Holiday Nutrition for Reno Smiles

Holidays are cause for celebration, spending time with friends and family, and decadent feasts. Many people have concerns regarding the traditional dishes served during the holidays. Here, we’ve addressed some common questions about a few favorites.

Q: What are the nutritional benefits of pumpkin?

A: Pumpkins are low in calories and fat, and loaded with healthy antioxidants and vitamin-A (or beta-carotene), vitamin-C, and vitamin-E. Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of dietary fiber, protein, and good fats that benefit heart health. These tasty seeds are also great source of iron, niacin, selenium, and zinc.

Q: Isn’t stuffing unhealthy?

A: It most certainly can be! Depending on how it’s prepared, stuffing can be loaded with butter, sausage, and covered in gravy. Try adding nuts, carrots, apples, celery, rice, and swapping butter for a low-sodium broth to gain vitamins, minerals, and fiber. With a few simple substitutions, you’ll spare the table from added fats and calories, and add healthy vitamins and minerals.

Q: Will wine hurt my teeth?

A: Scientists have discovered the high acidity level in wines can cause erosion to tooth enamel and temporarily soften enamel, making it prone to soaking up stains. Red wine is acidic and dark, so it stains teeth. White wine is acidic, but has no dark pigment – so you might think that white wine is a better choice. Actually, any dark foods or beverages you consume after drinking white wine can stain your teeth. However, if you’re going to drink wine with dinner, consider that, red wine contains heart-healthy antioxidants, as well as chemicals that can ward off tooth decay by stopping harmful bacteria from sticking to teeth. To reduce the potential for teeth staining, eat cheese before drinking wine. Oils in the cheese provide a protective coating that reduces potential for staining. If your teeth are tarnished, learn about teeth whitening here.

Q: Why does turkey make me tired?

A: An amino acid (the building blocks for protein) called tryptophan has long been blamed for the drowsy feeling we get after eating turkey on holidays. Tryptophan is found in many foods, such as chicken, beef, and cheddar cheese. All contain about the same amount of tryptophan as turkey. So what causes the drowsy feeling after eating turkey? Experts say the blame should be placed on the high caloric intake during holidays – the average Thanksgiving meal contains 3,000 calories and 229 grams of fat! Digesting such a large feast requires a lot of energy and blood flow to be sent to the digestive tract, leaving you feeling sleepy.

Drs. Wager and Evans are interested in your overall health and quality of life. If you have nutrition questions, feel free to ask the doctor at your next appointment, or leave your questions on our Facebook page. Call 775-829-7700 today to schedule your visit in our Reno dentist office.