Can you guess what the most popular New Year’s resolution is? If you said weightloss, you’re correct! Whether it’s 5 or 50 pounds, most of us want to shed a little weight and get healthy in the new year. There are dozens of diet options available to help you along your journey to health, but nothing works as well as making good food choices, portion control and regular exercise.
Working towards weight loss benefits more than just your waistline. Your oral health will benefit from your better choices too. Here are some simple tips, from the experts at MouthHealthy.com, that can help you see a difference both on the scale and in your smile.
Previously, you may not have given too much thought to what you were putting on your plate. You may have chosen fatty foods and eaten out often. But when you’re working on getting healthy, your focus should shift to consuming lean protein, vegetables, grains and dairy. Food is fuel for your body, and the right fuel will help your body function efficiently and effectively.
Next time you’re preparing your plate, consider these guidelines:
- Fruits and vegetables should cover half your plate at meals. Both are high in water and fiber, balancing out the sugars they also contain as well as helping to clean your teeth. They also help stimulate saliva production, washing away harmful acids and food particles.
- At least half of the grains you eat should be whole grains or low-sugar breads and cereals. Examples include oatmeal, whole wheat bread and brown rice.
- Choose lean protein, like lean beef, skinless poultry and fish. Other good protein choices include eggs, beans, peas and legumes. In addition to providing valuable protein, but they are also rich in phosphorus which helps to keep your mouth healthy.
- Dairy choices should include low-fat or fat-free dairy foods, such as milk, cheese and yogurt. They contain protein and loads of calcium, which are good for healthy teeth and gums.
Maybe you’re one of the millions of people who have developed a soda habit. Not only does soda sabotage your weight loss plans, it’s also bad news for your oral health. Next time you find yourself reaching for a sugary beverage, considering swapping it out for water instead. A 20-ounce regular soda has about 227 calories, so skipping it is an easy way to cut calories. But even worse than the calories is the amount of added sugar. A regular can of soda contains about 12.5 teaspoons of added sugar, which is the same amount of added sugar the FDA recommends people to consume in a whole day.
Water is clearly the better choice. It contains zero calories, no sugars and it helps keep cavities at bay. And as an added bonus, it’s fluoridated, even further protecting your smile.
Smarter Sweet Tooth
Many Americans have grown accustomed to having something sweet after a meal. Where you might have grabbed a cookie or a piece of candy before, now that you’re watching your weight a piece of sugar-free gum is the best choice. Studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating can reduce your risk of cavities. Coincidentally, it takes about 20 minutes after a meal for your body to determine if it’s really still hungry. Chances are, after having your gum, you won’t be tempted to eat that sweet treat.
Instead of reaching for that sugary sports drink while working out, enjoy a sports bottle filled with tap water. Staying hydrated during exercise is crucial, but sports drinks often add extra calories and contain a lot of added sugar. Water is definitely the best drink choice for your body and teeth. And tap water adds an additional benefit of fluoride which can actually help rebuild weak spots on your teeth’s enamel.
Instead of reaching for prepackaged processed foods, choose a healthy snack. Grabbing chips, crackers, or whatever is around is an easy way to lose track of your calorie consumption. And constant snacking gives cavity-causing bacteria more opportunity to cause havoc. Try to limit your snacking altogether, and when you need something to eat, make a nutritious choice of cheese, yogurt, fruits, vegetables or nuts.