It’s Pumpkin Season!
Everything is flavored with Pumpkin right now, from Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte to Pumpkin Spice Cheerios to Pumpkin Ales. As unhealthy as these products may sound, pumpkin is surprisingly not too bad for you or your teeth. It’s full of vitamins and minerals as well as being low in carbs.
Pumpkin provides more than 100% of what you need each day of Vitamin A, 20% of your Vitamin C intake and 10% or more for Vitamin E, riboflavin, potassium, copper and manganese. It also contains other B Vitamins such as thiamin, B6, folate and niacin, along with iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. Pumpkin seeds are packed with nutrients; especially fiber, along with more than 5g of protein and 16mg of calcium. Here’s how these vitamins and minerals are good for you and how you should consume them:
•Zinc deficiency is associated with poor dental health, weak bones and bleeding gums. Zinc keeps your bones strong. A study that tracked toothpaste usage with 0.5% zinc citrate found participants suffered from less bleeding gums. Other problems associated with zinc deficiency include weakened bones, a loss of hair, and anemia. 1 oz of roasted pumpkin seeds (about 85 seeds) gives you 3 mg of zinc, or about a third of your daily needs.
•Iron, which is found in pumpkin seeds, keeps your tongue healthy.
•Magnesium takes care of your tooth enamel. Magnesium works with calcium to create a hard enamel that resists tooth decay. Calcium alone is less effective in forming a hard enamel. Magnesium is also a key element in bone production, the immune system, and even keeping the heart in rhythm. Only one ounce of pumpkin seeds provides more than a third of your daily magnesium needs.
•Vitamin A promotes healing, which is helpful for damaged gums. And a cup of pumpkin gives you all the Vitamin A you need in a day.
•Vitamin C – 20% of your needed daily allowance is found in 1 cup of pumpkin – fortifies your immune system, which helps stave of infections and inflammation in your mouth.
Pumpkin flavorings and spices don’t give you the health benefits of actual pumpkin, so skip the pumpkin spice latte. Enjoy foods and snacks that use a good dose of pumpkin to enjoy the nutritional benefit for your body and your teeth. There are lots of ways you can incorporate pumpkin into your diet including soups, smoothies and snacks.
Keep following Dr. Bruce Silva to learn more about which foods are actually good for your teeth.