Eating Well Affects Hearing Health (part 3)

It’s now 2016, and many people have made resolutions to eat better and be healthier. That is a good practice to continue into the future!

Eating well isn’t just for feeling better — it can lead to better hearing as well! That’s right, eating certain foods does affect your hearing. Now, eating the right foods for better hearing does not mean that a person can go to live concerts or use loud power tools without using proper ear protection and expect to maintain optimal hearing. Practicing full-body wellness typically begins with what we put into our bodies. The old adage of “garbage in equates to garbage out” holds true for both our bodies and our hearing health.

Keep in mind that your body is a complex organism. Too much of a good thing may result in bad results, so it always is best to check with your physician before making any rash decisions about your diet and any decision to take vitamin and minerals that promote hearing health.

With that said, here are some good guideposts for food, vitamin, and mineral intake for better hearing. Please remember that some foods might not be good for your specific health needs, so there may be alternative foods that can provide the nutrients to achieve the goal of maintaining better hearing.

In parts 1 and 2 of this series, we reviewed the mineral potassium and folic acid (vitamin B). Today’s blog reviews the minerals magnesium and zinc.

Mineral: magnesium
Foods high in magnesium include, but are not limited to, the following: legumes, whole grains, broccoli (and other leafy, green vegetables), seeds and nuts, meats, chocolate, and believe it or not, coffee!

Interesting and true: Water with a high mineral content, or hard water, is also a source of magnesium.

Magnesium is important in hundreds of chemical reactions that keep the body working properly AND has been shown through research — when combined with Vitamins A, C, and E — to provide, in effect, a protective barrier to the hair cells of the inner ear. A lack of magnesium can result in shrinking blood vessels, which deprives the inner ear of much-needed oxygen.

Mineral: zinc
Foods high in zinc include, but are not limited to, the following: oysters, beef, crab, fortified breakfast cereal, lobster, pork, cashews, chickpeas, chicken, Swiss cheese, oatmeal, kidney beans and almonds, and dark chocolate.

This mineral helps boost the body’s overall immune system. It helps with cell growth and healing (think ear infection). It does interact with certain antibiotics and diuretics, so be certain to check with your physician on this mineral — as with all others listed here — before adding it to your diet to be sure it is in line with your specific dietary allowances.

We always hear the saying about eating a well-balanced diet for healthy living. That is true. The same holds true with respect to healthy hearing! Again, just be sure that the foods outlined above are in accordance with your physician’s agreed dietary allowances. So, eat well and hear well in 2016! May it be your best year to date!

Sources include: WebMD, Health.com, fitday.com, and the National Institutes of Health

This is part three of four in this series. Stay tuned for the upcoming information on antioxidants (vitamins C & E), and vitamin D.