When it comes to protecting your hearing, you might think first about practical steps such as wearing earplugs or avoiding loud concerts. Although these are great ways to protect your hearing ability into the future, did you know that your diet also has an effect on your hearing health? Recent studies have shown that certain nutrients can support your hearing health, and they are many of the same nutrients and diet plans that have been proven effective at supporting your health in other ways. If you are concerned about protecting your hearing, these approaches to a healthy diet are great ways to boost your general wellness, so why not give them a try?
General Nutrition and Hearing Health
Two diets have been proven effective at supporting your hearing health, and they have benefits for other aspects of your health, as well. The first is known as Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension (DASH). This program has been effective at preventing cardiovascular disease and preventing heart attacks among those who are already at high risk for a cardiac event. The nutrition plan emphasizes some of the foods that you already know are good for you: whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Lean proteins are included in the diet, but red meats are discouraged, along with high-sodium foods, saturated fats, and processed food more generally. Another diet that has shown success at supporting your hearing health is the Mediterranean Diet. This nutrition plan has had lots of good press for the many healthy effects in can bring to your life. It has many things in common with the DASH diet but also a few differences. Whereas the DASH diet discourages too much oil or fats, the Mediterranean diet encourages healthy unsaturated fats like olive oil. As well, the DASH diet prescribes abstaining from alcohol, but the Mediterranean diet allows a glass of red wine each day. These two diets have been quite effective at lowering cholesterol and promoting a healthy cardiovascular system. Experts wonder if the effects on good circulation of nutrient-rich, oxygenated blood is the way that they support healthy hearing, as well. The tiny, hairlike organelles of the inner ear, called stereocilia, are quite sensitive to lowered levels of oxygen in the bloodstream. By promoting clear blood vessels and a strong heart, these diets may be able to support hearing through a steady supply of fully oxygenated blood.
Vitamins and Minerals
In addition to these general approaches to healthy eating, there are other specific foods, vitamins, and minerals that are known to support your hearing health. The list is quite long, and many of these vitamins will be part of a balanced diet, such as DASH or the Mediterranean diet. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables is a crucial aspect of these diets, supplying vitamins in a form that are easily absorbable in the body. In addition to getting these vitamins through food, you can also take a daily multivitamin or specific supplements to support your hearing. B vitamins, including Folate, are great for your hearing health, and you can get these vitamins through nuts, beans, vegetables, and whole grains. Carotenoids that come from red, yellow, and orange vegetables, are known to be antioxidants and provitamins that promote the conversion of vitamin A to a form that is absorbable, and these vitamins support your hearing health, as well. Omega-3s come from fish, making them a crucial part of the Mediterranean diet. These fatty acids promote hearing health, as well. Zinc and magnesium are minerals that have a wide range of health effects, including promoting immunity, and you can get these minerals as supplements if you are concerned about getting enough through your food. With these major vitamins and minerals in mind, you can promote your general health and your hearing health at the same time. Try to look for foods that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well. Some forms of hearing loss seem to be related to oxidative stress and inflammation, so you can prevent these effects through superfoods and spices, such as turmeric. With these healthy habits in place, you can look forward to a future with great hearing health.