You probably already know that the food you eat has a significant impact on your body’s overall health and well-being. Most of us can feel a difference physically and mentally when we eat well too!
We also know that a “balanced diet” includes a lot of whole foods, from green, leafy veggies to fruits, nuts legumes and clean protein, and that that is generally the best way to eat right and feel great. A good diet and keeping your body moving every day is a great way to remain healthy and strong well into your older years.
As we have discovered, what is good for overall health is often great for hearing health as well—which is nice because it is less to remember!
Recent studies have connected a healthy, well-balanced diet of whole foods with a lower risk of hearing loss. So if you needed one more reason to eat healthy, there it is!
It’s not just the number of calories either: it’s the type of calories you consume. So instead of processed foods like chips, crackers or cookies: opt for more whole food snacks and meals to give yourself the best chance of overall health, energy, disease prevention, and great hearing too!
Free Radicals and Your Ears
Our ears are complex: including small bones, the cochlea, the tympanic membrane, and other delicate components that allow us to hear properly. Free radicals are particles that harm our bodies at the cellular level. Additionally, they can impact hearing by damaging the inner workings of our ears, resulting in age-associated hearing loss.
Because of this, many people encounter some level of noticeable hearing damage by the age of about 60. Simply by reducing the quantity of food we consume, we initiate Sirt3, slowing down the aging process by protecting us from the effect of these toxins.
Bottom line: When we eat less it can help us to hear better and live longer.
Hearing and Minerals
Minerals may be small, but they are mighty! Minerals are important for maintaining our body’s health and function.
Zinc, for example, is great for enhancing our immune systems and calcium is great for bone strength. Other minerals are particularly good for hearing health. Here are a few examples:
- Folate (not folic acid) is a boon to cell growth. Presbycusis can be the result of low amounts of folate but getting more can slow this process. Asparagus, beets, leafy greens, eggs and beef liver are all rich sources of folate.
- Magnesium. Did you know most Americans are low in magnesium? Magnesium helps to control toxins linked with loud noises. Getting more magnesium can help protect from noise induced (age related) hearing damage: the most common kind. Fun fact: the best way to absorb magnesium is trans dermally (through the skin). An easy, inexpensive way to do that is to take a relaxing Epsom salt bath!
- Zinc, as we have mentioned, is great for immunity. Zinc helps protect against ear infections and can also combat tinnitus. Great sources of zinc are avocados, pumpkin seeds, spinach and grass-fed beef.
- Potassium is another superstar mineral. Specifically, potassium helps to control the fluid in the inner ear, which in turn interprets noise into electrical signals that the brain translates into sounds we understand. Potassium levels decline as we age, so be sure to increase foods that contain it! Boost potassium intake by eating foods like sweet potatoes, bananas, broccoli and carrots.
What to Eat For Better Hearing
When thinking about how to stay healthy in body, mind and ears… select foods that have a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, minerals and other nutrients. Here are some good examples:
- Bananas are not only a great snack, they improve blood flow—which is a great help to your inner ear and your hearing. Eat a banana a day to increase potassium and slow the effects of aging on your ears!
- Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids… that’s great for not only your heart, but it helps protect against age-related hearing loss too!
- Broccoli is another superstar. With high levels of fiber, vitamin K and vitamin C, it’s loaded with anti-oxidants that protect your ears.
- Dark chocolate! Finally, some good news! Dark chocolate (get a high quality one that tells you a percentage of cacao–and get the highest one you can) is high in zinc and magnesium, so it can help protect against age-related hearing loss as well.
Eat Your Vitamins!
Nutrients like minerals and vitamins are vital for maintaining eye, heart, immune system, and hearing health. Vitamins like A, B, C, D, and E are great for preserving hearing ability. Research suggests these nutrients can also aid in preventing noise-induced hearing damage.
It is important to eat foods that naturally contain these vitamins and minerals. Always eat a sensible diet with whole foods. Getting as much nutrition as possible while eating less food (nutrient density) is key for prevention of age-related hearing loss.
Remember that the first step to halting hearing loss and preventing further damage is to recognize your situation. Come in today for a hearing screening and formulate a strategy to train your brain to listen actively and effectively.
Diablo Hearing Services 2301 Camino Ramon, STE 106 San Ramon (925) 394-4646