Eat Healthy Hear Healthy!
How do we protect our ears? Wear headphones around loud noises, reduce volume levels and take care while cleaning our ears. Isn’t it? However, a recent evidence shows a new way to protect our ears is emerging i.e. a healthy diet. Whether you’re eating dark green vegetables or a salmon fillet, the nutrients on your plate are playing a role in ensuring your long-term hearing health. There has also been a research into the relationship between our nutritional intake and our audio abilities that have had some startling results. Let’s have a look at how a balanced diet (or lack of one) can affect our ability to hear:
Antioxidants & Folic Acid
Antioxidants have many benefits, but can they directly impact your ears? Again, these are known to boost immune systems but they also slow down the effects of free radicals in our system. Free radicals destabilize cells in a bid for cellular stability which can lead to weakened organs, tissues and skin. Reducing the oxidative damage done by free radicals means we are able to hold off on our ears aging for a little longer. Folic acid is also known as folate and is important for tissue growth and cell development. It is also associated with red blood cells as folic acid plays an important role in the formation of red blood cells and a lack of it can cause anemia which has been directly related to hearing loss.
Sources of Antioxidants: Fruits especially berries (cherries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries and strawberries), beans, nuts, whole grains, green tea, olive oil, chocolate.
Sources of Folic Acid: Citrus fruits, lentils, avocadoes, spinach and other leafy greens.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 is also known as an essential fat that cannot be made within the body. According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consumption of Omega-3 and food associated with it significantly reduce the risk of hearing loss. Omega-3 strengthens the blood vessels in our ear’s sensory systems, therefore improving the ear’s efficiency.
Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Fish oil, canola oil, cod liver oil, flaxseed oil, mustard oil, soybean oil, walnut oil, chia seeds, seafood, soya-bean, spinach.
Zinc & Magnesium
Zinc is the most common element in our body which can be stored in red and white blood cells bones, liver, kidneys, pancreas and retinas. Also, it is directly involved in cell division as well as it’s vital for the functioning of countless hormones and many enzymes.
According to St Marianna University School of Medicine in Japan, “A lack of zinc is involved in the generation of tinnitus.” Those most at risk from a zinc deficiency are vegetarians and those with digestive issues.
Magnesium is used in our body for its maintenance and upkeep. It helps create and repair RNA and DNA, which may help cells that have been damaged and can cause hearing loss. According to the American Academy of Audiology, magnesium and hearing have a relationship and it’s been found that magnesium deficiency can cause hearing problems.
Sources of Zinc: Whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, oysters, beef, lamb, pork, chicken, spinach, pumpkin seeds, beans, mushrooms, nuts, dark chocolate.
Sources of Magnesium:Green leafy vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, dark chocolate.
Vitamins C & E
Vitamins C and E work in synchronization to complement each other and both promote tissue function. Vitamin C aids in brain communication and Vitamin E helps control blood vessel contraction. When these vitamins work in harmony, they support each other’s antioxidant functions and contribute towards your immune system and promote immune cell growth. According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, these vitamins when ingested together are significantly more effective than when they are taken individually and can reduce your risk of hearing loss further.
Sources of Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, strawberries, papaya, guava, broccoli, kiwi.
Sources of Vitamin E: Nuts, butter, seeds, avocado, sweet potato, turnip greens, plant oils.
To conclude, a well-balanced diet is the key, and some may choose to supplement with a multivitamin as well. The next time, you’re at grocery store consider adding some leafy greens, nuts, dark chocolate and fish to your basket. Your healthy hearing depends on it!