Protecting your hearing is a lifestyle choice and can impact both physical and mental health. While mental health can be secured by staying happy and stress-free, one of the most important tools to protect your physical health is your diet. The right amounts of the right foods can go a long way in keeping you healthy. The same goes for your sense of hearing.
The following vitamins and minerals can be beneficial to your hearing health:
By regulating the amount of fluid in your blood and body tissue, potassium is an extremely important nutrient to the human body. Similarly, when it comes to hearing, potassium is used to assist the process in the ear by which sound signals are converted to electrical impulses through the auditory nerve. However, as we age, the fluids in our ear which provide a rich supply of potassium fall short of this nutrient, leading to age-related hearing loss or presbycusis. You can include potatoes, spinach, lima beans, tomatoes, raisins, apricots, bananas, melons, oranges, yogurt and low-fat milk in your diet for a healthy dose of potassium.
Research shows adults over the age of 40 with low levels of folic acid in their body are 34 percent more susceptible to presbycusis. Another study shows folic acid supplements may reduce hearing loss in men by 25 percent. Based on these results and the hypothesis that folic acid is used to metabolize homocysteine, an inflammatory compound that reduces circulation, folic acid improves blood circulation which, in turn, keeps the hair cells of the inner ear healthy and working properly. You can include fortified breakfast cereal, liver, spinach, broccoli and asparagus in your food to get your daily amount of folic acid.
Magnesium is known to act like a protective barrier for the delicate hair cells of the inner ear from the free radicals emitted during loud noises. In the absence of magnesium, the blood vessels in the inner ear begin to shrink, depriving the cells of valuable oxygen. Studies conducted by the University of Michigan Kresge Hearing Research Institute show participants treated with magnesium in the presence of vitamins A, C, and E were protected from noise-induced hearing loss. To take advantage of these qualities of magnesium, add fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, artichokes, potatoes, spinach and broccoli to your daily diet.
One of the many causes of hearing loss is ear infections. Zinc is responsible for boosting the body’s immune system and enhancing the growth of cells and the healing of wounds. Therefore, zinc plays a vital role in warding off pathogens causing diseases like the common cold or ear infections. Studies have also indicated that zinc is effective in treating tinnitus (ringing in the ears) in people with normal hearing. As a result, ingesting zinc-rich foods, such as beef, pork, dark-meat chicken, cashews, almonds, peanuts, beans, split peas, lentils, oysters and dark chocolate, can be highly beneficial.