September is another month to focus on the importance of including more fruits and vegetables into our diet, and we’re on board with that. Consuming fruits and vegetables will help your overall health and your oral and vision health. And that is what we like to see – bright eyes and healthy smiles.
We all need more fruits and veggies in our life, and we’ve got a good resource to help you with that. The Fruits & Vegetables–More Matters health initiative has a mission to help Americans increase the amount of fruits and vegetables they consume.
The nutrients in fruits and vegetables will do wonders for your health, and we’d like to talk about a few that are especially good for your oral and vision health. In the summer, we recommended the seasonal picks of strawberries, apples and watermelons, so we’ve got them covered. Now here’s a few more fruits and vegetables to add to your menu:
Celery – A good source for vitamins A and C. Vitamin A protects the surface of your eye (the cornea). Vitamin C, evidence suggests, lowers the risk of cataracts. Added bonus of celery – it works as a natural toothbrush! When you bite down on celery, its texture scrubs the surface of your teeth, brushing away food particles and plaque.
Leafy greens – Spinach, kale and other leafy greens contain calcium, important for healthy bones and teeth. Calcium helps strengthen your enamel. Leafy greens also contain lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants can reduce the risk of some eye diseases like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Other fruits and veggies with this powerful duo – broccoli, peas and avocados.
Carrots – Carrots have vitamin A which is instrumental to vision health. This vitamin also keeps the mucous membranes in your mouth healthy. Carrots are so crunchy, they will increase saliva production and reduce the risk of cavities. Spinach and mangoes are other good sources of vitamin A.
Citrus – Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits are packed with vitamin C. Vitamin C supports vision health in many ways like slowing the progression of AMD and supporting blood vessels in the eye. It can also reduce inflammation and fight infections, like gum disease. Some citrus and other fruits have high acidic content which is bad for your enamel. It’s recommended to eat cheese with your fruit because it can neutralize the acid. Rinsing with water after eating acidic foods will also help.
Cantaloupe – If you don’t like the acid in citrus fruits, cantaloupe is a great choice for vitamin C. Also, peppers, blackberries and broccoli have this multifunctional vitamin.
Sweet potatoes – They’ve got vitamin C and vitamin E. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and fights inflammation. It also protects cells in the eyes from damage and can fight against cataracts and AMD.
When you eat raw vegetables and fruits, it requires more saliva to break down the food. Saliva keeps the bacteria in your mouth, which can cause cavities, under control. If you eat some raw veggies after a meal, the activated extra saliva can also wash away any remaining food particles and help prevent cavities.
Many ways, many reasons
Whether you eat them raw or cooked, dried or canned, consuming more fruits and vegetables will make you smile for many reasons. You’ll have more energy, a stronger immune system and healthy eyes and teeth. With the many options listed above, find opportunities to include these healthy choices into your routine meals.