It’s a fascinating journey to explore the supplements in our food and how they affect our mood and our body. As we age, this especially becomes a necessity for all aspects of a health and lifestyle. What we eat can maintain all our bodies as a whole into our golden years. Our hearing is definitely part of this cycle.
Many studies prove that diet is one of the few modifiable risk factors for age-related hearing loss. This means that, by eating the right nutrient-dense foods and avoiding foods that promote inflammation and cardiovascular health, we can potentially protect against hearing loss. Below are some explorations into the vitamins and minerals found in some of the most loved foods that can improve your hearing health and general well-being.
Vitamin C is one the most well-known and helpful vitamins of all and a great proponent of a strong immune system. It is a water-soluble antioxidant that works in conjunction with glutathione and other cellular antioxidants to effectively scavenge free radicals associated with noise-induced hearing loss.
Luckily, vitamin C is easy to incorporate into your diet: foods high in vitamin C include citrus, papaya, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts and dark leafy greens. You can never have too much vitamin C as your body can filter out any of it that it doesn’t need. The current daily recommend value for vitamin C is 60 mg. One medium orange contains 69.7 mg, so if you have access the fresh fruit this should be relatively easy.
Folate, also known as B-9, is a critical element in your body’s ability to generate new cell growth. Studies have shown that adults with low levels of folate, in their blood are more likely to develop age related hearing loss. Studies have shown that folic acid supplements may slow down hearing loss because the body uses the folic acid to metabolize homocysteine, an inflammatory compound that reduces circulation. Good circulation is an important component in keeping the hair cells of the inner ear healthy and working properly. A 2003 study showed that folate levels were significantly lower in patients with sensorineural hearing loss than those with no hearing disability.
Folate-rich foods include organ meats, spinach, broccoli and asparagus.
Omega-3 fatty acids
The omega-3 fatty acids found in cold-water fish such as mackerel, sardines and tuna can increase blood flow to different parts of the ear. A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that study participants who had at least two servings per week of cold-water fish, high in omega-3s, had a 42 percent lower risk of developing age-related hearing loss than those who at less than one serving of fish per week. Other foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include eggs, flaxseed, walnuts and grass-fed beef.
Vitamins A and E
Out of all the antioxidants vitamins A and E are very strong proponents in terms of hearing health. A 2011 study found that those with the highest intake of dietary vitamin A had a 47 percent reduced risk of hearing loss, while those who ate the most vitamin E-rich foods had a 14 percent lower chance of hearing loss. Foods high in vitamin E include almonds, spinach, sweet potato, avocado, sunflower seeds, butternut squash and olive oil. Vitamin A-rich foods include beef liver, carrots, sweet potato, kale, spinach, broccoli, and eggs.
While studies show that vitamin deficiencies contribute to a variety of health problems, eating a balanced diet is still the best way to get the nutrients your body needs to function effectively. According to a recent cultural shift toward eating whole foods, many doctors urge people, especially seniors, to take fewer vitamins and supplements and focusing on getting their vitamins from whole foods. Vitamins ideally should be supplemental to one’s diet, not the main source. If you cannot get access on a regular basis, supplements are of the essence to ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need to protect your hearing health. Consult with your doctor before taking any supplements and if you have concerns about your hearing, contact us at Exceptional Hearing Care today.