Eating Well Affects Hearing Health (part 4)

It’s now 2016, and many people have made resolutions to eat better and be healthier. That is a good practice to continue on 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 end in bad results, so it is always best to check with your physician before making any rash decisions about your diet or vitamins 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, 2, and 3 of this series, we reviewed the mineral potassium, folic acid (vitamin B), and the minerals magnesium and zinc. Today’s blog reviews the antioxidants (vitamins C and E) and vitamin D.

Vitamins: C & E (antioxidants)
Foods high in vitamin C include, but are not limited to, the following: guavas, chili powder, yellow bell peppers, cauliflower, fresh thyme, brussels sprouts, kale, red and green chili peppers, fresh parsley, mustard greens, fortified cereal, dried rosemary, turnip greens, garden cress, broccoli, kiwi, pineapples, tomatoes, banana peppers, red cabbage, papaya, strawberries, sun-dried tomatoes, chives, dried basil, cantaloupe, dried coriander, ground cloves, West Indian cherries, mangoes, saffron, cayenne pepper, and oranges. (Source: http://bembu.com/vitamin-c-foods).

Foods high in vitamin E include, but are not limited to, the following: sunflower seeds, tomatoes, mangoes, butternut squash, chili powder, almonds, kiwi, dried apricots, cooked spinach, dried basil, hazelnuts, dried oregano, mustard greens, broccoli, canola oil, pumpkin seeds, kale, pistachios, paprika, red bell peppers, pine nuts, dried parsley, asparagus, pecans, green olives, and avocados. (Source: http://bembu.com/vitamin-e-foods)

Antioxidants from vitamins C and E reduce damage due to oxygen, such as that caused by free radicals. What are free radicals? Merriam-Webster defines them as “an especially reactive atom or group of atoms that has one or more unpaired electrons; especially one that is produced in the body by natural biological processes or introduced from an outside source (as tobacco smoke, toxins, or pollutants) and that can damage cells, proteins, and DNA by altering their chemical structure.”

It was believed that loud noise damaged hearing by destroying the sensory hair cells in the ear. However, recent studies have found that noise exposure damages sensory cells by creating free radicals — damaging molecules known to cause cell death. This damage to the sensory cells can be prevented by consuming antioxidants because they work to prevent free-radical damage.

Interesting point: Unlike most nutrients, there is not a recommended daily intake for these guys. To get what you need, it is recommended that you eat a varied diet with at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, as well as three to six portions of grains per day, with at least half of these servings as whole grains.

Vitamin: D
Foods high in vitamin D include, but are not limited to, the following: salmon, eel, sardines, snapper fish, oysters, caviar, chanterelle mushrooms, herring, shiitake mushrooms, cheese, tuna, milk, ham, eggs, and salami. (Source: http://bembu.com/vitamin-d-foods)

Vitamin D deficiency causes a low bone-mineral density in the tiny bones of the ears, which can lead to hearing loss and even deafness. Thankfully and amazingly, fixing the vitamin D deficiency often corrects the hearing loss.

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