Living a healthy lifestyle can be achieved by staying active and consuming a well-balanced diet. While it’s obvious to most people that chips and candy aren’t the most nutritious options, many are unaware that foods rich in certain vitamins and minerals can aid or even improve how your body functions. Numerous healthy foods supply nutrients that are good for your entire body, but a select few may actually help your hearing.
Here is a list of vitamins and mineral you should consider incorporating into your diet*:
Zinc is a mineral widely thought to boost your immune system, and participates in the regulation of cell growth. It has the ability to balance hormones involved in the regulation of blood sugar, which is important for avoiding or controlling diabetes, a condition that has been linked to hearing loss. Studies also indicate that zinc plays an essential role in building resistance against common illnesses like colds or ear infections.
Foods rich in zinc: Oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, seafood (crab/lobster)
Vitamin B-12 and C
These vitamins are different in name but have one common goal — supporting your hearing health. Hearing loss has been linked to B-12 deficiencies and the development of certain forms of tinnitus.
Foods rich in B-12: Dairy products, shellfish, poultry
Vitamin C is considered an antioxidant as it helps your body create collagen, a key protein utilized for growing and maintaining bones, blood vessels, skin, and connective tissue. Some research indicates that when large doses of Vitamin C are taken before and after noise exposure along with fellow antioxidants Vitamin A, E, and magnesium, it might reduce noise-induced hearing loss. It may also be helpful in preventing or fighting ear infections.
Foods rich in Vitamin C: Fruits like oranges, strawberries, grapefruit, guava, and kiwi. Vegetables like red peppers, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and green peppers
Also known as folate, folic acid helps your body produce and maintain new cells. While folate deficiencies contribute to heart disease and strokes (both of which can lead to hearing loss), studies have been done to determine if folate could help slow age-related hearing loss. Your body uses folic acid to process homocysteine, which improves circulation. A good flow of circulation is essential for your ears to function properly — inadequate blood circulation can damage or destroy the delicate hair cells of the inner ear that are vital to transmitting sound to your brain.
Foods rich in folic acid: Leafy greens, beans, breads, rice, and pastas
Magnesium is known to expand blood vessels and improve circulation. It also controls the release of glutamate, a substance believed to be a contributing factor of noise-induced hearing loss. As mentioned above, the combination of magnesium and other key antioxidants might aid in the prevention of hearing loss. Magnesium’s role in this process is to increase blood flow to help transport the antioxidants.
Foods rich in magnesium: Spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, almonds, black beans, avocado, dark chocolate, and bananas
Eat well to feel and hear well
It’s important to consume a well-balanced diet in order to obtain all the nutrients your body needs to function properly. Certain foods rich with vitamins and minerals could aid in the preservation of your hearing. Any specific questions about hearing loss in relation to your diet and overall health should be discussed with your hearing care professional.
*Always consult a physician or nutritionist before making any significant dietary changes to be sure your specific health requirements are met.