A recent study released by the New England Journal of Medicine found that roughly 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes and heart disease-related deaths can be prevented in high-risk people if they change to a Mediterranean diet. This diet has its own food pyramid with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, olive oil, seeds, herbs and legumes at the base, which are intended to be integrated into every meal. Heart disease and oral bacteria are commonly linked together, so a switch to this kind of diet can reduce the risk of diabetes and oral health issues.
This research, which was the first of its kind, comes at the tail end of American Heart Month. Researchers at the University of Barcelona followed nearly 7,500 people who were overweight, smoked and had diabetes or were at risk for heart disease.
According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes and oral health are closely related to one another. Individuals who suffer from diabetes are at higher risk for gum disease, and vice versa. A switch to this type of diet can also help reduce the risks of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, other common links to the buildup of dental plaque.
A recent article from the Mayo Clinic cited by EmpowHER stated that an "analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of overall and cardiovascular mortality."
The Mediterranean diet showed a dramatic reduction in the risk for major cardiovascular events for those who are at high risk; however, research has yet to be done on individuals who are at low risk. Gum disease and dental plaque can be avoided with a nutritious diet, like the Mediterranean, for an overall healthy self.