Diet modification to improve ear health and to prevent hearing loss is as easy as keeping the common cold at bay. As always, the rule is a healthy lifestyle including exercise can impact your ear health, but also a diet including specific vitamins and other nutrients can aid in the prevention of hearing loss.
Diets high in Omega-3 fats and Vitamin D have especially positive effects on hearing loss. Omega-3 fats help to strengthen blood vessels in the ear-sensory system. Fish– such as salmon, tuna, trout, and sardines– are an exceptionally great source of Omega-3 fats. Recent studies have proved that adult participants who ate fish twice a week had a 42% decrease in age-related risk of hearing loss, than those who ate less fish to none at all. Vitamin D can also be found in fish, but just as well in dairy products and eggs. Zinc is also a helpful supplement in the prevention of age-related hearing loss. Zinc is found abundant other seafood such as oysters, but also in dark chocolate, mushrooms, and lean types of red and white meat.
Antioxidants and Folic Acid can reduce the risk of hearing loss by up to 20%. Antioxidants reduce the number of cancer-causing free radicals that accumulate in your body. Free radicals can damage the nerve tissue of your inner-ears, so make sure to include plenty of spinach, asparagus, beans, broccoli, eggs, liver, and nuts in your diet. Vitamins C and E can also keep free radicals at bay, similar to antioxidants. Vitamins C and E assist in strengthening your immune system, therefore reducing the risk of developing ear infections. Good sources of Vitamins C and E include most fruits and vegetables, like oranges and bell peppers. In conjunction to Vitamin C and E, also be sure to include Vitamin A in your diet. Vitamins A, C and E work together to actually seek out free radicals and to destroy them. A proactive diet at its best! Vitamin A can be found in dark green and yellow fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, squash, carrots, sweet potato, apricots, and pumpkin.
Vitamins B12 and B6 are not only good for an adequate energy boost. Vitamins B12 and B6 are proven to regulate the growth of healthy red blood cells. It is imperative to maintain healthy red blood cells with these vitamins in order to properly metabolize the non-protein amino acid, homocysteine. Too much homocysteine in the blood can cause tinnitus and even heart disease and stroke. Accordingly, cases of tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss have been linked to low levels of Vitamin B-12 and high levels of homocysteine.
Finally, the minerals manganese and magnesium are ideal minerals for protection against noise-induced hearing loss. Manganese is a mineral that is often overlooked when it comes to ear health. Not only is manganese essential for the proper functioning of the brain and nerves, but this mineral also aids in the development of connective tissues within the ear, as well as throughout the entire body. Manganese can be found in peanuts and cashews, cucumber, kale, eggplant, brown rice, tofu, beets, and kiwi. Foods high in enzyme-activating magnesium include bananas, potatoes, artichokes, broccoli, and dairy.
Regular exercise is one of the most important factors in maintaining good overall health. By practicing balance and walking exercises, you can prevent vertigo—a disorder caused by the disruption of fluid movement within the vestibular system. In addition to proper consumption of healthy foods, staying active is an excellent way to maintain the health of the inner-workings of your ears, and to ensure your future in healthy hearing.