Does your diet support optimal hearing health?

Reading Time: 5 minutes
"by " Albert Stein
19/03/19

If you need another reason to eat chocolate, do it for your hearing health. Did you know that foods such as dark chocolate, peanuts, spinach, and bananas contain nutrients which support healthy hearing? While no single nutrient holds the key to good health or disease prevention, eating well contributes to overall health and may help to reduce your risk of hearing loss.

Research shows that you can reduce your risk of hearing loss by at least 30 percent by eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables . Women who limited their intake of fat, sugar, and sodium and instead ate diets rich in fruits, vegetables1, nuts, lean meats, fish, and low-fat dairy were less likely to develop hearing loss than those who did not. 

Healthy lifestyle diets such as the Mediterranean diet have been found to support hearing health2. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes plant-based foods such as whole grains and nuts. Olive oil and canola oil replace butter, and herbs and spices replace salt. Red meat is eaten sparingly, and eating fish and poultry is encouraged. Red wine is permitted at dinner; wine can even be substituted by grape juice. Processed foods and sugary drinks should be avoided or eaten sparingly. 

Healthy eating is a cornerstone of good health. Combined with regular exercise, good nutrition can increase immunity, reduce susceptibility to disease and enhance productivity. When you eat a varied and balanced diet, you obtain the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, that your body needs to work properly. Four minerals, readily available in a variety of foods have been shown to boost hearing health. 

Healthy eating is a cornerstone of good health. Combining healthy nutrition with regular exercise can increase immunity, reduce susceptibility to disease, and enhance productivity3. When you eat a varied and balanced diet, you obtain the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, that your body needs to function properly. Four minerals, readily available in a variety of foods, have been shown to boost hearing health4.

Potassium helps regulate the fluid in our body’s tissues and blood. As we get older, our fluid levels tend to decrease. The decrease in fluid levels in the inner ear could be a factor in age-related hearing loss as fluid is especially important for the function of the cochlea (the coil-shaped part of the ear filled with hearing-essential fluids). 

Foods rich in potassium include spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, lima beans, raisins, apricots, bananas, melons, oranges, yogurt, and low-fat milk.

Zinc is a powerful mineral that metabolizes nutrients, maintains your immune system and grows and repairs body tissues. Zinc boosts your immune system and protects against germs, thereby protecting your body from germs that may lead to ear infections. Zinc is found in cells throughout the body, but the inner ear contains the highest concentration of zinc. Studies report a link between zinc deficiency and tinnitus, a constant ringing or buzzing in the ear5.

Zinc is found in a variety of foods such as chickpeas, lentils, beans, nuts, eggs, dairy products, dark chicken, and red meat. 

Folate is a B vitamin which assists in the creation of healthy new cells and helps to increase circulation in the body. Folate is commonly supplemented by folic acid which is the synthetic form commonly used in dietary supplements. Adults with low folate levels may be more likely to develop presbycusis or age-related hearing loss6. One theory is that folate helps the body to metabolize homocysteine, a compound that reduces circulation. You can find folate in foods such as spinach, broccoli, asparagus, beans, peas, lentils and organ meats.

Magnesium helps to strengthen bones, keep the heart rhythm steady, and maintain normal blood pressure. Magnesium can also help to protect against noise-related hearing loss7. Researchers found that magnesium and a mix of vitamins A, C and E may reduce the free radicals generated by loud noise and shelter the delicate inner ear hair cells from damage.

Magnesium-rich foods include many fruits and vegetables, dark chocolate, avocados, nuts, tofu, seeds, and whole grains.

There is no doubt that hearing is greatly influenced by your lifestyle and general health. Diets rich in nutrients, especially those with antioxidant properties, that are also low in saturated fats, low in sugar and low in calories, can reduce the risk of hearing loss. Adding healthy foods to your diet and focusing on the nutrients you may be missing can significantly impact your long-term hearing health. And there is more good news. In addition to boosting your hearing health, a well-balanced diet rich in food derived from fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts can help you reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases and improve your overall quality of life.

A healthy diet is just one way to help maintain your hearing health. Because hearing loss can come on gradually, you may not notice hearing loss until it becomes disruptive to your life. A regular hearing check is quick, easy and painless. If a hearing loss is detected, your hearing care expert can suggest the best solution for you. Schedule a free hearing check here.

There is no doubt that hearing is greatly influenced by your lifestyle and general health8. Diets high in antioxidant-rich nutrients and low in saturated fats and sugar can reduce the risk of hearing loss9. Adding healthy foods to your diet and correcting any nutrient deficiencies can significantly impact your long-term hearing health. Even better, a diet rich in plant-based foods can help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases. 

A healthy diet is just one way to help maintain your hearing health. Because hearing loss can come on gradually, you may not notice hearing loss until it becomes disruptive to your life. A regular hearing check is quick, easy and painless. If a hearing loss is detected, your hearing care expert can suggest the best solution for you. Contact your local hearing care provider today if you think you may have symptoms of hearing loss.

 

1. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/healthy-diets-linked-lower-risk-hearing-loss-women
2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/mediterranean-diet/art-20047801
3. https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/healthy-diet
4. https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/51181-Boost-your-hearing-with-these-power-foods & https://campaignforbetterhearing.ca/2016/03/five-foods-to-boost-your-hearing-health/ 
5. https://www.healthandscience.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1059:essential-nutrients-may-prevent-impaired-hearing-and-improve-certain-hearing-problems-us&catid=20&lang=us&Itemid=374
6. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/69/3/564/4694205
7. https://www.uofmhealth.org/news/824vitamins-and-minerals-prevent-hearing-loss & https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12544035
8. https://hearinghealthfoundation.org/blogs/how-nutrition-affects-our-hearing
9. https://www.asha.org/Articles/The-Role-of-Nutrition-in-Healthy-Hearing/