We’re lucky to live in a time in which medical science has progressed to the point in which serious ailments can be successfully treated. However, we often forget that for thousands of years, prior to the modern health system, food was our best medicine. And it still is a powerful tool, especially in the preventative sense. Many physicians promote the addition of nutritional supplements and vitamins. But you don’t have to spend the cash on an expensive package, many of these vitamins and nutrients are widely available simply by being intentional about the foods we eat. Even long-term hearing health can be supported by an itemized grocery list that focuses on foods that are proven to benefit healthy hearing.
Incorporating hearing health options into a balanced diet
Our systems are most adapted to absorb nutrients most efficiently when they’re found in whole foods as opposed to manufactured, like many supplements are these days. Of course, if you’re not a culinary wizard, it might seem more conducive to go the supplement and vitamin route. However, making small changes over time in the choices we make can incorporate many of these essential hearing health nutrients in our diets without much fuss. The truth is that they’re found in everyday food items that are readily available. You don’t need to have a culinary science degree to reap the benefits!
Taste the rainbow
There’s a saying that your plate should look like a rainbow. The more color in the foods you’re eating, the more beneficial to your system. That’s not a free pass to eat fun-fetti cupcakes every night, though. This applies best to unprocessed foods. Dark leafy greens pack a punch, with nutrients and minerals guaranteed to protect healthy hearing. These can include kale, chard and spinach. These greens are high in Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that’s helpful to protect the delicate cells of the inner ear. It’s also beneficial to immunity, which prevents infections like those common in the middle ear. You can also incorporate Vitamin C into your diet with citrus fruits, strawberries and peppers.
A 2011 study examined the link between vitamin deficiencies and hearing loss. Within the study, people with higher consumption of Vitamin A in their diets reduced their risk of hearing loss by 47%! This powerful preventative can be found in carrots, sweet potatoes, eggs and butter from grass-fed cows. While the rate of prevention associated with Vitamin E in this study wasn’t as large, it was significant. Folks with a high intake of Vitamin E decreased their risk of hearing loss by 14%. Easy ways to add this into your diet include almonds, sunflower seeds, avocado and olive oil.
The B Team
Vitamin B might be the biggest preventative of hearing loss of them all. Folate, also known as B-9 is a well-known adversary of hearing loss. In 1999, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study reporting that older women with hearing loss had much lower levels of folate than women without hearing loss. A 2004 study found this same result in men with hearing loss. To introduce more folate into your menu, add asparagus, beans, eggs and nuts to your shopping list.
B-12 had a similar result in the study mentioned earlier. Women who had hearing loss had a much lower level of this crucial vitamin. These findings have been supported in other research and the current thought surrounding its importance is that B-12 assists in maintaining healthy blood flow to the inner ear. It is easily found in meat and fish products. Vegetarians can find Vitamin B-12 in eggs and dairy products. Vegans, however, might need to look for soy products fortified with this one or consider a supplement.
You may have noticed a few foods popping up repeatedly on the list. Spinach, for instance, is a great way to get many vitamins into your meal without much fuss. It contains B-9, Vitamins A, C and E. And you don’t have to eat it out of the can like you’re swallowing castor oil. You don’t even have to become a person who eats boring, dry spinach salads for lunch. Using food as preventative medicine doesn’t have to be a punishment. Sautee some fresh spinach with a little olive oil, garlic and eggs. Or, order spinach on your pizza. Make it a point to have fun with adding nutritional heavy hitters into your meal planning!
Active Hearing and Audiology
An annual hearing test is an important part of your overall health and well-being. To schedule an appointment, contact us at Active Hearing and Audiology today!