A rapidly growing body of scientific research underscores what many people around the world have always known: what you eat directly impacts your overall health, from your teeth to your toes. In honor of American Heart Month, we’re discussing three superfoods that can benefit your oral health and your heart health.
How They Help Your Smile: Plump, juicy, and delicious, strawberries taste wonderful and are almost in season! Strawberries contain malic acid, which can effectively remove stains and whiten your teeth. Their high vitamin C content can also help improve your body’s ability to fight the inflammation associated with gum disease.
How They Help Your Heart: A number of recently published studies show that regularly consuming strawberries can lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, help control and reduce high blood pressure, and protect the heart from free radicals, thanks to their levels of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and antioxidants.
How They Help Your Smile: Nuts help keep your smile bright and healthy in two ways. First, their crunchy texture lightly scrubs the enamel and promotes healthy saliva flow, a critical part of the mouth’s natural cleaning mechanism. Second, nuts like pistachios, almonds, walnuts, and peanuts contain high levels of magnesium, which allows the body to better absrob calcium (vital to healthy tooth enamel).
How They Help Your Heart: So much evidence points to the heart-healthy capabilities of nuts that the FDA explicitly states that consuming them a few times a week can “reduce the risk of heart disease.” In moderation, the healthy fats, plant fiber, omega-3 fatty acid, and arganine found in most nuts can help your heart stay healthy longer.
How It Helps Your Smile: A growing body of research has shown that yogurt can do more than start your morning off right. The “good” bacteria found in fermented dairy products (which includes kefir, a type of drinkable yogurt) can protect your teeth and gums for oral disease and even reduce hydrogen sulfide levels in your mouth, thereby fighting bad breath.
How It Helps Your Heart: Research examining the link between yogurt and heart health is in its early years, yet one recent study showed that older women who ate yogurt regularly had healthier carotid artery walls than women who did not. Thickened artery walls, a condition known as atherosclerosis, is associated with a higher risk of stroke and heart disease.
A Word of Caution: Superfoods stop providing many of those “super” benefits when they come loaded with added sugar or salt. Opt for:
- Whole fresh or frozen strawberries with no added sugar
- Unsalted or lightly salted nuts (skip the honey glazes or cocoa coatings)
- Unsweetened or artificially sweetened yogurts, whether drinkable, spoonable, or squeezable.
About Shawn Hofkes, DDS
With advanced training in oral and maxillofacial surgery and certification in oral and IV sedation, Shawn Hofkes, DDS is qualified to provide advanced dental surgery services from our state-of-the-art dentist office in Cerritos, CA. To schedule your appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and all surrounding communities.