Nutrients are the ingredients we use to provide the most basic nurturing to our bodies. They account for the energy we use to function and are essential in giving us the raw materials needed for growth and repair within the body. And the best part? They’re everywhere!
The most effective and efficient way to get the nutrients you need is through a healthy diet. What’s more, beyond providing just the fundamental ingredients to a healthy body, they can also help support specific physiological functions, like healthy hearing.
What’s the difference between vitamins and minerals?
Both vitamins and minerals fall under the category of nutrients. Though sometimes bandied about as synonyms, vitamins and minerals are actually quite different. Whereas vitamins are made by plants or animals, and thus organic substances, minerals come from the earth. We most often absorb minerals from the plants that we eat, rather than say, a spoonful of soil, and so we humans obtain these mighty nutrients primarily through eating plants.
Go green and beyond!
It’s not groundbreaking news that including leafy greens and other vegetables or plant-based food into our diet leads to enhanced health outcomes. But specifically to hearing health, they can pack a mighty punch.
Even so, you don’t have to rely on a diet of spinach to boost your hearing faculties. A wide range of vitamins and minerals are found in an array of food choices. You might also think about purchasing supplements, such as a multivitamin, as a way of making sure you’re including hearing essentials in your daily intake, although studies show that the body best absorbs nutrients in their natural plant state.
Top nutrients for hearing health
Zinc, a mineral, has long been studied as a potential major player in treating hearing loss. Because of a high concentration of zinc in the ear, researchers have pointed to correlations between deficiencies of zine and hearing loss. Though there is no overwhelming evidence that taking zinc reverses hearing loss, there has been some demonstrated improvement using zinc in treating tinnitus, according to a 2019 study. Moreover, ensuring your diet contains zinc may help prevent future hearing loss.
You can find zinc in nuts and seeds like peanuts, cashews, and almonds, and pumpkin, sesame, and hemp seeds.
The mineral potassium is responsible for so much of our body’s routine maintenance. It helps to balance the levels of fluids, assists in moving nutrients into cells and ushering waste out of them and can even aid in lowering blood pressure. Regulating fluids is of particular interest in hearing health, because the ear relies on just the right amount of inner ear fluid to function optimally.
You can find potassium in bananas, oranges, grapefruit, spinach and potatoes.
Folate, which is also known as vitamin B-9, assists in cell division. This nutrient is easy to find naturally occurring in foods, though you might also look into its synthetic option: folic acid supplements.
There is a link between low levels of folate and hearing loss. And one of the reasons maintaining a steady intake of folate might assist in hearing health is due to its support in regulating healthy blood flow to the ear and keeping the fine, sometimes fragile, cells in fighting shape.
You can find folate in broccoli, brussels sprouts, leafy greens, chickpeas and kidney beans.
Reduce unhealthy foods
While including more ear-friendly vitamins and minerals into your diet is a wonderful way to ensure a future of healthier hearing, you might examine your diet for unhealthy food options. Some foods cause inflammation, like sugar, artificial trans fats and alcohol. While these aren’t inherently linked to hearing damage, they are proven to adversely affect health in general.
You don’t have to completely eliminate these foods from your diet, but it is worth noting that making another choice every now and again could have beneficial health effects down the road.
Evaluate your hearing health
If you’re concerned about your hearing health, make an appointment for a hearing test today. It’s easy to schedule time with our team. We can evaluate your current hearing and make clear recommendations about which steps you can take to maximize your hearing experience.