It'll be cheesy grins all round with these superfoods for smiles
In part two of our series on great foods for dental health, we're looking at two of the best sources of calcium around1. Milk and cheese are filled with the stuff, which plays a vital role in the building of enamel. Enamel is what the top layer of the teeth is made from, and what keeps them strong. In fact, calcium is pretty important for our health in general, encouraging healthy blood clotting, the transmission of nerve impulses and a strong, regular heartbeat2.
So, we know dairy is a great way of consuming calcium, but how can we do so without binging on stodgy pizzas and milk-based puddings? We may get some peace of mind from having dental insurance, but prevention is always better than cure. With that in mind, there are plenty of ways we can ensure we're getting the right foods into our diet to encourage strong and healthy teeth.
Cheese: The health food underdog
Cheese has gotten a fair amount of bad press over the years, with no small thanks to the fact that it's a staple topping for the likes of pizzas and, beef burgers, not to mention a popular filling for pasties and pies. However, when eaten in the right way, cheese is actually full of essential nutrients and, of course, calcium; so it shouldn't be avoided altogether. Below is some inspiration to help you to get cheese into your diet without opting for calorie-laden treats:
- Greek salad with feta: A Greek salad is a fresh and healthy dish that incorporates one of the lowest-calorie, highest-calcium cheeses: feta. The combination of sweet tomatoes, salty olives, fragrant oregano and crumbly feta is a match made in heaven. This BBC recipe is simple and authentic.
- Mozzarella and tomato salad: This Italian classic is perfect served as a starter, side or even as a light lunch. Mozzarella has a high calcium content and, together with tomatoes, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, creates a nutritious and tasty dish. Finish with fresh basil leaves to create a truly Italian flavour combo. Check out Delia Smith's recipe - although this one practically writes itself.
- Chargrilled veg kebabs with halloumi: Halloumi cheese is high in calcium and protein, and is easy to cook with too due to the fact that it has a very high melting point. Skewering amongst peppers, onions and mushrooms creates a delicious flavour combination in Jamie Oliver's version of the humble veggie kebab.
Milk: More than just a drink
Of course it's common knowledge that drinking milk is a great way to up our calcium intake. However, asides from the occasional splash in our cuppas, how can we make sure we're getting it into our daily diets? Here are some tips on doing so:
- Make your own yogurt: Making your own yogurt is a fantastic way to use up leftover milk, or simply make it more enticing to consume. To make one litre you'll need just under two pints of whole milk, some powdered milk, a jar and not much else. The process of fermentation is simple - but make sure you have a good six or so hours set aside for it. This recipe in the Telegraph will tell you everything you need to know.
- Make a quiche: One of the main ingredients in quiche is milk so, even though it's a little decadent, making your own is a great way of getting more calcium into your diet (they usually contain cheese too). This article in The Kitchn tells us how to get the egg to milk ratio just right for the perfect result.
Everything in moderation
As with everything we consume, dairy foods should be eaten as part of a balanced diet. It's great to incorporate milk and cheese into our daily food intake in order to improve our dental health, but don't forget these foods can be high in fat depending on the type you choose. For more information on the recommended daily intake of fats and other nutritional values, visit the NHS website.
It really is as simple as that. With a little imagination we can make sure we're getting enough calcium and, in turn, perfecting our super-cheesy grins.