In today’s fast paced world, many of us are not getting enough vitamins simply because we aren’t eating enough vitamin-enriched food. Skipping meals, hectic business travels, takeout dinners while on-the-go – they all add up to a lot of confusion about vitamins and what is considered a healthy diet. It’s also important to remember that certain illnesses like diabetes and eating disorders put a severe strain on the body’s stores of vitamins.
As part of our integrated approach to dentistry, we advocate a healthy diet for teeth and gums and for your overall wellness include key nutrients like calcium, vitamin D and vitamin A. Calcium keeps our teeth healthy and helps our heart, muscles, and nerves function properly. Milk and dairy products are among the major sources of calcium. Additional calcium rich foods include: sardines, salmon, Soya bean products, such as tofu, as well as sesame seeds, nuts, white bread, dried fruit and green leafy vegetables.
The body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Concentrated food sources of vitamin D include salmon, sardines, shrimp, milk, cod and eggs. Among salmon, wild-caught fish have been shown to average significantly more vitamin D than non-organically farmed fish. By getting the recommended daily intake of calcium and vitamin D, teeth, bones and enamel can be strengthened.
Vitamin A effectively maintains healthy bones and teeth. Dentin, which also requires vitamin A, forms the hard layer of material within our teeth, thereby ensuring their strength. Vitamin A also plays an important role in replacing worn out or old tissue with newer tissue to ensure healthy bones and teeth. Excellent sources of Vitamin A are apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, kale, liver, mangos, red peppers, spinach and sweet potatoes. These vitamins are especially important during pregnancy, early childhood and as we age.
Here is one recipe we recommend to incorporate Vitamin A into your diet. For recipes for vitamin D and calcium, visit these Wellness Blog posts from April 14th and April 1st.
Sweet Potato, Red Onion & Fontina Tart
3/4 cup walnuts
1 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme and/or rosemary
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
7 tablespoons ice-cold water
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red onion
1 cup shredded fontina or Cheddar cheese
1 large egg white mixed with 1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme and/or rosemary
Preheat oven to 425°F.
To prepare crust: Pulse walnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Combine in a large bowl with whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons thyme and/or rosemary, 3/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Make a well in the center and add 1/2 cup oil and water. Gradually stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients to form a soft dough (it will seem wetter than other types of pastry dough). Knead in the bowl just until the dough comes together. Pat it into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 days.
To prepare filling: Combine sweet potatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Spread on three-fourths of a large rimmed baking sheet. Toss onion in the bowl with 1 teaspoon oil. Spread evenly on the remaining one-fourth of the baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Reduce temperature to 375°.
Line a work surface with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat, lightly dust with flour and dust the top of the dough with flour. Roll the dough into a rustic 15-inch circle, adding more flour, if necessary, to prevent sticking. Transfer the crust to a baking sheet with the parchment or baking mat in place.
Leaving a 2-inch border, sprinkle cheese evenly over the crust. Make an overlapping ring of the larger sweet potato slices over the cheese, leaving the 2-inch border. Spread the onion slices in another ring closer to the center. Using the rest of the sweet potato slices, make an overlapping circle in the center of the crust (the pattern will look like a bull’s-eye). Pick up the edges of the crust using a spatula and fold over the filling, making pleats in the dough as necessary (it’s okay if the dough cracks a little as you fold it); the filling will not be completely covered. Brush the crust with the egg-white wash. Drizzle the vegetables with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon thyme and/or rosemary.
Bake the tart until lightly browned on the edges, about 50 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing.