderation. Summer time also brings in a harvest of WONDERFUL fresh foods. The best crop of tomatoes, squash, melons, berries and a world of the healthiest, tastiest foods await you in this exciting season. What we eat does affect our dental health. Don’t miss the opportunity to eat these yummy foods in their prime, especially the ones that help and nourish your teeth and gums, boosting your oral health and your overall health.
Tasty Fresh Fruits Summer Style
One point that may not always cross your mind: the foods you eat can directly affect the health of your teeth. We may love our ice cream cone, but that doesn’t mean our teeth do. Sticky treats and treats with lots of sugar can cause tooth decay and damage to our teeth and gums. There are plenty of tasty summer fruits you can try to satisfy your “sweet tooth” the healthy way and the oral health benefits are endless. Dessert doesn’t have to give way to tooth decay or gum disease!
- Peaches – A popular summer fruit that brings a natural sweetness to any meal of snack. Peaches contain vitamin C and fluoride, making them a healthy choice.
- Strawberries – Strawberries make their debut in the spring and continue throughout the summer. They contain high amounts of vitamin C, collagen, fluoride and calcium, always making them a smart food choice.
- Blueberries – Always a crowd favorite, blueberries are full of rich vitamins containing
- vitamin K1, vitamin C, manganese, and they also boost a high water and high fiber content.
- Apples – Apples are usually a fall harvest fruit, but several varieties come in during summer. Apples have a high water content which helps to increase saliva production, washing away from your teeth the natural sugar they contain.
- Watermelon – Some people anxiously await summer JUST to have watermelon! It is a great fruit with vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and it boosts the highest water content of fruit, contains fiber and has the lowest sugar count of most fruits.
- Cantaloupe – It isn’t summer with fresh cantaloupe. This popular melon is quite good for you giving you beta-carotene, vitamin C, folate, water and fiber.
- Honeydew Melon – Honeydew always brings more sweetness to summer and is packed with good stuff such as vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin B6.
- Tomatoes – Often characterized as a vegetable, this summer fruit is found on every table this time of year, no matter what category you lump it into. Tomatoes are a healthy MUST HAVE packed with lycopene, vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K.
These are just a few food varieties of the ripe, fresh fruit you can find this summer. Keep in mind, a lot of these fruits have a high acidic level to them, which could potentially cause harm to tooth enamel. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat them. Just pair your fruit salad with a tall glass of water to help wash away the acid. You can also pair your fruit with a food that doesn’t contain any acid to help neutralize the acid effects. Nuts like almonds would work well in this case. You could always finish off your fruit dessert with an apple. Apples have a high water content and help in the aid of producing saliva, which can help wash away food residue and bacteria. Don’t have apples to help but wish you could brush your teeth at your summertime barbeque? Have a serving bowl handy with some sugar free chewing gum so you and your guests can help keep your dental health in focus and not spend all day with food stuck in your teeth when your toothbrush isn’t handy.
We covered our sweet fruity treats but let’s not overlook some of the wonderful summertime vegetables that come our way and across our tables this glorious time of year.
Tasty Fresh Summer Vegetables
Butter Lettuce – Butter lettuce is a common favorite among the leafy greens of varieties that come to us in summertime. This lettuce is a good source of vitamin A and your mouth will see the benefits because it is known to produce enamel for your teeth. It also contains calcium, vitamin C and iron. A summer salad with fresh lettuce, vegetables or fruit is always a welcome meal!
- Summer Squash – Whether you are grilling, roasting, baking or frying, you can’t go wrong with summer squash. This variety of squash is high in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, and manganese, just to name a few.
- Corn – Nothing like seeing tall, green, lush corn fields in the summer. Corn gives you vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E and is high in fiber. Whether you eat it right off the cob or put it in your salads or casseroles, it’s not summer without fresh corn!
- Potatoes – There is NO picnic without potato salad! Potatoes come high in niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, and phosphorus. However you cook them, potatoes are always a welcome side dish wherever you go!
- Zucchini – Classified as a vegetable but known botanically as a fruit, zucchini has many fans because of its versatility and good taste. It boasts vitamin A, manganese, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium to name a few. Another tasty version of squash, the possibilities with this vegetable are endless and always yummy.
- Green Beans – A popular side dish with most families, green beans are high in fiber and contain vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K and manganese.
Healthy Foods Means Good Oral Health
These healthy summer foods are a great way to encourage you and your loved ones to eat healthy and improve your oral health. Your teeth will thank you! All these summer crops produce wonderful, healthy meals. Go ahead and grill that burger you love but try pairing it with a salad or a fresh corn salsa. Healthy eating is all about balance.
So many of these fruits and vegetables pair well together when planning your next meal. It’s easy to cut and chop your favorite fruits and throw them into an easy fruit salad. Fresh raw vegetables pair well with your favorite dip or hummus. Still want some new ideas to spice up your summer meal planning with these delicious summer foods?
Use What You Already Have To Make Something New
Take your favorite oil and vinegar salad dressing and make it a multi-purpose solution. Oil and vinegar dressings make wonderful marinades for chicken, beef or fish. Grilling summer vegetables like squash and zucchini go well when paired with your favorite kind of peppers and onions. Marinate your favorite meat AND your favorite summer vegetables in your favorite oil and vinegar dressing and throw them on the grill. The flame and heat brings out a sweetness in your veggies that you will love. Don’t have a grill? No problem, cook them on your stovetop grill pan or roast them in the oven for the same desired result. Pair your grilled meat and veggies with a fresh fruit salad of your choosing and you have a healthy, delicious summer meal full of your favorite foods. It makes your mouth happy and your body healthy. These foods make you wish summer could last forever. Healthy, happy eating and happy summertime everyone!!
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