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Healthy Living Week 3, 7 Great Foods We Should Be Eating and Their Benefits

As all of us with TMD have realized at one point or another that food choices can be limited, especially the healthiest choices because of our limited ability to chew or it wreaking havoc on our muscles/joints.  As part of our healthy living series I thought it would be great to give a list of really healthy foods, their benefits and ways to prep/incorporate them to be TMJ friendly.

1.  Avocado- 

        A good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamins C,K, folate, and 
        B6. These are one of my favorite TMJ friendly foods, and one of the fastest
        to prepare. They are great as a side, mixed with salsa or just alone with         
        some olive oil or salt to taste.

2.  Nuts-

High in the healthy type of plant-based fat, monounsaturated fat,
which could help lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease.
Great  source of protein.

  • Walnuts-excellent source of Vitamin E and a great source of the healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids, which have been found to protect the heart, promote better cognitive function, and provide anti-inflammatory benefits for asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, eczema and psoriasis.
  • Almonds- In Traditional Chinese Medicine, almonds are considered anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic. They are also known as brain and bone food, probably due to their high calcium content.
  • Pecans- excellent source of over 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamins E and A, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, several B vitamins and zinc.

How do we consume more nuts with TMD? Well I like to grind them up in a blender and then add them to smoothies, it adds such a delicious taste (some blenders are powerful enough to actually turn the nuts into flour). I also try to find ways to cook with nuts, chopping them in my food processor and then adding them to any kind of bread I make. I also have made nut crusts for pies.  Pecans can be bitter sometimes in large doses so I add the powder to a stronger tasting smoothie or use it in a bread that I will put a topping on(butter, honest,ect).  You can also soak nuts overnight to blend in smoothies in the morning. Here is one of my favorite recipes:

  • 1 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups water
  • 2 to 3 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1 whole vanilla bean
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey (optional)


3. Green Vegetables

  • Spinach- Neoxanthin and violaxanthin are two anti-inflammatory epoxyxanthophylls that play an important role in regulation of inflammation and are present in unusual amounts in spinach.
  • Romaine Lettuce-Rich in B-vitamins, lots of vitamin C, calcium, rich source of vitamin A, great source of minerals.
  • Kale-High in Omega 3’s which can help act as an anti-inflammatory, great source of Vitamin K, C and A.

There are many other greens but these are my favorite because I feel they take on the flavor of whatever I’m cooking.  I love to add spinach to cream sauces that I put over noodles, I add kale and spinach to smoothies and I love to juice romaine lettuce with apples and kiwi.

3.  Berries-Can we say SUPERFOOD!!

      Just about all berries contain something that is fantastically good for you and  
      can be added to such a variety of dishes. Plus they’re almost always soft
      enough for us with TMJ. They can also be blended quite easily.  All berries go
      great with dark chocolate (another superfood in my book). Dark chocolate
      can easily be melted to drizzle over the berries for an easy TMJ friendly

4. Garlic-

Garlic is a powerful disease fighter that can inhibit the growth of  bacteria, including E. coli. Allicin, a compound found in garlic, works as a potent anti-inflammatory and has been shown to help lower cholesterol and blood-pressure levels.

Garlic is so easy to incorporate in just about any dinner time meal……just chop up a clove or two to throw in soups or roasted chicken. Try to add in the garlic towards the end of cooking though, high heat can kill vital nutrients.

5. Beans-

I love beans because they are so filling and are good for just about every part of your body. If you find that beans cause digestive     distress though, try soaking them overnight(just make a habit of putting beans in water before you go to bed).

  • Black beans-great source of fiber, manganese, vitamin b1, iron  
  • Lentils-very high in iron. These are some of the easiest beans to cook.

I love to soak beans overnight and then add them to soups or make a sidedish with them.  There are literally hundreds of types of beans, so try and branch out and see what you can do.

6. Lemons- 
     Just one lemon has more than 100 percent of your daily intake of vitamin C, which may help increase “good” HDL cholesterol levels and strengthen bones. Citrus flavonoids found in lemons may help inhibit the growth of cancer cells and act as an anti-inflammatory. Start putting lemon juice in your water. Squeeze fresh lemon over fish.

7. Coconuts-

         Highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. You can buy coconut water, or buy young coconut and make a drink yourself, you can cook with coconut oil.  I LOVE to use coconut oil when cooking shrimp then serve it over rice with loads of veggies, it gives it such a different delicious flavor.  Try adding coconut oil to your smoothies. You can shred fresh coconut as well or buy unsweetened coconut and mix it with loads of different things to make a treat. I personally enjoy unsweetened coconut mixed in with mashed up bananas. If the coconut is too hard to chew just stick it in your food processor or blender. 

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