Foods to Protect Your Hearing
It may come as a surprise that there are foods you can eat to help protect and prevent hearing loss, and halt the progression of any current hearing loss. Vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients can play a role in hearing and have been shown to help keep you listening longer.
Antioxidants! The antioxidants vitamins C and E are particularly excellent for hearing health. Vitamin E protects blood vessels and nerves around the ear while vitamin C boosts immune function to resist ear infections. Shop for red bell peppers, broccoli, kiwi, and papaya for both vitamins in one! Resveratrol, the potent antioxidant in red wine and grapes has also been shown to protect our hearing health… but of course if you're getting it from red wine, think moderation!
Folate or folic acid has been shown to lower the risk, or slow the development of age related hearing loss. Folate, a B vitamin is well known in helping to prevent birth defects, but keep in mind, it’s important for health throughout our lifetime. B vitamins are water soluble and therefore not stored in the body, so you must get your daily dose from food. What foods are rich in folate? Think broccoli, asparagus, spinach and other leafy greens, as well as lentils, beans, liver, eggs and avocado.
The miraculous magnesium can also help your hearing. Magnesium is a part of hundreds if not thousands of functions in the body - and many Americans are deficient. It helps us deal with stress and may be helpful in easing hearing sensitivities, reducing tinnitus, and preventing hearing loss. Shop for almonds, brown rice, leafy greens, artichokes, barley, Brazil nuts, beans, and pumpkin seeds to get your daily dose of magnesium naturally.
Omega-3s, we know these fats have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system and reduce inflammation; which can damage sensitive tissues, including those in our ears. Omega-3 rich foods include chia seeds, flaxseed, walnuts, salmon, mackerel, sardines, beans, and olive oil.
Potassium levels decrease as we age and the ear is particularly susceptible to this drop, as potassium plays a large role in the way cells interact in the inner ear. Therefore foods that contain potassium can help protect against age related hearing loss and may even help prevent noise related hearing loss. Potassium rich foods include Swiss chard, lima beans, papaya, lentils, avocados, bananas, apricots, melons, oranges, and spinach.
Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin! Yes, vitamin D has many functions and has more recently taken the stage as aiding in the prevention of hearing loss. Vitamin D is found naturally in few foods and is best obtained from sunlight exposure, but this is not feasible for everyone so pasture raised eggs, mushrooms, sardines, and fortified foods like milk provide vitamin D – so if these foods are not in your regular diet, speak with your health care provider about supplementing vitamin D.
Overall having a good variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, lean meat and fish, and appropriate grains will be your best bet for preventing hearing loss.