Do you identify as a foodie? You love to explore new foods, tastes, and flavor experiences. Food not only tastes delicious and nourishes us but holds the building block of our health. When we are younger, it seems we can eat anything and continue to sustain ourselves, but that is not exactly true. Even in children, poor dietary choices may be associated with behavioral problems. A high intake of processed sugar and insufficient vegetables and proteins can cause sleep issues and emotional and psychological regulation issues. As we age, the impact on our health in relation to our diet seems to become even more pronounced. A diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and lean proteins can help sustain your overall health. Avoiding foods high in trans fatty acids and processed sugars is important as well.
One area where dietary choices play a big role in our health is surprisingly in our hearing. While hearing loss can occur to anyone of any age group or demographic, the risk increases as we age. One in three people 65 years and older struggle with age-related hearing loss. For those 75 and beyond, half will deal with the condition. However, eating a healthy diet supports better hearing.
How diet affects our health
Surprisingly, what we choose to eat supports our hearing health as we age. To understand how this works, it is important to understand a bit about how we hear. While sound is collected by our ears, our ears’ other function is to deliver sound to the auditory cortex of our brain. It achieves this with tiny hair-like cells held in a snail-shaped organ called the cochlea. The cochlea is filled with fluid and receives sound wave vibrations from the eardrum. In the ossicles of the middle ear, the fluid stimulates the hairlike cells. These cells, called stereocilia, are the sole delivery system for sound to the brain. They rely on a healthy supply of oxygenated blood to sustain themselves. When someone eats a diet, which obstructs the delivery of blood to the inner ear, these cells struggle to stay healthy. This increases the risk of hearing loss.
Confused about what to eat?
There is a lot of conflicting information on what is healthy food and what is not. However, to support healthy hearing, research has shown that a diet that supports heart health and reduces the risk of hypertension can be effective in reducing the risk of hearing loss and tinnitus. This usually includes a diet rich in vegetables, lean proteins, fruits and whole grains while avoiding processed sugars and fats. Here are some super foods to support your hearing:
This lean protein is low in little fat and full of omega-3, omega-6, and other essential minerals your body needs which support cell health, including that of your inner ear. It is also rich in Vitamin D which strengthens the tiny bones inside your ears, called ossicles supporting healthier hearing.
This vegetable protein can be found in the form of peanuts, beans and peas and is rich in zinc to support your immune system, avoiding common colds and the risk of ear infection.
Bananas are just one delicious food rich in potassium, which regulates the amount of fluid in your cells. Eating potassium rich foods can help support your inner ear health, especially as we age.
Broccoli is a brassica rich in vitamin C which helps fight the formation of free radicals in your body, which can break down the strength of your cells.
What is not to love about dark chocolate? Not only is it delicious but it is rich in antioxidants and vitamins that support digestion while boosting your immune system to keep you and your ears healthy.
Whole grains are often rich in magnesium which not only supports nerve function but helps fortify your inner ear in the face of exposure to loud noise. This can be the difference between sustaining noise induced hearing loss or not.
If you suspect you have a hearing loss, we have more suggestions to support your hearing health through diet and plenty of solutions to help you hear better every day! Schedule a hearing exam with us today.