It’s commonly accepted that eating good and healthful foods has a huge impact on our overall well-being. In order for our bodies to work at their optimum levels, we need to be giving them the necessary fuels and nutrients. But did you know that our hearing health can be boosted and protected by making slight adjustments to our diet?
If you’re suffering from hearing loss or interested in slowing the rate of hearing loss you encounter as you age, there are a few helpful dietary guidelines that will support that process.
Eat whole foods
Make sure that at least one of the meals you consume every day is comprised of whole foods. Every one of us is guilty of saving time by microwaving a fast meal or picking up lunch at a drive through. But if consuming only processed foods has become your norm instead of the exception, then your diet is probably lacking in essential vitamins and nutrients.
Eat well, early and often
This doesn’t mean that you need to spend hours over a hot stove or a whole paycheck at the organic food store. If you choose breakfast to be your whole foods meal, then pick up some quick oats at the grocery store or make yogurt your morning go-to. Each of these hearty base meals can be dressed up with dried or regular fruit, nuts or granola and some honey or peanut butter to sweeten the deal.
Adding a banana tastes delicious in either of these options. High in potassium, this is a smart healthy hearing choice. Potassium is a necessary component to healthy hearing because fluid in the inner ear, that part of the ear that translate the noises we hear into electrical impulses the brain interprets as sound, is dependent upon this essential nutrient.
Start how you want to finish
Plus, if you start your day on the right track, you’re more likely to continue to make smart and healthy choices throughout the rest of the day. And, once you begin to eliminate artificial sweeteners and preservatives, your body will naturally regulate its own sugar levels. So that daily 3pm slump you usually fix with a sweet treat or a cup of coffee might not even surface eventually!
Making room for essential nutrients
What this mindset around eating does is create room in your diet for more essential building blocks of hearing health. Many of these essential vitamins and nutrients are found primarily in whole foods and are not prominent in processed foods. If all of your meals are delivered in these calorically dense and nutritionally lacking ways, then you’re missing out on the opportunity to feed your body what it really needs.
There are a few minerals that directly support your hearing health and can be integrated into your daily diet without too much bother:
We already discussed the importance of feeding your body potassium to maintain proper inner ear functionality. Besides bananas, potassium can also be found in potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, raisins, apricots, melons, oranges yogurt and milk.
This mineral supports a healthy immune system and so benefits your health across the spectrum. It also helps with cell growth and healing. Specifically, though, some studies suggest that it is also effective in treating tinnitus in adults with normal hearing. Zinc-full foods include beef, pork, cashews, almonds, and dark chocolate.
Like Zinc, Folic Acid also aids in generating new cells. There are also studies that support taking Folic Acid to slow hearing loss, which may have to do with its ability to maintain healthy circulation in individuals. Folic Acid is found in spinach, broccoli and asparagus.
Another mineral necessary to healthy circulation, a lack of Magnesium in the inner ear causes the blood vessels to shrink. When Magnesium levels are good, the inner ear receives enough valuable oxygen. Magnesium can also act as a protective barrier for the delicate hair cells of the inner ear by eliminating free radicals caused by loud noises. Food rich in magnesium include artichokes, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes and broccoli.
Healthy habits are eventually just your habits
While you’re taking on a certain amount of extra planning and preparation, does the annoying addition of a mindful shopping list really compare to the added benefit of eating in ways that supports your hearing health? The great thing about habits is that once they are formed, that’s just how you do things! Think of it less as a few challenging weeks of planning meals and more as an investment in a lifetime of healthy hearing.
And, to ensure your best hearing health, schedule an annual hearing test with us at Preferred Hearing! We provide comprehensive hearing tests to track your hearing abilities and our friendly team is here to support you through every step of the hearing process.