Listen up! Did you know that what you put into your mouth may actually help your ears? Most people don’t know that nutritional deficiencies are a leading cause of hearing loss while eating a healthy, balanced diet can actually protect your hearing. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hearing loss affects over 360 million people across the globe, and 30% of adults over the age of 65 have decreased auditory function. So if you’re ready to improve your hearing through diet, read on to learn about some foods you can eat to maintain healthy hearing.
Bananas. Without question, bananas are a potassium powerhouse. But how do bananas help your hearing? As we age, the fluid inside our ears may drop, causing gradual hearing loss. Auditory problems and vertigo can also occur when fluid inside the ear builds up. But potassium can prevent ear problems from occurring since it helps regulate fluid throughout the body. One medium-sized banana is packed with 422 mg of potassium. Apricots, cantaloupe, oranges and avocados are also great potassium boosters.
Brussels Sprouts. Your mom was right when she told you to finish your Brussels sprouts! That’s because she probably knew that these hearty, cruciferous veggies are loaded with folate. Also known as folic acid, studies have shown that folate deficiency can induce age-related hearing loss. Just a half-cup of these delicious veggies provides 47 mcg of folate. Not crazy about Brussels sprouts? Feel free to swap it out with other folate-rich veggies like kale, spinach, broccoli, or chickpeas.
Cashews. When it comes to protecting your hearing, try munching on a handful of cashews. These delicious nuts are high in magnesium, which is essential for preserving nerve function. Magnesium also shields inner ear cells when they encounter potentially ear-damaging loud noises. Just one ounce of cashews contains a whopping 82 mg of magnesium. Brazil nuts and almonds are also excellent sources of magnesium.
Dark Chocolate. Listen up! There’s scientific proof that’s linked eating dark chocolate to improved hearing function. That’s because cocoa is rich in zinc, which helps to protect inner-ear function. A Korean study of 3,575 participants discovered that chocolate lovers had lower odds of developing hearing loss. Researchers also discovered a correlation between eating dark chocolate frequently and better hearing. Oatmeal, yogurt, and lentils are other excellent sources of zinc.
Tuna. Tuna, along with other fish like sardines, mackerel, and salmon are high in Omega-3 fatty acids may stave off hearing problems, thanks to high levels of inflammation-fighting Omega-3 fatty acids. The link between Omega-3s and hearing was revealed in the Australian Blue Mountain Study, which tested the hearing of nearly 3,000 study subjects over several years. The study revealed that participants who ate fish two or more times each week showed a 42% decreased risk of hearing loss. Another study from the Netherlands also determined that individuals who ate foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids were less likely to experience hearing loss.
It’s always best to speak with your physician if you have experienced any hearing loss, tinnitus, or vertigo. Make sure to discuss your diet since nutritional deficiencies, sodium, and fatty foods may put your hearing at risk.