“You are what you eat!” is a phrase we’ve all heard. It turns out that this is also true for the health of your ears. Several studies have shown that the nutrients and vitamins in a healthy, well-balanced diet help protect and keep your hearing in good shape.
Let’s look at some of these studies and talk about the foods you should eat to keep your hearing in good shape.
Vitamins and antioxidants
Dr. Colleen Le Prell is a leading researcher who has studied how diet affects noise-induced hearing loss. It was once thought that almost all noise-induced hearing loss was caused by mechanical damage to sensitive sensory cells in the inner ear. However, Dr. Le Prell says that intense metabolic activity forms free radicals (short-lived, unstable, highly reactive clusters of atoms) in the inner ear.
Dr. Le Prell and Dr. Joseph Miller did a study at the Kresge Institute at the University of Michigan. In this study, scientists exposed guinea pigs to loud noises and gave them specific amounts of vitamins and other nutrients. During the study, Drs. Le Prell and Miller gave doses of vitamins A, C, and E and magnesium to guinea pigs an hour before and an hour after they were exposed to noise. They found that these nutrients worked together to stop cell damage and that people who got nutrients before and after being exposed to noise had much less hearing loss from the noise.
Dr. Le Prell’s research has shown that free radicals formed during and after noise significantly cause noise-induced hearing loss and that beta carotene, vitamins A, C, and E, and magnesium could help reduce noise-induced hearing loss. Even though her research was done on animals, there is still a lot to learn about how noise-induced hearing loss, nutrients, and antioxidants affect people.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Eating foods high in certain nutrients can help improve hearing or even stop or slow down hearing loss. Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular, reduce inflammation, antioxidants, and folic acids because they protect against free radicals. People who eat two or more fish per week are 42% less likely to get presbycusis (age-related hearing loss) than people who don’t eat fish very often.
Also, it is thought that reducing free radicals by eating leafy greens like spinach, romaine lettuce, etc., will protect the inner ear from damage. People who aren’t getting enough folate are 35% more likely to lose their hearing. Because of this, it is essential to eat these antioxidants to improve your hearing health.
Other nutrients, like vitamin B12 and vitamin D, help your immune system, blood flow, and bone health. Finally, Zinc has been shown to protect hearing from age-related loss.
Minerals are found in rocks and soil and give your body the essential nutrients it needs to work. How do we get these nutrients if they are often found in these inorganic things? According to experts, we get minerals by eating plants that get them from the soil and by eating meat from animals that eat plants. Making meals from scratch that are full of minerals and vitamins can help protect your hearing health.
Potassium, folic acid, magnesium, and Zinc are all essential minerals in our diet.
Foods that you should eat
Here are some foods you should eat to make sure you get the nutrients you need for healthy hearing:
- Carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, cantaloupe, apricots, spinach, kale, and collard greens are all excellent sources of vitamin A.
- Vitamin B12 is found in meat, fish, shellfish, eggs, and milk.
- Papaya, oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and dark leafy greens are all excellent sources of vitamin C. (kale, mustard greens, chard)
- Salmon, herring, catfish, trout, oysters, milk, eggs, and shiitake mushrooms are all excellent sources of vitamin D.
- Sunflower seeds, almonds, Swiss chard, turnip greens, and asparagus are good sources of vitamin E.
- Folic acid is found in oranges, beans, bread, cereals, rice, and leafy greens.
- Bananas, yogurt, black beans, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and spinach are all high in magnesium.
- Flaxseed, chia seeds, tuna, salmon, and soybeans are all high in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Potassium: lima beans, tomatoes, raisins, bananas, potatoes
- Beef, pork, dark chicken meat, cashews, peanuts, split peas, lentils, and dark chocolate are all excellent sources of Zinc.
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