Did you know that maintaining a healthy diet can play a big part in keeping your hearing healthy and slowing the effects of ageing on your hearing? When you eat these five nutrients, you’re not only staving off hearing loss, you may heal some of the damage that’s already been done.
Have you found yourself struggling with annoying ringing in your ears, or progressive hearing loss as you age? Studies conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have shown that tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and progressive loss of hearing are more common in people who have a deficiency of B vitamins, specifically vitamin B-12 and folate. To keep your B-12 and folate levels high, make sure to eat B-12 rich foods like almonds, sunflower seeds, and spinach.
Considered to be one of the most important antioxidants, vitamin C is known to protect the crucial hair cells in the cochlea, which are an essential part of hearing well. Vitamin C is also thought to boost the health of the overall immune system, which can ward off ear infections and prevent damage to hearing from disease. Vitamin C rich foods include capsicum, dark green leafy veg (like kale and spinach), oranges and broccoli.
Given its crucial role in bone health, maintaining a good vitamin D level can help protect the small bones in your inner ear that you need to hear well. A low vitamin D level can cause both bone loss and abnormal bone growths that can affect hearing.
Foods like eggs and fish do have some vitamin D, while many dairy products like milk are supplemented with vitamin D. However, despite all the warning we get to stay out of the sun and cover up, vitamin D is a vital component of maintaining your overall health and the best source of vitamin D you can get is through sunlight on your skin. So while being sun smart is of course important, it is recommended to get out in direct sunlight for at least 30 minutes per day to get the level of vitamin D you need.
You’ve probably heard of vitamin E in terms of protecting the health of your skin, hair, fingernails, and connective tissues, but did you know that vitamin E also improves circulation and protects the delicate hairs inside your cochlea? Just like vitamin C, vitamin E is an important antioxidant which helps keep your immune system healthy, fend off ear infections, and keep your middle ear healthy and functioning properly. For a good source of vitamin E, add some sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach and avocado to your diet.
Magnesium and Zinc
Good news for those with a sweet tooth! If you’re looking for an excuse to add a little bit of dark chocolate to your diet then the health of your hearing is a great reason! Zinc and magnesium are crucial minerals to reduce ringing in your ears and keep your hearing healthy as you age. Bananas and dark chocolate are great sources for these important minerals.
For most people who eat a varied diet, getting plenty of these nutrients isn’t a problem. If your diet is limited, however, getting enough of one nutrient or another can be more complicated. Some medications can also change how vitamins and minerals are absorbed by your digestive system.
If you want to get an idea of whether or not these nutrients are low in your system, ask your doctors to check your levels with a simple blood test. If you’re getting these nutrients from food sources, you’re unlikely to do yourself any harm, but it’s always a good idea to speak to a doctor before you begin taking a new supplement.
It’s also still a good idea to have your hearing checked regularly – the sooner hearing loss is identified the sooner it can be corrected and you can maintain an active lifestyle! Get in touch with us to book a hearing test today.