Thanksgiving Day is right around the corner. For most Americans, this means a fun-filled day spent with family and friends indulging in the season’s favorite foods. At the end of which, you may find yourself wishing you were wearing loose fitting pants. According to the Calorie Control Council, the average person consumes over 4,500 calories during the Thanksgiving holiday. That’s nearly double the recommended daily calorie intake.
But what does it all mean for your oral health? Many popular holiday foods can be directly linked to having negative effects on oral health. A steady diet of these same foods often leads to oral cancer. Traditional holiday meals such as grilled red meats, smoked meats, and canned foods are on the top of the list of negative contributors.
Luckily, there is also a variety of healthy, mouth-watering alternatives that can assist in the prevention of oral cancers, all while keeping your taste buds satisfied.
Take advantage of the list of healthy foods provided in this article that may assist in the prevention of oral diseases., These foods make a delicious contribution to your Thanksgiving feast.
Foods That Help Prevent Oral Cancer
According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, beans, berries, green tea, soy and tomatoes are ideal healthy goodies that help aid a robust diet while promoting oral health.
- Berries – Berries are an excellent source of Vitamins C and K. They support a healthy immune system. The powerful antioxidants and other nutrients in these fruits help combat cancer. Blackberries, in particular, are rich in antioxidants which reduce the process of cell damage.
- Cruciferous vegetables – According to the National Cancer Institute, vegetables like broccoli, kale and cauliflower are rich in the powerful antioxidant glutathione. These greens are also rich in vitamins C, E, K, and folate . They counteract tumors from forming and stop the migration of tumor cells. A side dish of steamed broccoli or a large plate of seasoned kale would make a terrific healthy meal and an excellent oral cancer preventative to add to your Thanksgiving feast.
- Fresh Herbs and Spices – Scientists have found that fresh herbs and spices-have phytochemicals that help prevent cancer. Turmeric, ginger, ground pepper and rosemary have inherent medicinal traits that reduce and prevent inflammation. These species slow the process of damaged cells and may prevent tumors from developing.
- Leafy Green Vegetables – Eating leafy greens are instrumental in reducing the risk of oral cancer. These vegetables provide probiotics, vitamin D and omega-3’s, all proven to assist the immune system. Make a Spinach Pomegranate Salad for a leafy green Thanksgiving dish.
6 Foods That Promote Oral Cancer
- Alcohol – Alcohol contains acetaldehyde which directly damages the cellular DNA in the human body. Excessively drinking alcohol will increase the effects of damage on the liver while increasing the potential of other cancer-causing chemicals.
- Canned tomatoes – Most canned foods contain an industrial chemical called Bisphenol A (BPA), mostly used to harden industrial plastics. But what makes canned tomatoes exceptionally dangerous are the high acidity levels. They allow the BPA to attach directly to the tomato sauce. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) created a large database of companies and their products to show their use of BPA in canned goods. Consider juicing fresh tomatoes as a healthy alternative to purchasing canned tomatoes.
- Hydrogenated oil – Hydrogenated oils contains two chemicals that can trigger cancer. Foods that contain hydrogenated oils include hot dogs, chips, crackers, cookies, doughnuts and french fries. Healthier alternatives like olive oil, grapeseed oil or coconut oil can reduce the risks of heart disease and oral disease. They taste great, too.
- Processed meats – Processed meats have been linked to triggering oral cancer due to their heavy incursion of preservatives to make them look fresh. When grilling processed meats, carcinogens are released that change the molecular structure of the meat. Most of the carcinogens added in the preservatives are known to be the same chemicals that are in cigarettes. Stick to baking or broiling meat this holiday, as these are healthier substitutes that still tastes great.
- Sugars – View our previous list of sugary and sugar-free items that you should here.
- Bread (White Flour) – Breads contain some cancer-causing chemicals such as potassium bromate, potassium iodate and sometimes both. Potassium bromate helps the bread contain a high rising and a uniform finish, is also very dangerous to human health, and has been proven to trigger cancer when consumed over time. Try substituting white bread for whole grain wheat bread as a healthy Thanksgiving snack.
Contact Our Nashville Office
If you have concerns relating to your oral health, come visit us. Drs. Elan, Vaughan, or Fleming, will analyze your teeth, gums, bite, bone structure and other risk factors for any types of oral diseases. Identifying the key symptoms of oral diseases early is essential to protecting your teeth and gums to maintain a beautiful lasting smile.
From the team at Dentistry of Nashville, have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.