Nutrients That Can Support Your Hearing Health
Most doctors agree that a healthy, well-balanced diet does a lot to protect your health and well-being. Did you know that some nutrients in a healthy diet help keep your hearing in good shape?
Heart disease, diabetes, and hearing loss are the three most common health problems in the United States. Because of this, there has been a big push for healthier diets and more awareness of how whole foods improve our health in the last few years.
A couple of new studies show that certain nutrients that are important for a healthy diet also help our hearing health in a big way. Here, we talk about these studies and list some foods full of these nutrients.
A study shows that antioxidants may help prevent hearing loss.
Dr. Colleen Le Prell of the Kresge Hearing Institute at the University of Michigan did a study with guinea pigs, specific nutrients, and hearing. For the study, Dr. Le Prell gave guinea pigs high doses of vitamins A, C, and E and magnesium, both before and after they were exposed to high noise levels. The goal was to determine how well these vitamins work to protect our hearing.
Over five days, Dr. Le Prell found that vitamins A, C, E, and magnesium worked together to prevent cell damage. High doses of certain antioxidants reduced noise-induced hearing loss in animals when given both before and after a loud noise.
The study by Dr. Le Prell shows that the antioxidants in foods high in vitamins A, C, E, and magnesium help to lessen the damage that free radicals do to our hearing after we hear loud sounds. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that strengthen the blood vessels in the inner ear.
Omega-3s and hearing health
An audiologist named Dr. Joe McDermott wrote in the Daily Sentinel about how vital omega-3 fatty acids are for your hearing health. He says that people who eat two or more servings of fish a week are 42% less likely to get presbycusis (age-related hearing loss) than people who don’t eat fish very often. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines in large amounts.
Why do omega-3 fatty acids help your hearing so much? Dr. McDermott says omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that help strengthen the blood vessels of the inner ear, which helps protect against hearing loss. For your inner ear to work at its best, it needs a healthy amount of oxygen. A healthy blood flow is also essential for the hair cells in the inner ear, which turn sound vibrations into neural signals that the brain can read.
Folic acid is found in leafy greens, bell peppers, and other vegetables. Dr. McDermott also says that people over 50 with a folate deficiency have a 35 percent higher risk of losing their hearing.
Best foods for hearing health
Hearing loss can happen slowly over time because of noise or getting older. At the same time, a diet full of nutrients may help keep your hearing healthy. Based on the two studies above, foods high in vitamins A, C, E, B12, magnesium, folic acid, antioxidants, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids are good for hearing health.
Where do these things come from?
Vegetables: There are many vitamins and other nutrients in vegetables. Folic acid can be found in spinach, collard greens, and romaine lettuce, among other leafy greens. Bell peppers, asparagus, cabbage, and fennel may also have folic acid. Avocado is a good source of both folic acid and omega-3 fatty acids.
Fish: Dr. McDermott’s research shows that eating fish can help you get more omega-3 fatty acids and improve blood flow to your inner ear. Salmon, tuna, and sardines are the best sources of omega-3s, but you can look online for other local and sustainable seafood options that are just as healthy.
Vitamins: Dr. Le Prell’s studies show that some vitamins help our hearing before and after noise exposure. Fruits and vegetables that are brightly colored, like bell peppers and oranges, are good sources of vitamins A, C, and E. Bananas, potatoes, artichokes, and broccoli all have other nutrients like magnesium and zinc. Oysters and chocolate are also good sources of zinc.
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