Keeping your technology healthy is one way to keep your hearing happy, but here’s another way to take a bite out of better hearing that you may not have thought about. To help you out, we’ve whipped up some simple, easy-to-digest ways to include hearing-happy foods in your diet.
Found in fish and seafood, these “good” fats have been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and may help maintain cochlear blood flow. It’s been shown that a lack of blood supply to the cochlea (the auditory portion of the inner ear) can cause reduced auditory sensitivity and hearing loss.
How to get it: A 3-ounce serving of cooked wild salmon offers 1,500 mg of omega-3.
How much you need: Ages 19+, 500 mg per day
We once thought 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.
How to get it: Enjoy foods like prunes, apples, raisins, plums, red grapes, alfalfa sprouts, onions, eggplant, and beans.
How much you need: 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 being whole grains.
Folate is naturally found in food, whereas folic acid is manmade from folate. This B vitamin is proven to help prevent high-frequency hearing loss. Folic acid decreases the amount of the amino acid homocysteine in your blood by increasing the creation of red blood cells. Too much homocysteine causes hearing difficulty by reducing blood flow to the inner ear.
How to get it: A ½ cup sliced raw avocado provides 59 mg of folic acid.
How much you need: Ages 19+, 400 mg per day
Magnesium has been used as a treatment for both temporary and permanent noise-induced hearing loss. It improves blood flow around the cochlea and is an important factor in the body’s major antioxidant defense enzyme systems.
How to get it: A 1-ounce serving of dry, roasted almonds has 80 mg of magnesium.
How much you need: Ages 19 to 30, 240 mg per day; ages 31+, 240 mg for males, 320 mg for females
A zinc deficiency is sometimes correlated with age-related hearing loss. The soft tissues of the cochlea and vestibule reveal a zinc level higher than that of any other part of the body. With zinc supplementation in patients who are marginally zinc deficient, there has been improvement in tinnitus and sensorineural hearing loss in about one-third of elderly adults.
How to get it: A ¾-cup serving of breakfast cereal fortified with 25% of the daily value for zinc provides 3.8 mg of zinc.
How much you need: Ages 19+, 11 mg per day for males, 8 mg for females
This keeps free radicals in check and strengthens your overall immune system, thus reducing the risk of ear infections. It is also said to help protect against cardiovascular disease, which recent research has connected with hearing loss.
How to get it: 1 cup of raw, sweet red pepper contains 190 mg.
How much you need: Ages 19+, 65 to 90 mg a day for males, 75 mg for females
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.
How to get it: You can get vitamin D from the sun (through your skin), from your diet, or from supplements.
How much you need: Ages 19+, 2,000 IU (International Units: the measurement of drugs and vitamins) a day